The History of Booing
combination of booing and applause help keep the quality of public
performance high, by emotionally rewarding the good and punishing the
intransitive verb : to deride especially by uttering a
transitive verb : to express disapproval of by booing
<the crowd booed the referee>
Booing is the act of showing displeasure for
someone or something, generally an entertainer, athlete or politician. by loudly yelling
"boo" (holding the "oo" sound) or making other
noises of disparagement, such as animal noises, usually the sound of a
donkey. The sound is often accompanied with one or two hands giving the
thumbs down sign. If spectators particularly dislike the performance
they may also accompany booing by throwing objects onstage, though the
objects aren't usually meant to physically hurt the performer.
BOOing started in the days
of early man.....
Booing performers has a very long history, The
first written record comes from ancient Greece. At the annual Festival
of Dionysia in Athens, playwrights competed to determine whose tragedy
was the best.
Dionysus is commonly thought to have been the
son of Zeus, the most powerful of all Greek gods and goddesses, and
Semele, a mortal woman. He was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking
and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology.
Four times a year, the Athenians and
citizens from all over Greece would gather together to worship Dionysus.
The largest and most prolific of these festivals was the City Dionysia,
or Great Dionysia, which was held in late March through early April.
Here, the Greeks would sing and dance and revel in a state of madness in
worship of the god. Goats were sacrificed in his honor. Men would dress
up as satyrs. Large amounts of wine would be consumed.
When the democratic reformer Cleisthenes came to power in
the sixth century B.C., audience participation came to be regarded as a
civic duty. The audience applauded to show its approval and shouted and
whistled to show displeasure.
games (munera) were introduced to Rome in 264 BC, when the sons of
Junius Brutus honored their father by matching three pairs of
gladiators. In 65 BC, Julius Caesar commemorated his father, who had
died twenty years before, with a display of 320 pairs of gladiators in
silvered armor. Most matches employed a senior referee (summa rudis).
Audience participation often determined
whether a competitor lived or died. The crowd decided by booing or
cheering the wounded gladiator by yelling 'missum' or 'mitte'
(release or send away) as a gesture of mercy and conversely yelling 'iugula'
the final decision in this was not made by popular crowd appeal and was
usually left to a single judge or editor.
taunts or mutual abuse without any warrant of hate, and applause,
unsupported by affection....The perversity of it! They love whom they
lower; they despise whom they approve; the art they glorify, the artist
they disgrace" a quote from De Spectaculis by Tertullian of
Carthageiwritten somewhere between 197-202 describing
the gladiator games and the morality of them.
While people have expressed displeasure
publicly since ancient times, the English word boo was first used in the
early 19th century to describe the lowing sound that cattle make. Later
in the 1800s, the word came to be used to describe the disapproving cry
Hoot, another onomatopoeic English word, was used as early as
1225 to describe the same phenomenon. (Ancient Greek and Latin both
contain words resembling boo that mean "to cry or shout
aloud," though there is no known etymological connection to the
modern English word.). The BOOing and crowd behavior in some
instances extended to hissing, groaning, hooting and pelting with
objects, often rotten vegetables or fruit but sometimes stones as well.
Since the beginning of organized
sports BOOing has been part of the behavior of fans. Entertainment
events also are where BOOing has been an acceptable form of audience
response to a poor performance.
This practice has in recent times come
under criticism. The opinion is often expressed that to boo a bad
performance is unkind and demonstrates a lack of sophistication.
However, the counterargument goes that the combination of booing and
applause help keep the quality of public performance high, by
emotionally rewarding the good and punishing the bad.
Fans that BOO have come to be
known as a The BOO Birds
The term “The Boo Birds” has become a part of every sports
fans vocabulary. The term “The Boo Birds” appears and is used in
newspapers and every form of media every day.
term “The Boo Birds” and the behavior associated with it makes an
appearance at every event on every level every day.
Fans BOO to vent frustration and
disappointment...it makes them feel better. Fans can vent their
frustrations at games , events, players, entertainers and politicians in
a public forum -they can't do this anywhere else in everyday life-if
they acted out at work or home in the same manner
there would be serious consequences.
Credit: Sonia Smith Slate
Magazine, Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 2006, Volume: 9,