Today I was watching the Next Food Network Star, because there’s nothing on TV during this time of year, and the reaction of one of the losing contestants got me thinking about how Americans react to loss. As one of the contestants was told that she would be going home, she kept smiling, congratulated all the remaining contestants, and even went on to say that everyone there deserved to be there. Her smile never wavered, even as tears were rolling down her face like a waterfall.
I think the idea of being a gracious loser is a distinctly American thing. From early on, kids are taught that they’re winners even when they lose. That when you lose, it’s important to keep on smiling and congratulate the winner and pretend that you’re not sad that you lost. What’s wrong with being sad when you lose. I am so tired of seeing these gracious losers on TV. For once, I want someone to show real emotion. I want someone to look angry about losing, or sad, and actually say, “I deserved to win it.” Because that’s exactly what these losers are thinking. And I think that other cultures have a healthier attitude towards winning and losing. If I was a contestant on a TV show, and I lost, I don’t think I’d be able to smile and say, “It was an honor just to come this far.” Or, “It was an honor just to be nominated.” I would say something along the lines of … it’s your loss. I should have won. No matter how Americanized my brother thinks I am, I’m still not good at faking certain emotions.* If I’m sad, or angry, you can tell just by looking at my face.
I wonder what was going through Hillary’s head when she didn’t get the votes needed to get the nomination. I wonder what was going through Julie Christie’s head when Marion Cotillard won. I wonder what Ang Lee was thinking when Crash won. And I really want to know what Al Gore was thinking when Bush won. Actually, I think he was one of the few politicians that looked sad about losing. But then again, he looked sad throughout the campaign.
Anyway, not sure where this is all coming from. Maybe I’ll discuss this with my therapist. But ever since Hillary lost, I’ve lost some of my blogging mojo. Trying to get it back. I think I went through the five stages of grief in the last month. I’m finally in the acceptance phase.
*There are things that I’m good at faking. But since my mother reads this blog regularly, I won’t go into details.