The post that was quoted here has been removed
All this post-modernist crap -- where nothing is better than anything else, where any crap stain
is a piece of art, where refusing to render judgement is considered a virtue -- is just an effort to
make the mediocre feel like they're not. In this world, everyone is a genius, everyone is an
artist, everyone has something meaningful to say.
Well, I hate to tell you this, but 50% of all people are below average. That's just how it is. And,
sure, it's hard for a person to come to terms with the notion that they're sub-par, but that's just
life. And people don't like it. 'It's not worse, it's just different,' they say.
When your toddler draws a picture of a face, and the eyes are off center, one ear is bigger
than the other, the mouth is crooked, and the body is smaller than the head, you say, 'What
a beautiful picture!' You want to encourage the child, even though the picture is a poor representation
of what it aims to represent. You want the child to feel loved, to feel nurtured, to feel supported.
These are good things, for a child
. For an adult, it's not good. When an adult stinks at
something, when they do a bad job, or when they are just plain mediocre, they still want to
hear how great they are. And, you do your child a disservice if you continue to stroke its ego
when its production doesn't keep up with its capacity to produce. If an older child does a mediocre
job with something, if you tell it that it was 'wonderful,' of course it will have no standard for
good and bad. And the cycle continues. Why strive for 'better' when 'mediocre' is 'wonderful?'
By profession I am an organist, which means I attend (i.e., play for) to a lot of funerals. I've
yet to hear a eulogy where the decedent wasn't a perfect parent, a perfect uncle, a perfect
grandma -- infinitely patient, generous with money, time or advice, gentle, the best listener,
loved Jesus more than anyone else, and so on and so on and so on. I'm sure I've played
five hundred funerals, in which half had eulogies just like that.
It's about self-delusion. If people acknowledge that 50% of culture is below average, then they
are forced to examine themselves a little bit to see if they might be embracing crap. Don't
mistake me: I'm not suggesting that one should only surround themselves with the cream of
the crop of whatever cultural media. Sometimes, 'bad movie night' is fun. Sometimes, you
just want to listen to Cyndi Lauper, Boy George, or UTFO. Thomas Kincaid is nice to look at.
There's nothing wrong with vegging out to Miami Vice
. But be honest about it: that stuff
is mediocre at best.
Is there good or even great contemporary stuff? Of course. This isn't a defense of the 'Dead
White Men' mindset. But the idea that just because it's art makes it 'good' is baloney. Today,
just like every other day in the history of humankind, there's a lot of crap being produced by
a lot of mediocre artists. Today, unlike many times in the past, we just seem afraid to say:
what a pile of crap! And even worse is when some of us actually have aesthetic convictions,
the mediocrity-embracing group cries about elitism, judgmentalism, ivory towerism, and every
other thing in an effort to call attention away from their 'average' production and upon the
'bad guy' who actually has an opinion.