Have we become that soft? Seriously, how soft have we become as a nation? Have we become this (!) soft?
The recent backlash over "mispelled-badly-gate" and how Alex Trebek apparently handled the situation insensitively is beyond absurd. Yes, BEYOND absurd! I don't know Trebek personally, so to say he's insensitive or for lack of a better word, a jerk, is beyond my reasoning or understanding in this scenario.
I can understand how many would think so, but come on, how else would a person with all of the answers look on a very tough show like Jeopardy? Just like in school no one liked the smart kid or Monopoly no one liked the bank dealer, the guy in the room with all of the answers promptly letting you know as you get them wrong or stumble over yourself is going to be perceived like that. No matter how great of a person he is.
Nevertheless, Trebek has been in the role for years, and at this point, he is what he is. And I know DP devotees are probably pointing to my position as being a big fan of Jeopardy, as it is indeed a personal favorite game show (hello future Pondering 10 topic!), but my fandom has no bearing on my feelings in this situation.
The kid misspelled the answer, and Trebek gave him the truth, period.
But of course, in a world where personal accountability and responsibility is falling by the wayside at every turn, the kid is now claiming "he was cheated". And yes, of course, there is a contingent that agrees.
We've become such an entitled society.
Never mind the mere fact that the game was already in hand. Let's ignore the vital fact that he did indeed misspell the final answer, a clear violation of the rules. In this world of everyone wins; of handing out trophies to everyone for participating; of blurring the lines between dealing with adversity in life and societal issues...and of course the newest taboo reason, bullying; this situation fits right in.
When do we stop looking to make every situation into an anti-establishment, us-against-the-synidicate situation? When do we begin taking responsibility for ourselves and the situation? When is it just our fault?
Heck, we live in a generation that is afraid to put a "dislike" button on Facebook! A dislike button would surely solve a personal peeve of mine - the selfie. But I digress.
Let me tell you a story (don't worry, it's short and relative). I once was in a spelling bee in 3rd grade. The moderator gave me the word "Parakeet". Of course, the woman was from Staten Island with a thick accent and until this day I swear she said, "Parraaateeet". Even when I asked for her to repeat it, it was the same oddly sounding word. So not knowing what the heck the real word was, I spelled the compromising, totally made up word of "P-A-R-R-O-T-K-E-E-T". Yes, in my third grade logic, this completely made sense, especially in front of the whole school. So, maybe I should have asked for it's place of origin like those smarty pants kids do on ESPN. Whatever.
Either way, I felt screwed over. You know what I got? A nice embarrassing walk off stage to watch the rest of the school's spelling bee front row. A big lesson in being prepared, competing, asking questions, and of course, dealing with an unfair circumstance all in one experience. As tough as this may sound to teach a child, life isn't fair, and it's a vital lesson for every child to learn that at some point. An opportunity to deal with adversity, WITH accountability and responsibility. Not entitlement.
Learning to lose is just as important as preparing to win. And unfortunately, we're becoming a nation so concerned and afraid to hurt feelings because of the "S" word that we are leaving our youth unequipped to handle situations of affliction. A void that some can argue attributes to you know...the "S" word.
After that situation, I learned a valuable lesson about being poised in certain situations, and yes, being prepared to spell the word "Parakeet". I never - EVER - misspelled it again.
Whatever happens from here regarding "Misspelled-Badly-Gate", I bet this kid won't misspell "Emancipation"for the rest of his life as well.
Alex Trebek might be a jerk in the eyes of some, but no one can deny that he just changed that kid's life for the better.