As I watched the American Idol premier last night, I thought of the study done at Cornell University in 1999 by Justin Kruger and David Dunning. In four separate studies they proved that the clueless and untalented routinely overestimate their abilities, and smart people underestimate theirs.
But we already knew that, didn’t we?
Web Search for Dunning & Kruger:
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then I feel talent and everything else that encumbers opinion, is as well. While I may not enjoy or understand a particular art style or wince at a vocal performance that splits my ears, I admire people that can get out there and express themselves. What are shows like “American Idol” programming us as a culture for anyway? Are the machinations behind these kinds of programs truly supportive of art and entertainment? Are they forums of exploitation that provide us focused gossip and ridicule opportunities? Are we better humans for watching them? Do they bolster our belief in ourselves, our dreams or in the belief and the dreams of others? Do we watch to measure our worth against another’s? Is it really possible to do so? If so, whose standards should we subscribe to for our lives and the ways we express ourselves? Finally, how do you educate your children in these realms of self worth, competence or incompetence, talent or no talent, taste or no taste, prejudice or no prejudice, individuality or group-think, mindful or mindless?