Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The mystery of the triumph of the mediocre

"It's not what you know, it's who you know" is one of those proverbs that gets bandied about sagely and if you're in the right mood or miffed enough with some situation or another you grunt and huff and say "I'll say!"

Somebody got an easy ride for some reason or other - be it nepotism, or doing their time on the casting couch, marrying into fortune, or just generally sucking up or sucking off, as required.

Never mind the rest of us who could do a better job if we just had the right contacts.

I don't think the mediocre do triumph, though, in the long run. Inflated reputations may not pop like a pricked balloon, but they will gradually deflate and become saggy, if they have not been earned for any more than hail-fellow-well-met qualities.

We might hear certain tedious names praised interminably but eventually, if the expert schmoozers, the relatives of the famous, and the best friends of the high and mighty don't have some contribution of their own to make, we won't remember why their name is attached to this or that monument, plaque on the side of a building, or arts fellowship. Good connections can only take you so far. You have to come up with the goods , or it'll all come out in the wash...

Who you know helps, but what you know is more important.

1 comment:

Kilmog Press said...

Yes, I agree, and what's more, I was thinking the same thing the other day, especially in regard to various friends and people I admire, who I feel are much neglected as far as their artistic 'due' is concerned. There is yet another part to this situation which is tragic though - that often those who are neglected openly support these 'nice and charming' hacks, and therefore, simply fall into validating the very system that has neglected them. It is almost impossible to avoid this ...