Write About What Makes you Angry
In an era when excelling should be increasingly important, we are seeing a trend of accepting mediocrity not only as the norm, but also as most desired. In little league baseball, teams don’t “win” anymore; we can’t foster competition. Americans don’t want to vote for a presidential candidate who seems “elitist” or rather, highly educated. In a country that values individuality, emphasis is increasingly placed on sameness. Truly, setting a goal to become exceptional in a certain skill or field can seem daunting, and rationalizing ourselves into doing just enough to get by can be appealing as we strive onward in those goals, but what does it merit us in the end to not really be good at anything?
Don’t misunderstand me; I'm not saying everyone ought to be perfect at everything they enjoy doing every time they do it. We are all blessed with different gifts and talents, and we can develop those over time. I also find it important to strive to learn new skills and abilities beyond the ones we discover we have a natural ability for. I don’t think we should over exert ourselves to become “the best” at everything, but we should always be striving to be our best in whatever task we perform.
I have named this problem “Disneyfication,” because I began noticing the prevalence of this issue first on Disney Channel television shows. Each season Disney parades out a new grouping of shows with young actors typically between the ages of 10-15, in shows with the same general subjects, and performing the same acting style, similar to that popularized by Hilary Duff in her own Disney Channel show, bad acting. Disney’s main emphasis seems to be, “anyone can do this if they really want to.” While this sentiment is a nice one to express to the Disney channels target audience, wouldn’t it also be nice to convey the message that anyone can follow their dreams and even excel in what they want to do? It may be true that many of these young actors will move on to other projects that would require more of them each time, and they would prove themselves capable of exceptional acting, but since Disney does not seem to have that qualification a slew of sameness bombards viewers of their channel.
However, even in this attack by the Disney channel, Disney still brought me a bright shining light of hope in the form of the movie, “The Incredibles.” One of my favorite scenes in this film is when Mrs. Incredible is telling her son why he can’t play sports in school, he would beat the other kids all the time, it just wouldn’t be fair. The dialog at this point goes as follows,
' I thought you said we should never be ashamed of being special!
Everyone is special Dash.
Which is another way of saying no one is.'
Would it really be so awful for the other children to recognize Dash’s special talents and abilities? By quelling the exceptional skills of others not only do we endeavor to create this mentality of not wanting to stand out and be different, but also not giving others the opportunity to strive to improve themselves. Wouldn’t the other students become more skilled in the sports they were competing in if they were striving to be a successful competitor against the Incredible they were up against?
Another great moment in this film is when the parents are discussing Mr. Incredible’s desire to avoid his son’s fourth grade graduation. He states,
' It’s psychotic, it’s not a graduation, he is moving from the fourth grade to the fifth. This is just another way people have come up with to reward mediocrity!'
In accordance with this statement, I further submit that rewarding mediocrity stops us from improving poor situations. If we worked towards becoming exceptional, I think more solutions to problems could be found and perfection would perhaps not seem to be such an unattainable goal.