Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Celebration of Mediocrity

The Celebration of Mediocrity
By: Chris ”Mo” Meadows   

    I’m not the guy that goes along with things just because “that’s they way it is.” If that’s the way it is then I want to know why. It seems to me that if there is something better then why not bring it up. I don’t agree with education policies in this country and I certainly don’t agree with the fact that people have come to accept mediocrity as the norm. There is something wrong with just going along to get along.

    I certainly understand that it would be difficult for one person to stand up and say, “hey, this isn’t right and it isn’t working.” I think it’s time that we do so. Seriously, I wasn’t a star student in high school, but if I were a student today I would be classified as “learning disabled”. The truth of the matter is that I, much like the children of today, aren’t learning disabled, but more like I just didn’t care and I was just plain lazy. Let’s call it as it really is and stop making excuses. I feel that it isn’t just the education or the parents or even the student’s fault, not by themselves, but they certainly are a part of the problem. It’s society as a whole that has made this possible.

    It’s been said that art is an imitation of life. I don’t know who said this, but I have got to believe it. If we look at our society from the perspective of art, or lack there of, that we’ve lost any real creativity and settled on some counterfeit version of artistic ability. There are exceptions of course, but pop art and pop music have certainly taken a serious downturn and I believe that it started with my generation. I’m not exactly sure as to the catalyst that brought this pathetic excuse for art and entertainment to being, but sometime during the mid 90’s pop art as a whole took a dump.

    In the very late 80’s and the early 90’s pop music I thought, like much of the rest of the country, finally had a voice like some of the great music of the 60’s. We had fantastic artists like Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, Prince was reinventing himself again, U2 and Bono had come out with one of there best albums since “The Joshua Tree”. The movement was towards grunge at that time and other bands were coming out that were amazing in their own right. Bands like Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Even pop country had found a new voice in artists like Garth Brooks, Dwight Yoakum and Alan Jackson. Heavy Metal took a brave new turn and gave birth to brave new bands like Tool. The music was good then and like it’s 60’s counterpart was the voice of generation. However, the music moguls of the world grabbed the “new Seattle sound” that the youth had claimed as their voice and built bands to play similar types of music and forced others like Radiohead to play songs similar to the other bands on the radio that had hits.

    Another thing happened during the early 90’s that I feel ruined television forever. “The Real World” and “Liquid Television”. These shows, like the music of the time, was groundbreaking. They were for the most part the voice of a new generation. What we didn’t realize that these shows were soon to be counterfeited by MTV and in the late 90’s other media corporations and would soon be the birth of the mediocrity that twenty years later we would celebrate.

    I think that the issue is that when industry grabs the popular movement and starts putting out cookie cutter programs and movies or music and tries to sell it as art…well, all the art has been sucked out of it and it no longer has any sort of soul. So, in an effort to make their programs and music more viable and more “controversial” in the early 2000’s we started seeing more shows like “The Real World” and “The Real Housewives”  and just let the people go nuts. The result is a television show that makes it easier for us and especially children, to think that it’s ok for people to act this way and be complete and total morons. We have after all allowed them to celebrate mediocrity with these shows.

    The same can be said of the music. In the early days of rock and before that the blues, the song lyrics had some ambiguity. Unlike today’s music when songs blatantly tell us that they want to fuck or that they feel like getting high. True, that there have always been similar songs on the radio. Even from my day Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails wanted to “Fuck you like an animal” and Muddy Waters sang about “Champagne and Reefer” in his time. It has just become more prevalent in modern culture. It has become acceptable and we can hear it more and more on the radio.

    The television shows that I grew up with before the days of “The Real World” and “Beavis and Butthead” were there to entertain and to teach. Shows like “Growing Pains” and “Fresh Prince of Bel Aire” taught us some life lessons week to week and we loved it. “The Simpsons” in it’s own way even taught us life lessons albeit in a very skewed manner. Today however, we have “Family Guy” another program that dumbs down and makes it even more likely that our children will regard the behaviors seen on this program as something that they can do in the real world.

    We have allowed big business to ruin everything that is good with art. Even the news of the today is a horribly skewed view that is owned by multimedia corporations. The days when a journalist had the courage to speak up and talk about what was wrong are long gone, with Edward R. Murrow. Murrow spoke out against Senator McCarthy, and thank the heavens that he did, lest everyone in the country would be still be on the hunt for the hidden communists in this country. I don’t enjoy communism, but as I understand it, people have a right to believe what they want. I’m not a fan of bigots and groups like the Ku Klux Klan, but they certainly have the right to say what they want.

    Going along to get along is a scary premise. I imagine that people in Germany in the 30’s and 40’s felt it necessary to go along to get along or face certain death. It’s understandable, but certainly disagreeable. It was Mark Twain who said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” It is time for that sort of reflection today. Big business permeates our daily life from what shows to watch to the pharmaceuticals that are good for us, as if there was a magic pill that can cure us.

    There should be a point where we as a society say “we want something better”. We should demand it, but anytime one person speaks up they are quickly put down or dismissed as a nut. The reason is that they have decided to go against the norm and society is so entrenched in “going along to get along“ that they almost have to dismiss the so called nut. There was a sociologist that said there are three stages that take place before change occurs. The first is, ridicule of the person or persons that suggest change. Next, violent reaction and opposition to the change and finally acceptance of change. I wonder what phase we are on.

    I’ve always held the belief that there is soon to be a revolution in this country and rightly so. As a society we fall behind most other Western cultures in health care. America is the most wealthy and powerful nation in the world and it’s citizens still have to pay for their right to live. Yes, these Western countries do pay a fairly high cost for taxes, but it is still cheaper than the sort of premiums that we pay from month to month. People are afraid that public healthcare means that they won’t get the healthcare that they need. It just isn’t so, because our lives have been so inundated with lies from big pharma and the medical community that we actually believe it.

    Our education system continues to fall behind other countries around the world. China and most other Asian nations surpass our students in education and the gap gets larger every year. Yet, we continue to make it easier on students to make it through school with a sub par education. Yes, there are some good schools and good teachers out there that do the best that they can, but if we allow the law makers to continue on their present course we will be raising a nation of idiots. We owe it to our children and our country as a whole to demand better.

    We have become so accustomed to mediocrity that it seems as though we will never get any better. Everyday we continue to allow mediocrity to rule. We allow minority groups more leeway in education so that most of these kids can barely read. The common tongue of the nation is becoming the jargon that people use in text messages everyday. I understand now that so called words like “omg, lol, lmao” will soon be included in the dictionary.

    When the subject of mediocrity in politics, education and healthcare are brought up; most of the people I have tried to discuss this with say things like, “I’ll let the politicians figure it out” or “it doesn’t concern me” and “ I don’t really care”. So, maybe it’s not so much a celebration of mediocrity, but rather a venture into apathy. All of this should concern you. You should care, because though it may not effect you right now, it will soon and if not, then it will certainly have an effect on your children and future generations of this great nation.

Wake up people.