Thursday, 17 April 2008


Britain’s Got Talent is a UK TV programme that looks for talent. I only ever watched it once but won’t bother again. What I’m interested in is one of the judge’s recent comments – Piers Morgan – that Britain has talent but it’s so hard finding because we look in the wrong place.
This is true. But it is what kinds of talent the movers and shakers of our cultural world look for that is wrong. Inevitably, they want to make money, so they will always look for talent that reflects what is happening at that moment.

This ‘more of the same’ mentality cripples culture.

And it is made worse by allowing the public to vote for what they like. The whole point of true brilliance is that it is different, so how can the public know what this is at first? If they could, they would all be geniuses.
The problem is made worse by the ‘I want it now’ attitude, which creeps into business. Once was the time when a talent was found, and then nurtured, perhaps through many failures, knowing that the formula will be right in the end.
A classic case of this is the UK sitcom Only Fools and Horses. Initially, it failed repeatedly before catching on. Now, it’s a great classic of comedy.
So, Piers is maybe right. But maybe not for the right reasons.

© Anthony North, April 2008

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marcia said...

I so agree-- that was so well said!

Robin said...

I watched America's Got Talent once, and 5 minutes in was all I needed to realize that I had no intention of watching again. Talk about catering to the lowest common denominator, that show was so low it was practically underground!

anthonynorth said...

Hi Marcia,
Thanks for that.

Hi Robin,
I can't say about the US version, but certainly it's true over here.
Still, it'll provide a nice bit of profit for them through the novelty sales.
Yes, I'm being cynical :-)

Twilight said...

We watched a couple of episodes of America's Got Talent last year and found it a yawn, but it gave me a chance to boo and hiss at Piers Morgan who was a judge in the US version also. He is so pompous !

He and Simon Cowell(American Idol) are following some kind of formula - acting as pains-in-the-rear foils against kinder American judges.

I'm a fan of American Idol (and ex-fan of Britain's Pop Idol) though - quite unrepentant in spite of critics of my "taste". ;-)

I like to see ordinary kids getting a chance in a million to shine.

anthonynorth said...

Hi Twilight,
Yes, I'm not against this kind of show if done well. BBC does a good one where Andrew Lloyd Webber and other judges present some unknowns to take the lead in West End shows.
We're on the 3rd - I'd Do Anything, picking a Nancy and Oliver for, well, Oliver. I quite get into them, even though I often see signs of a 'plant'.
As for Piers Morgan and Simon Cowell, may I express the apologies of many in Britland!
Mindst you, whilst they're over with you, they can't be here with us :-)

the teach said...

Anthony, thanks for visiting my TT13 post. And whether it said "bowls" or "bowels" you know that American ones are different from British ones! LOL!

Great post! :D

anthonynorth said...

Hi The Teach,
Thanks for that. I'll take your word for that :-)

Winter said...

I think modern society as a whole looks for talent in the wrong places, in the wrong way, and from the wrong people. Employers are notorious for this. Why should a person's credit history be taken into account when hiring? They could be a victim of identity theft, or a relative with an illness that caused monetary problems. Why should a person's appearance (within reason of course) matter? The woman in the designer suit may look sharper than the woman in the department store clothes, but does that make her a better worker? It's a sad, sad world we live in.

anthonynorth said...

Hi Winter,
I couldn't agree with you more. I think people have to conform to an image today, so that the 'system' works like a well-oiled machine.
They're not looking for initiative, or genius, but compliance - people who won't rock the boat.
But society is NOT a machine.