“They keep coming up with new ways to celebrate mediocracy. But if someone is really great…” -Mr. Incredible. (The quote goes on, and believe me, my sisters and I can quote this entire scene.) But the greatness of superheroes aside, I think the same thoughts can be going through our heads about our very own society. What do we value? What isreally great? Let me make a list of what I think is really great and worth some serious recognition and appreciation.
1. High-quality music… I’m just gonna lay this on the table– I hate standing ovations 90% of the time. But I see it at almost every concert I go to. In fact, I think we’ve reached the point that it’s rude to not stand up. The message of a standing ovations just isn’t what it once was. So what now? Do we jump on the stage and carry the performers on our shoulders all around Provo? How do we differentiate something good from something great? How do we recognize sincere appreciation? Or do we? Is everything just heaped into one pile of quality?
2. Gourmet food… For example, very delicious food made by Melissa (my uncle’s good friend and graduate of Culinary Art school in France.) Or Pier 49 Pizza. Or Zupas tomato soup. None of this McDonalds, Arby’s, or Taco Bell. I’m all about the real stuff. As critic Anton Ego says in Rataouille, “I don’t like food, I love it. And if I don’t love it, I don’t swallow.” That’s disgusting! But point made, I suppose.
3. Wonderfully new new snow… Now this is really worth some excitement. I don’t know of anyone who appreciates icy/ muddy snow, but we still can’t let the value of this novelty go down.
4. Good literature… Here’s where I sort of contradict myself. There’s definitely some less-than-great writing out there that I love. (A few books come to mind right away…) And yes, they’re fun. Leisurely reading is splendid. I love it. But if people go through their whole lives without encountering and experiencing some really great stuff, then I think they’ve really deprived themselves of some education. I admit, not all classics quite up my alley or refreshing in any way (*cough* Of Mice and Men. *cough* Grapes of Wrath. *gag* The Great Gatsby). But then again, what defines a classic?
5. A really good movie… Don’t you hate it when you finish watching a movie, and then you say, “Why did I just waste 2 hours of my life watching that?” It feels awful. As long as you’re just gonna be lounging on your couch, you may as well be getting some good stuff out of what you’re seeing. For example, I would say The Scarlet Pimpernel is definitely worth its time. I would also say that The Lord of the Rings– even extended– is worth it. And what makes these good? I think some of the most important things are the overall message, the soundtrack, and the ending.
6. Good art? I actually really like abstract art and weird things like that. But why pictures that a 2-year old could have drawn (literally) sell for millions, I have no idea. And it turns out this 7-year old kid just started selling paintings for millions. But apparently his really are incredible. But here we are again: what is incredible?
And the list goes on. I think we as a society define incredible, and put value on what we think is good. I think we need to re-evaluate what we really appreciate, and mirror it in our own lives as well. If we individually try to pursue excellence, rather than get comfortable with mediocracy, I think we’d create a much more educated and aware society. Just some thoughts.