Author Topic: "The worship of mediocrity", by Cindy Sadler (mezzo-soprano)  (Read 12903 times)

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Michel.R.E

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"The worship of mediocrity", by Cindy Sadler (mezzo-soprano)
« on: November 14, 2013, 05:56:00 AM »
An excellent article that is bound to ruffle some feathers around the world. But an excellent read and perfectly valid points.

http://100lbs.typepad.com/mezzo_with_character/2013/11/the-worship-of-mediocrity.html

« Last Edit: November 14, 2013, 07:26:54 AM by Michel.R.E »
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

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Jamie Kowalski

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Re: Excellent article that is sure to tick some people off
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2013, 06:12:04 AM »
Can we "sticky" this?

winknotes

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Re: Excellent article that is sure to tick some people off
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2013, 06:52:29 AM »
Terrific article.  Thanks for bringing that to our attention.....Mikey ;)
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Michel.R.E

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Re: Excellent article that is sure to tick some people off
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2013, 06:58:24 AM »
 :angel: now who says that's little ol' moi?
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

Ron

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Re: Excellent article that is sure to tick some people off
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2013, 07:12:56 AM »
Ms Sadler says so well what I have sometimes stumbled and stuttered to communicate. When I was young I had a talent for writing IQ tests. Notice the way I worded that. I did not say I am smart, superior, or good at anything that matters. Yet, every time the subject of my IQ has come up I get into trouble. For example, several years ago a newspaper reporter interviewed me to find out "what it as like to be so smart." I told her how I did poorly in school because I am not skilled at rote learning; in her article she quoted me as saying I was not skilled at "real learning." I tried to compare my experience to that of an athlete; just because one has a talent for running does not make one an Olympian athlete--this turned into me saying I was an Olympian champion of thinkers. And so it went; I wound up looking like a fool with a colossal ego, thereby proving the reporter's thesis that smart people are just elitist snobs, nothing more. My sister particularly gets incensed any time I try to express anything of my struggle to fit into a world that worships mediocrity and willful ignorance.

Steve has a point about this being a sticky. So many people seem to have dreams of being the "next great composer" yet don't appear to realize that composition is like any other endeavor. One has to work hard at it to be good at it; and to work extremely hard and to be be very well connected and extremely lucky to be ranked among the best.  Face it, there is nothing wrong with being able to put together a polished satisfying  piece of music for a handful of friends to enjoy. Or of writing a musical that is performed at the local community centre. Sure everyone who puts a note on a staff would love to have a world class orchestra play that note, but, realistically, it is not going to happen. Far better to focus on what you can do and do well and learn to do it even better next time. The world needs someone to write a good piece for that group of friends to perform and for someone to write a musical comedy to delight the locals at the community centre. It does not need a lot of overinflated egos seeking to strut on a podium--not unless they have put in the tens of thousands of hours of study and practice and self examination and sheer agony to have earned their over-inflation. I can't pay that price and I know that I never will deserve that place. So, I accept and enjoy what I can do.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2013, 07:14:47 AM by Ron »
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mjf1947

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Re: "The worship of mediocrity", by Cindy Sadler (mezzo-soprano)
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2013, 07:54:17 AM »
As psychotherapist-clinical social worker my goal with clients is always the attainment clarity.

It is the unrecognized fears, wishes, fantasies, rationalizations (shall I go on?) that pose the greatest threats to people's well being.

The avoidance of the "existential" struggle is always a problem; since reality is side stepped and replaced in favor a perceived safe haven.

The pampering of children/adults and the "dumbing" down as not to hurt one's feelings is quite destructive in the long run.

How can one really enjoy life - if all one expects life to be easy and self-serving?

There needs to be truthful acceptance of our strengths and limitations as people. 

In that context - Success is to be earned and that is not an easy journey. 

Mark

sandalwood

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Re: "The worship of mediocrity", by Cindy Sadler (mezzo-soprano)
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2013, 09:29:52 AM »
thanks for the article. very important issue, really. "election" of new opera-singing idols by audiences that avoid opera houses. there's something very distorted (not to say perverted) here. success in arts (and else, for that matter) is only a lucky step away; yes, fairy tales are indeed true! never mind the lacking years of hard work and real perfection; it's the jealous snobs and elitists talking.

this, i believe, is not confined to glorifying mediocrity in arts and is something more profound.  it may be, as Mark points out, a manifestation of a broader societal, civilizational issue.

Ron

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Re: "The worship of mediocrity", by Cindy Sadler (mezzo-soprano)
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2013, 10:02:25 AM »
Great article...
As a Chef I train many young Culinary School graduates that think they can immediately become a chef overnight.
I teach them many new techniques that they did not learn in school and many times have to beat down their ego and on occasion get them out of a mess when we are "slammed" for dinner service. They ask me, "what school did you go to"? And when I tell them that I did not attend a culinary school but started as a dishwasher many years ago they seem surprised. I think then they realize that they have a long way to go and much to learn before achieving the title of Chef. 

Interesting that you are a chef and train chefs. Among our favorites shows are the cooking competitions. One simply can't fake it when you are the best among the best. It is fascinating to watch world class art being created (and yes, great cooking is an art)--and sometimes there are colossal failures or simple oversights. Creating art is taking risks. The chefs that follow the safe route don't win in the end, though they may coast along for a while in the middle of the pack. The recent MasterChef Junior, where the contestants were between 8 years and 13 years old was absolutely riveting as these children created dishes that can bring seasoned chefs to their knees. They even ran a service in a first class restaurant and did as well as, if not better, than many adult pros in similar situations. That being said, the world's top chefs like Emeril Lagasse, Joe Bastianich, or, even Gordon Ramsay did not get where they did without years of very hard work and dedication to learning their craft.
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perpetuo studens

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Re: "The worship of mediocrity", by Cindy Sadler (mezzo-soprano)
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2013, 08:20:11 PM »
Excellent article and discussion. I suspect though, that in many cases those doing the worshipping are totally unaware that what they admire is, in fact, mediocre (at best).

Pop music has taught the world that if you can string together three chords and half a dozen words, you can be a star. The real stars in that part of he musical world are the producers, IMO, but hat's another topic.

this, i believe, is not confined to glorifying mediocrity in arts and is something more profound.  it may be, as Mark points out, a manifestation of a broader societal, civilizational issue.

I would agree with this, and all of the comments around instant gratification, special snowflakes, etc. (actually we are all singularly special, but that doesn't make us equal).

I wonder how much of this wider phenomenon is a natural outgrowth of the democratization of information. Go back as little as a couple of hundred years and only the well-to-do had access to anything but how to ply their trade and some assorted other bits of understanding necessary for day-to-day life. And that access tended to be in the form of true education, not just schooling.

Now everyone knows a little about everything and believe they know a lot, leading to, among other things, misapprehensions about what constitutes quality. So we end up with a very blurry line between what one likes, or what serves ones individual purpose, and what is good. And capitalism and elected politicians recognize this and are all too willing to exploit this misunderstanding for their own ends.

And the internet hasn't helped here. Have you ever tried to research anything in depth via Google? Trivia and brief overviews of any topic imaginable are but a click or two away (along with a seemingly infinite arrary of cute cat videos) but the kind of detailed knowledge that can produce real knowledge, the kind of information that results only from deep and methodical academic study, is very hard to find.

But if any of this is true then there's hope. We just need to wait for the masses to learn a bit more and come to understand that, even in the arts, perhaps especially n the arts, there are definable criteria that can be used to distinguish between the popular and pleasing, and the good. When that happens the good will become the popular, as it was in the days when art was available to, and apprehendable by, only the educated.

Or maybe I'm just hoping we'll get to a point where there's something on TV (oh how we've wasted this wonderfully powerful medium) besides Survivor -Naked Edition...

Jamie
The perceived object...is not a sum of elements to be distinguished from each other and analyzed discretely, but a pattern, that is to say a form, a structure: the element's existence does not precede the existence of the whole, it comes neither before nor after it, for the parts do not determine the pattern, but the pattern determines the parts: knowledge of the pattern and of its laws, of the set and its structure, could not possibly be derived from discrete knowledge of the elements that compose it.

That means that you can look at a piece of a puzzle for three whole days, you can believe that you know all there is to know about its colouring and its shape, and be no further ahead than when you started. The only thing that counts is the ability to link this piece to other pieces...

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Michel.R.E

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Re: "The worship of mediocrity", by Cindy Sadler (mezzo-soprano)
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2013, 08:33:00 PM »
Or maybe I'm just hoping we'll get to a point where there's something on TV (oh how we've wasted this wonderfully powerful medium) besides Survivor -Naked Edition...

Jamie

wait wait wait!!!

what night is THAT on??? I gotta TiVo it!

(joking, obviously.. I want to see Celebrity Chef, Naked Edition)
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

Ron

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Re: "The worship of mediocrity", by Cindy Sadler (mezzo-soprano)
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2013, 08:52:13 PM »
Actually, there is a "naked survivor" TV show. It's called "Naked and Afraid" and it's on the Discovery channel here in Canada. The premise is that man and a woman who have never met previously are abandoned on a tropical beach completely naked and are then filmed as they figure out how to survive with nothing. I saw it on the TV listings and checked it out on the web. Of course they are very heavily pixilated. Anyhow, apparently the show stinks. 

Check it out for yourselves, because you know I am prone to exaggeration: http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/naked-and-afraid
Ron
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Re: "The worship of mediocrity", by Cindy Sadler (mezzo-soprano)
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2013, 09:38:36 PM »
Check it out for yourselves, because you know I am prone to exaggeration: http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/naked-and-afraid

Nope, you're not. I stumbled across it channel surfing and watched a few minutes before becoming, curiously, both bored and nauseous. "Stinks" is generous of you actually...

Jamie
The perceived object...is not a sum of elements to be distinguished from each other and analyzed discretely, but a pattern, that is to say a form, a structure: the element's existence does not precede the existence of the whole, it comes neither before nor after it, for the parts do not determine the pattern, but the pattern determines the parts: knowledge of the pattern and of its laws, of the set and its structure, could not possibly be derived from discrete knowledge of the elements that compose it.

That means that you can look at a piece of a puzzle for three whole days, you can believe that you know all there is to know about its colouring and its shape, and be no further ahead than when you started. The only thing that counts is the ability to link this piece to other pieces...

Georges Perec - Life: A User's Manual

sandalwood

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Re: "The worship of mediocrity", by Cindy Sadler (mezzo-soprano)
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2013, 06:22:40 AM »
Actually, there is a "naked survivor" TV show. It's called "Naked and Afraid" and it's on the Discovery channel here in Canada. The premise is that man and a woman who have never met previously are abandoned on a tropical beach completely naked and are then filmed as they figure out how to survive with nothing. I saw it on the TV listings and checked it out on the web. Of course they are very heavily pixilated. Anyhow, apparently the show stinks. 

Check it out for yourselves, because you know I am prone to exaggeration: http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/naked-and-afraid

thinking of telling mom that a very respectable senior Canadian gentleman urged me to watch nude stuff on the net and ask for her advice (but afraid she will ask me if i was sure i hadn't already given it a go)

we do not yet have the naked survivor here, but we do have the regular one plus all the other contests (idols,etc) and the serials. great majority (mom included) dutifully watch them and pass the rest of the day with heated discussions on the last  episodes.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2013, 10:42:53 AM by sandalwood »

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Re: "The worship of mediocrity", by Cindy Sadler (mezzo-soprano)
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2013, 06:34:47 AM »
We had a running gag at Oberlin that we were going to do an "all hunchback version" of some popular show one day. I really wanted to do an all hunchback Mikado. But now I am really wanting to see an all hunchback Survivor!

But back on topic, I am a pretty darned good chess player. I've placed well in tournaments at different points in my life, though I don't go much any more. I can handily beat any of my real life friends. But among real chess players, I am but a wood-pusher. Nobody to even take notice of.

Periwink

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Re: "The worship of mediocrity", by Cindy Sadler (mezzo-soprano)
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2013, 08:21:58 AM »
Actually, there is a "naked survivor" TV show. It's called "Naked and Afraid" and it's on the Discovery channel here in Canada. The premise is that man and a woman who have never met previously are abandoned on a tropical beach completely naked and are then filmed as they figure out how to survive with nothing. I saw it on the TV listings and checked it out on the web. Of course they are very heavily pixilated. Anyhow, apparently the show stinks. 

Check it out for yourselves, because you know I am prone to exaggeration: http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/naked-and-afraid

That's hilarious because the same concept is going to air here in Holland as well in a few weeks I think, though here it's called "Adem and Eve"...
Honesty doesn't serve the self; it serves the truth.
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