Flattery Is a Form of Hatred

That's what my father always taught us.  Intentionally telling someone something less than or other than the truth in order to boost their self-image is not a loving thing to do.  It is the opposite.

If you want abundant illustrations of this principle, all you need do is watch American Idol.  That show is a treasure-trove of worthwhile lessons for life, believe it or not, and the one lesson you learn, above all, is that flattery is a form of hatred.

Contestant after contestant arrives to sing for their audition clearly thinking they are God's gift to the singing and entertainment world.  Then... they open their mouths and they sing.  You wonder: How in the world can this person truly think they are good?  They are shocked - SHOCKED - when Simon Cowell tells them, often truly, that "That was the worst thing I've ever heard."  Even if that is hyperbole, more often than not the singer is just plain awful.  Why in the world do these people even audition?

The answer is: their friends and their family put them up to it.  Mom and Dad, brothers and sisters, boyfriends or girlfriends, in a thousand different ways over a long period of time, have always told them just how great they are.  Nobody has ever told them they cannot sing.  Quite the contrary.  The flood of praise reaches such a point that the poor saps decide to go on global television, in front of untold millions of people, to make complete and  utter fools of themselves.  What a humiliating experience.  And it is all for want of the truth, spoken in love.  True love says, "Honey, I love you, but I think you should know that you are not meant to be a singing superstar."

From the looks of American Idol, our society has a serious love deficit.

Brian Mattson