the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

In America, Everyone is a Winner


Is there anything worse than being a loser in America?  I watched three reality shows last night.  Everything was about winning and being competitive. 

Ryan Seacrest announcing the American Idol finalists last night:

"And here are your twelve final American Idol contestants!  All of them, winners!"

Kinnick, one of the four contestants just eliminated from the show last night: 

"Even though I’ve been eliminated, I know I’m a winner — just to be able to make it this far."

Sandy Aguilar, eliminated from the show during "Hollywood Week," writing on her blog last night:

"Out of the thousands who tried out, I made it to the top 100.  I’m clearly a winner."

Benji Stone, who never made it through the first day of auditions in Denver, speaking to KGGF, Denver, last night: 

"I slept outside all night in line just to audition.  My friends didn’t have guts to do it.  I’m a winner for following my dream."

Neil Kramer, sitting in his underwear in Sophia’s living room, watching American Idol, and calling out to Sophia in the kitchen: 

"This is terrible that they’re working on my kitchen sink in my apartment for another day and I have to stay here with you again.  Can you make me another roast beef sandwich, please.  And hurry up.  Gideon is going to sing soon!  (to self)  Hee Hee.  I’m such a winner!"


  1. ChickyBabe

    I hope you were wearing your boxer briefs!

  2. Bill

    I think you’ve hit on the thing that makes our western culture great. You don’t have to win to be a winner. You’re a winner even when you lose! And that’s why I know that I, too, am a winner!

    And this is why I wake every day with a smile.

  3. Lauren

    You ARE a winner Neil! Was there mustard on that roast beef?

  4. Megan

    So long as you weren’t wearing your tighty whiteys, you’ll always be a winner to me.

    (You know, or some crap like that.)

  5. Fitèna

    It ain’t just american. I think its becoming universally engrained in cultures. (scuse the english). Hmm, Sophia and you… mmm… Nothing…

  6. Tongue in Cheek

    It seems just saying you are a winner makes you a winner. What do they win?
    Except you of course because a view in any underware is worth a sandwich

  7. jenny

    Didn’t you learn this lesson with your Valentine’s day post, Neil? You tried to make us all losers, but we wouldn’t let you.

    What ever happened to “last one there’s a rotten egg?” People used to fear being the rotten egg, but now, apparently being the rotten egg is just as rewarding as actually winning.

  8. Elisabeth

    “Le plus important n’est pas de gagner mais de participer, car l’important dans la vie ce n’est point le triomphe mais le combat; l’essentiel, ce n’est pas d’avoir vaincu mais de s’être bien battu.”

    The most important is not winning but taking part, for the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well. (Pierre de Coubertin)

    All right, I could not help but quote a Frenchman on this one.

    If the reward is a roast beef sandwich, I want to be a winner too!

    And I will admit it here – I am a closet American Idol lover. But I did not watch it once this week. Maybe that it’s now down to the last 12 contestants, I should take up my secret vice again.

  9. Pearl

    “…I’m such a winner!”

    Neil, let us be the judge of that.

    “Okay, fellow judges…?” [murmur, murmur, shriek of laughter, a bellow, murmur, whispering, a guffaw]

    Okay, it’s unanimous…you’re a los–a winner!!!

  10. Bre

    As for me, I know that I’m so tone deaf that singing on national television would do nothing but bring pain to millions of Americans, so I opted not to do it.

    I’m such a winner!

  11. Caitlinator

    You’re the biggest winner of them all!

  12. Jessica

    Jenny’s right….overachieving winners are for losers. Hey, wait a minute!

  13. Kevin

    Is that “winner” or “weiner”?


    I want a roast beef sandwich. Does Sophia deliver? Please say “da”.

  14. mariemm3

    Does Sophia take on other mechanically impaired individuals? My heat went out. The plummer(gas heater) is supposed to arrive tomorrow but unbundling to make a sandwich seems like an unnecessary exposure to cold.

  15. Tatyana

    Did you run this post to Sophia for spellcheck? I think you’ve omitted “h” after “w”.

  16. M.A.


  17. Margaret

    Losers are special.

  18. Wendy

    Winning isn’t everything. Who the heck said that, anyway!? But seriously, if everyone wins, it kind of makes really being a winner seem insignificant. You wouldn’t believe how many fricken ribbons, trophies and certificates my kids have JUST for showing up….

  19. Pants

    If we each had a personal theme song that played when we entered or exited a room mine would be “Loser” by Beck. Okay, not really. It would be “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen. Does this make me a winner?

  20. TWM

    Hmm, how is Sophia a winner in all this? He He

  21. Sandra

    Semi-related — I was watching American Idol with my flatmate and her boyfriend last night and we decided that Ryan Seacrest is even more of a douche than we realized. When the tall girl lost, I kept imagining her biting his head off…which turned into us imagining his feet and arms flailing while his head was no longer visible…and it made listening to him so much more bearable.

  22. Mike

    Remember, Neil –

    The entertainment industry took an important lesson from Capitol Hill: It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you spin that matters.

    God, I hate television so much.

  23. better safe than sorry

    well i certainly hope neil kramer was sitting in his new boxers. i’ve never seen any of those shows.

  24. ms. sizzle

    what did i miss with you and sophia that you are in your undies eating roast beef on her couch?

    😉 sizz

  25. Richard

    No wonder Sophia asked me to drop by the apartment, and bring with me
    1) 100 pennies wrapped in a sock
    2) A hacksaw
    3) 15 gallons of sulfuric acid
    4) A shovel for the leftovers
    But don’t worry, Neil — you’re going out a WINNER!

  26. danielle

    Kevin up there took both of my comments… And I especially hold it against him because Kevin should have been off American Idol instead of Gideon.

  27. Neil

    Elizabeth — how typically French!

    Richard — Are you watching Hitchcock again?

    Danielle — I actually thought Gideon had a great voice. But he was a little weird. I also watched the final episode of Project Runway, where everyone was a winner, too. Whatever happened to the concept of teamwork anyway? Even on Survivor, they end up backstabbing each other. This is what kids are watching and learning about today.

  28. The Rich Gypsy

    Wendy said:

    “You wouldn’t believe how many fricken ribbons, trophies and certificates my kids have JUST for showing up….”

    I can so relate to this … I was about to sign the boys up for soccer the other day and the sweet-voiced registrar (is that what she’d be called?) boasted “And everyone gets a trophy … even if they’re on a losing team” … BUT I DON’T WANT THEM TOO!!! Why the heck should they? Not because I think they’re any less worthy if their team loses but isn’t that the point of the bloody game … winner gets to take home a trophy … the ‘loser’ … or runner-up as they’d have me call them … takes home a heavy heart and learns some valuable lessons in life. Winning/losing it’s all part of life and equally important to learn how it feels to lose as how it feels to win.

    But yes, you’re a winner Neil … and not just for your undies but for never failing to make me smile.

  29. boxen

    delivers plentiful slaps on behalf of sophia.

  30. Mik

    Of course they don’t call losing, losing any more, it’s deferred success!

    But Neil’s always a winner.


  31. cruisin-mom

    And yet, at the Oscars, they can’t say “and the WINNER is”…they have to say “and the Oscar goes to”.
    Finally, someone really is a “winner”, and they’re not allowed to say it! Christ, it’s all so confusing.

  32. mysterygirl!

    I think you can see this “everyone’s a winner” mentality reflected in the way schools are being run (probably because parents are worried about their kids’ “self-esteem” enough to allow them to be deluded into thinking they’re good at everything).

  33. Janet

    This is one winning post.:)

  34. Student Nurse

    Neil, You are a winner in my book.

  35. Neil

    I was a winner last night! I beat Sophia and seven women in Texas Hold-em Poker last night and won $100 bucks.

  36. modigli

    This whole “I’m still a winner even though I’m really a loser” philosophy starts in elementary school. Everyone has to earn a ribbon or award certificate for SOMETHING. Even if you’ve earned all Ds and Fs on your report card and you’re the worst behaved child in class, the teacher’s got to think of some kind of award for that kid. Usually it ends up being the “P.E. Award” because despite everything else, at least the kid can still run around the gymnasium and say to him or herself “Maybe I can’t read and maybe I don’t know how to behave around others, but I can run fast – I’m a winner.”

  37. mrsmogul

    The best part about reality shows (for me anyway) is when there are losers! hehe

  38. claire

    It’s just like liars who aren’t called liars anymore.

  39. Student Nurse

    ..and you don’t feel bad about shafting 8 innocent women out of $100?

  40. anne arkham

    The 15 gallons of sulphuric acid is for the drain, right?

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