Risk—The word’s definition is largely dependant on what or whom it’s being applied to. If it defines something that you as an individual are contemplating, it creates the uneasy feeling that you could be embarking on something really stupid. On the other hand, when you’re in the abstract safety zone of the observer, it has a titillating quality. Take, for example, the guy at the crap table who bets his night’s winnings on one more roll. If he loses, he’s just another sucker who didn’t know when to quit. But what if he wins? Ahah! If he wins, he’s an exciting guy, an adventurer who beat the odds and has a pile of money to prove it! Much the same with the guy who jumps his motorcycle ramp to ramp over thirty cars. If he makes it, cameras flash, girls flock around, and Harley Davidson gives him a hundred grand to endorse their product. If he crashes, he’s either a very dumb crippled guy or an even dumber dead guy. In either case, the voyeuristic side of humankind is prepared to accept the outcome with some giddy degree of relish. Contact sports and live ente11ainment are glowing examples of their audience’s ability to shift gears in milliseconds to extract vicarious pleasure. Both purport wholesome elements like skill, training, and durability, but both contain the possibility of physical injury and devastating failure. Those who attend these events do so with the expectation of either conclusion. Nothing could be more well documented as the Susan Boyle epic. A plump, frowzy woman whose very appearance provoked hoots, snickers, and head shaking from the show’s judges, who, of course, promoted the same reaction from the audience. History now shows that Susan, the risk taker, was amazingly good and the audience cheered. But let’s say she’d been pathetically awful and croaked out an off-key rendition with the audience going into an uncontrollable laughing jag. They still would have gone home thinking they’d got their money’s worth. And that’s the point. Bad outcomes will sell just as many tickets as good outcomes-sometimes a lot more. After all, you, the attendee, are not part of the outcome; you’re only a witness to it. Do you suppose that those fun-loving Romans went to the Coliseum to judge how well groomed the lions were? Hell no! They paid to see some poor chump become shredded into a bloody heap! But wait a minute-hasn’t civilization advanced a smidge from those times? Good question!
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by Johnny Meah
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by on October 23, 2016
- AuthorHouse, February 2012
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