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The agony of defeat, personified by David Archuleta fans

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Thanks to David Cook, I have a new favorite YouTube video. I hadn’t beenable to locate it by the time we first posted his comments about it ina Q&A last week. Fortunately, some Cook fans who had seen the cult video (embedded below) he confessed to loving quickly posted links to it on various message boards, causing it to suddenly catch on. (When I first saw it last Thursday, it’d only been viewed about 4,000 times in the months it had been up, but now it’s already at over 10,000 views.) It’s footage of six girls who look to be in their very early teens watching the season finale of American Idol, and their reaction when their idol, David Archuleta, fails to be coronated. As Cook put it, “My name gets announced [as the winner], and…these girls said something that’s so funny, to me: ‘How could they vote for that guy? He doesn’t even shave!‘’ I love that.”

I’m not sure Cook even does justice to the utter hilarity of this video. The full range of despairing emotions the girls go through in their moment of spiritual desolation is so great, you almost wonder if this is a fantastic put-on, performed by young actors. The moment when one girl drops to her knees in disbelief at The Great Injustice of 2008 certainly couldn’t benefit from any better comic timing, though really the whole thing is a kind of accidental genius.

As I’ve e-mailed friends with the link for this video,I’ve gotten an interesting range of reactions back, ranging from“hysterical” to “another good argument against pubescence.” I’m goingwith “adorable,” myself. Even if you can’t relate to the Idol phenomenon, surely anyone who was ever truly and devotedly a fan,or, better yet, still is one, can relate just slightly to theconcurrent worship and anguish in this clip. Who among us doesn’t weep,gnash teeth, and rend garments a little, if not quite thisdemonstrably, when our heroes fail to get the due and universalacclamation that’s coming to them? Can anyone who truly invests himselfor herself in artistic excellence fail to feel torment over thetravesty of pure suckage prevailing, even when our belief in thatgreatness is predicated on even more substantial stuff than thepresence or absence of facial hair? I have been there, my friends, andI suspect you have, too, even if you never pummeled the couch in yourparents’ basement with a pillow in front of all your friends.

As for the notion that we might ever really grow out of this, I direct you to this Washington Post videoabout the atmosphere among the crowd at John McCain’s concessionspeech last week. Forward toward the end and you’ll see the reactionamong some of McCain’s supporters when their candidate, waxinggracious, tells his followers they need to support the newPresident-elect. Some boo; others shout out comments like “Never!”Another man tries to hush one of the hecklers, saying, ”Take the highroad.” “I am taking the high road!” answers the indignant anti-Obamayeller. These grown politicos are being impossibly rude, of course. Butthe little girls understand.

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