Sea Oats

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Genius of Mediocrity

The Genius of Mediocrity

Genius. A very powerful word. It bestows on the recipient a mantle of respectability and usually, admiration.

We all can probably name at least one genius. Many would go with Einstein. Some with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. Perhaps Emmy Noether, mathematical genius. Einstein wrote her obituary, calling her "the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began." Or perhaps Marie-Curie. Not so easy is it? 

Try this now. Given that the aforementioned people are truly geniuses, what did they do? Tell me one thing they did in a way that I, an average couch potato, can understand. Well, I am waiting! Not so easy is it? Can’t tell me a single thing in your own words without looking them up on Wikipedia or some other source. 

What is it that seems to compel us to admire genius?  Is it the perceived ability of the person so named  to understand things beyond what we would consider normal? Is it the grasp of a concept so obtuse, that ordinary souls can probably understand the idea exists, but have no way of fully comprehending what it means? Look at the show the "Big Bang Theory." All the male leads are considered to be geniuses or nearly so. Yet what is never pointed out, is that they are high functioning sociopaths. And they don't learn. They've been doing the same thing for over 8 years and have learned less than a fourth grader would in one year at school. If that's genius, they can have it.Well, don’t ask me, because I’m not genius. Some people have, in fact, made the argument in quite the other direction.

Take a second or two to untwist your brain and let us look at the alternative.
There are so many examples of idiocy it’s hard to chose.

So how did we get to this point?

It started with Robert Downey Sr., Phil Donahue and Sarah Jesse Raphael. Under the guise of being interested parties, they went further and further into the pool of human stupidity. Now, there are so many people who will sell their friends, their spouses and even their children down the river for 15 minutes of fame, it’s hard to keep track.

Daytime TV is so crowded with these slime ball hosts vying for your eyes that you’re head will hurt trying to figure out which generation of stupid we are involved with. The “producers” will do anything to get these people to say and do stupid stuff on camera.

”Reality” shows are anything but. They are about as real as wrestling and just as well rehearsed . But they are so cheap to produce and if there is anything they love is cheap. And the dumber the cheap participants are, the better. 

The real problem as I see it, is that this culture of stupid is good has leaked over into other areas. Areas that were at one time sacrosanct against in the incursion of stupid people, has now fallen victim to the lowest common denominator.  It’s easy to be ignorant. It takes a little work to try and be even mediocre.

One area that has been invaded by the truly dumb is the news. Stations can’t put up the correct graphics, the correct titles and it seems none of the news writers (the people who actually write the stories the talking heads read) don’t know what a quote is. If it is a quote, you don’t get to change the words. The graphics showing what was said rarely match what the pretty face is saying. The pretty face doesn’t have time to be bothered checking a story before it goes on the air, so all kinds  of stupidity makes its way to the screen.

One traffic reporter, who was showing an accident that was filmed by a local helicopter news team said, “As you can see the black SUV ran head on into the white car on the other side of the road.” Unfortunately, the white car hit the black SUV broadside. She said all this while looking right at the video on the screen.

Some friends came over wanted to play a drinking game. Every time a news anchor made a mistake, they had to take a drink. Since I don’t drink, I was elected to keep track. In twelve minutes, the two local anchors had made so many obvious mistakes that everyone passed out! In twelve minutes on the 6 o’clock news!

I am by no stretch of the imagination a genius. Nowhere near it. In fact, I struggle to be around the middle of mediocrity. But it's so much easier than having to think every day. Every other or even every third day, puts enough of a strain on my brain trying to be average.

That may just be my version of genius.