ROFL: Random Outbursts From Lar!


Judges Found Guilty of Judging

Years ago, my neighbors were these college girls. They were noisy at late hours when my wife and I had to get up for work the next day. They were bad neighbors in many ways and they didn't even have the courtesy to make up for it by being hot and making out in the stairwell in their underwear.

What? You mean beer commercials LIED to me?

Anyway, these chicks were just annoying. So this one time, through the thin walls of our apartment building, I heard one of them singing the big pop song of the day. (Back then it was Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know.") Being that I was often angry at the girls for being such crappy neighbors, I mocked the singing through the wall, wailing the same song as loud as I could in a sarcastic voice.

Suddenly, my neighbor was silent. She had heard me. And she sang no more. And a part of me will always feel like a jerk for doing that.

Yes, she was annoying. Yes, she was disrespectful of others. No, she wasn't hot. But I've always supported freedom of expression. If you're feeling good enough to sing out loud, that means you're happy. And our stupid randomly cruel world can use a lot more happy. Looking back, I feel bad because I was the vector through which our stupid randomly cruel world asserted itself. I felt used.

Zooming out to a bigger picture, I  am reminded why I can't stand the abundance of talent competition TV shows.

First, I don't like the idea of something as subjective as creative performing arts being filtered through the cold numbers of votes. That's assuming of course that the voting for these shows is in any way legit. For all we know the vote-counters could be in Florida.

Second, I don't like that you get a few minutes of entertainment and at least three times that much in commentary from people whose opinions I couldn't care about even if I tried with a lot of grunting.

Third, I'm uncomfortable with the apparent fact that so many Americans have a burning masochistic desire to be verbally abused by a member of the British Empire.

Those are my minor complaints. The real enemy here is far more sinister. All this judging of what's supposedly good (when really the criteria is "what's good for ratings") perpetuates the idea that music and dance exist solely to please others, and a dancer's or singer's success is determined by his or her popularity and financial gain.

No! No! No!

The real reason singing and dancing exist is when your physical body can't contain your emotion and it needs to come out somehow. Or you're just having fun. Or whatever. My point is, it's up to you to decide.

I've never been a big fan of judges. They are the buttholes who point and giggle, or groan, or sing along sarcastically, whenever someone sings or dances and it doesn't meet some external expectation. I prefer a freer world, where what is good doesn't matter, what matters is if someone is having fun. And if they are, cheer them on. This is my message to the amateur judges of the world: Shut up. They're not doing it for your entertainment. They're doing it for their own.

There's this corny-inspirational virus-bait email (redundant?) going around that says something like this: Dance like no one's watching. Sing like no one's listening, Love like you've never been hurt. And it re-says that crap about twenty different ways, all of which basically come down to, "Don't give a shit. Just enjoy yourself."

I couldn't have said it better myself. Oh wait, I just did. So don't give a shit, just enjoy yourself.

Larry Nocella writes The Semi-True Adventures of Lar blog at He's the author of the novel Where Did This Come From? The world's first CarbonFree(R) novel according to The book is available on as a paperback and Kindle eBook. It is also available for other eBook readers.