Posted in Book Stuff



1. open delight or pleasure; exultant joy; exultation.
2. an unaccompanied part song for three or more voices, popular esp. in the 18th century.
Origin: bef. 900; ME; OE glēo; c. ON glȳ; akin to glow
—Synonyms 1. merriment, jollity, hilarity, mirth, joviality, gaiety. See mirth.

The tv show Glee, of course, refers to the 2nd definition and is about a high school’s glee club. I have to admit, I’ve only seen 1/2 of 2 episodes, not really able to watch the whole thing though I understand it’s got a huge following. And this makes me gleeful. Why?

American Idol is faltering and Glee is rising. This is just in the natural course of tv watching as the most popular shows eventually wear and vary their format, searching for something new to prop up the same old, and jump the shark.

I’m glad to finally see a downturn in the taste for winner takes all competitive shows that give the impression that raw talent is better than practice and that it can be discovered by tv moguls.

From The Wrap:

Given how quickly contestants are shuttled in and out in the earliest stages of selection, it’s easy to imagine that for everyone who makes it through, a dozen brighter lights are sent home before the judges even arrive in town.

(Example: Hillary Scott, lead singer of Lady Antebellum – whose second album was just certified double platinum after 12 weeks on the charts – has famously said she tried out for “American Idol” twice, and was twice rejected. The country trio performs, ironically enough, on Wednesday’s elimination show).

The professionalism of Glee is winning out. And that makes me happy because it values practice over luck, the ensemble over the idol. Which is a really good thing to my way of thinking. I mean isn’t there that thing about graven images or something?

I hope that this filters back to the world of books. Publishers are still throwing millions at what they hope to be blockbusters and for the sake of that being cheap with other writers, slashing advances in the name of recession.

Just look at all the different book recommendations in the comments here. We need all those different books. There isn’t one size fits all in literature for six billion. Not even for six hundred. Not even for six.



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

2 thoughts on “*Glee

  1. My son and I are of the opinion that my husband likes Glee maybe a little too much. There’s something unsettling about his enjoyment of it, and we do tease him about it. But I completely agree with your analysis, Lilian, and goodness only knows it’s about time we revered the possibilities of the community rather than idolising the individual. And practise over the image of natural brilliance (which in the arts is always an illusion).

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