Audience Erectile Dysfunction

Jeff Reed, musical director for a chamber orchestra, writes about EOS, an audience reaction similar to Audience Erectile Dysfunction (AED). He quotes a writer for the San Diego Tribune:

“Excessive Ovation Syndrome (EOS for short),” writing: “Those suffering from it stand and applaud at performances that aren’t good enough to deserve such enthusiasm. In extreme cases, they shout ‘Bravo!’ during events that are best forgotten. The more people pay for tickets, the more susceptible they are to EOS, because ovations confirm that their money was well spent. Even those in bargain seats can easily catch it from their neighbors. The urge to stand and cheer may be irresistible if everyone around you is doing it.”

They even applauded at Lady Bird Johnson’s funeral. However, Reed says peer pressure, not conspicious consumption, causes EOS and AED.

I believe that it is sheer ignorance and peer pressure that account for most standing ovations.

I’m talking about the concerts were one or two patrons, usually near the front row, stand up and applaud. In my opinion, these types of people don’t do it to make themselves feel better about spending a lot of money for tickets. Instead, I believe they stand out of pride for the ensemble or pure ignorance.

I agree peer pressure leads to AED.  It’s tough to resist.  Even a music smarty like Jeff succumbs to the pressure to stand when all around him are on their feet. Even though he knows better, he rises, he wants to be part of the team, even though he knows the performance might have been lacking.

So the next time you lecture a kid about avoiding peer pressure, try staying seated when all around you are standing during  America the Beautiful or God Bless the USA, or giving a standing ovation to a William Hung-like performance.

I don’t have AED, you won’t find me getting erect, unless it was an outstanding performance.  That’s why you don’t see standing ovations at strip clubs.

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Audience Erectile Dysfunction — 4 Comments

  1. I used to write about the arts, including theater. I hated how standing ovations went from soemthing rare to something everyday. It’s meaningless now.

  2. Even if the entire audience is standing, if I don’t personally find it ovation-worthy, I will not haul my hiney up from my seat. Of course, depending on the performance, I may have one or more children asleep on my lap. Or maybe I’m just lazy.

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