Sunday, August 03, 2008

Why Do We Embrace Mediocrity?

Mediocrities everywhere... I absolve you... I absolve you... I absolve you... I absolve you... I absolve you all.
F. Murray Abraham as Antonio Salieri in the film, Amadeus
* Picture it, America, 2004: Two men are running for the highest office in the land. One is a decorated war hero, well spoken, intelligent, politically and socially involved from an early age.

The other man is, inexplicably, already holding the office; the son
of a former president, a reformed alcoholic, a failed businessman, an admittedly "average" student while in college, he brought his dubious businessman's acumen with him to the White House and helped to usher in the era of America's floundering on the world stage.

Guess which man w
on the election?

* Picture it
America, 2005: It is reported that 25,000 Iraqi citizens have been killed since the start of the war.

Meanwhile the trial of a washed up pop-star is playing out in a Southern California court house. The pop star shows up in pajamas, face masks, and sometimes not at all.

Guess which story captivates the American public?

* Picture it, America, 2006: North Korea begins nuclear testing and firing long range missiles; Genocide (now known as "Ethnic Cleansing") is carried out in Darfour against Non Arab citizens; The Taliban makes a bloody comeback in Afghanistan; By year's end, Osama Bin Landen is still at large; Movie Star, Mel Gibson has
a melt-down in Malibu and hurls anti-Semitic slurs while proclaiming himself, "The King of Malibu"; A closet case actor shows up on a popular talk show and jumps up and down on a sofa while proclaiming his love for his latest Stepford wife.

Guess which storie
s garnered the most coverage?


Now I've got a confession When I was young I wanted attention And I promised myself that I’d do anything Anything at all for the boys to notice me - Pussycat Dolls,
When I Grow Up

The Pussycat dolls sing to little girls and teens while they shake their silicon enhanced breasts like a bunch of cranked up hookers, they also do an ad on TV for a gym. Their message is clear; "Girls, get in shape, dress like a tramp, and you too will be successful!"

It's been a long time since Helen Reddy sang, "I am Woman".

And it's mediocre shite like this that is being held up as the pinnacle of pop music these days.

But you know, it's not just music. It's the never ending parade of pencil thin, empty headed celebrity bimbos who get drunk at bars and have their pictures posted all over the net; it's the so-called reality crap on television where people sacrifice their last iota of dignity just so that they might gain some of that elusive fifteen minutes that Andy Warhol once predicted; it's the blow dried news caster who reads from a cue-card about the latest air disaster and then follows that up with a story about "what cleaning product in your home might kill you"; it's the seemingly endless stream of commercials for medications for illness that you might have and how your life will be perfect if you only asked your doctor to prescribe said medication; it's the fact that people overuse words like, "amazing" to describe anything that is even slightly above average; it's news networks like FOX that are so beholden to the Right Wing they spend hours on end debating a fist bump; it's people not "getting" satire anymore; it's Toby Keith singing about lynching; it's Dane Cook passing as a comedian; it's Justin Timberlake bringing sexy back; it's that guy who spends every free hour in the gym to build the perfect body, but watch what happens when you ask him to help you move some furniture; it's the glut of movies that offer nothing more complex than quick edits, explosions and top forty music as a soundtrack; it's Paris FUCKING Hilton; it's that moronic relative that keeps forwarding emails about Senator Obama's Muslim ties; it's the fact that thousands of Americans were offered loans based on Credit Ratings and not income (Alt-A home loans) and now find themselves homeless ; it's people finding a presidential candidate "elitist" because he speaks proper English; it's people's patriotism being called into question when they speak out against the current presidential administration ... it's people mixing up patriotism with nationalism ...

America now finds itself flaying about in a sea of mediocrity, something that we as a nation have embraced and nurtured for a very long time, like a special needs child.

But now it's time that we gave that child up for adoption, or better yet, have him institutionalized.

What's so wrong with looking up? With reading a book, or spending time on line doing something a bit more stimulating than trolling the message boards, or updating your My Space page.

Much like Salieri, it's time each of us absolves the other of the sin of mediocrity and then make a choice to live a life free of it's mind-numbing bonds ... or, you can always go to You Tube and watch the latest Pussycat Dolls video.

The choice is yours.

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