Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Monday, March 26, 2012

We Came as a Duo . . We're Going to Stay a Duo

I do not know of a single person who admits to being prejudice--especially within the "church."  When confronted with the charge of prejudice the resounding answer I have heard is, "Prejudice?  Not me!"  The fact is, we all are prejudice.  We all have things and people that we value, and those that we do not value.  When those values dictate the way that we treat others--good or bad--they become prejudice.

Take the situation of  Jonathan Antoine.  Never heard of Jonathan Antoine?  Well, Jonathan is the seventeen year old who wowed the audience and judges of Britain's Got Talent"--sort of like Susan Boyle did a while back.  One article described Jonathan as an "unassuming, shabby social misfit-type"--long stringy hair, overweight, dressed in a rock tee-shirt, bashful and shy, grungy looking, and not quite what one expects of its future rock and pop stars.  Disdain might be the best way to describe the way that he was questioned by Simon Cowell, the lead judge and creator of the show, especially when he cracked: "Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse."  There was not much respect shown towards Jonathan or his duet partner, Charlotte Jaconelli, as they prepared to sing.  The audience was circling for the failure and ridicule that was to sure to follow.

This is what happened:
As was expected the reaction of the audience and judges was of shock and surprise as they heard a wonderful rendition of Andrea Bocelli's and Celine Dion's "The Prayer".  To say the least the audience and judges gave the duo a well deserved standing ovation.  And, once again, as was the case with Susan Boyle, the audience and Simon Cowell were caught in their prejudice and left to eat crow.

I think that this was a fairly blatant example of how one's values can taint how others can be prejudiced against.  But, this was not the end . . . in fact, in the original tape that can be found on You Tube ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kt3Utn4mjeg) Simon Cowell's positive values turn into a prejudice--this time not against Jonathan, but against his singing partner Charlotte Jaconelli.  Several times he lets Jonathan know that he has a future as a singer--as a star, but he needs to ditch his partner.  Poor Charlotte just stood there like a balloon slowly leaking its air as Cowell put her down in hopes of improving Jonathan's chances of winning the competition.  This, too, is an act of devaluation--an act of prejudice.

Poor young lady . . . in front of a international audience she was reduced to nearly nothing as Cowell continued to pursue Jonathan dumping her.  Talk about being devalued.  At one point she looked as if she was going to cry.  Cowell pursued it all the way to the end . . . and then something heroic happened.  Heroic because it went against all the common sense and values of today's society . . . Jonathan responded to Cowell suggestion of dumping his partner by telling him (and everyone else): "Well, we come on here as a duo, and we're going to stay on here as a duo."

It was interesting, before casting the final ballot, that Cowell stated that in his head he saw this one way--the wrong way, but the conventional way in that it would never work, but in his heart he saw it as something magical.  Sadly, the way of the heart is the one true way, while the way of the head often leads to the pain and suffering for those who are devalued--those who are prejudiced against.

Jonathan Antoine is an exceptional talent who may or may not go far . . . at this point it would seem that the sky is the limit.  Yet, there is a long, tough road ahead of him . . . not because of his talent, but because of the way that he looks.  Sad, but true.  Had you heard Jonathan Antoine singing on the radio, how would you have envisioned him?  Probably nothing like he is . . . a prejudice?  Probably not, but definitely an issue of value . . . especially if you were disappointed when you finally saw the "real" Jonathan Antoine.

I do not want to accuse anyone of being prejudice--myself included.  We live in a world and society in which we place value upon things and people based on a myriad of standards--looks, color, education, wealth, clothing, and so on.  Often these values dictate the way that we treat others--some good, some bad, but most with indifference.  Those actions can drop into the realm of prejudice when we size up the value of another based on the way they look before we even know anything about them--just as it was done in Jonathan Antoine's situation on Britain Got Talent.  And, we also witnessed how value--even when trying to help--can drop into prejudice on the very same show a few minutes later with the same people.  Devaluing another to the point of removal is prejudice at its ultimate apex.

Yeah, the kid has a voice--the kid has talent, but more importantly he has got a heart.  He stood by his friend and singing partner when he was being encouraged to dump her because she would drag him down in the competition.  In that moment when he declared that they would remain a "duo"  I witnessed something magical--something special . . . for a moment, I saw God's Kingdom as it should be.  Together they might not win the contest and receive the big contracts and money, but together they showed the world that there is more to life than just the glory and power of rock and roll--there is the friendship and love that sees the value and beauty in everyone.  That is how God sees it . . . and that is how we should see it.

Yeah, sometimes God slips through the facade and allows us to see what could be.  Even on a cheesy show like Britain's Got Talent.  May Jonathan continue to share that vision.  In my eyes he is already a winner.

No comments: