The Mediocrity Principle

Perhaps the most misunderstood part of Barach’s Law, mediocrity, is not, as dictionaries would have you believe, simply the state of being mediocre. To achieve mediocrity one must excel at the mediocre. Having the words “excel” and “mediocre” in the same phrase may seem oxymoronic (I’ve been called worse), but excellence at the mediocre is the only way to explain the success of American capitalism. In the context of Barach’s Law, the definition of mediocrity is: being remarkable at marketing something of dubious quality, to the point where it either becomes ubiquitous or appears valuable.

There are countless example of mediocrity at the national level - McDonalds, Microsoft Windows, Britney Spears, George W. Bush, Titanic (the movie and the ship, but mostly the movie), American Idol (the show and the winners, but mostly the show), Oprah (the woman, the show, the industry), and more. Take the first American brand that comes to mind, and with a little reflection, you’re sure to come up with other brands of superior quality that are less financially successful. The latter have failed at mediocrity.

Mediocrity, however, is more than national brands. At every level of American society, you can see mediocrity at work. In corporate America you have the person who provides absolutely no value, but brown-noses themselves into promotion after promotion. Mediocrity rewarded. Politicians who accomplish nothing for their communities, or the greater good, get reelected. Again, mediocrity rewarded. Kids who compete in sporting events, yet every one gets a trophy, even those that were dead last. Rewarded. The last example is of course about the mediocrity of America’s coddling practices, not the children - they didn’t do anything to achieve mediocrity, the lazy rug-rats.

Mediocrity, like a cliché, is as American as apple pie. (I know cliché is French, but have you ever watched American TV news? We own it now, bitch! I think apple pie is German, but again, that’s not the point.) Billy Crystal personified mediocrity in his impersonation of Fernando Lamas more than 20 years ago, when he said, “it is better to look good than to feel good, and you look marvelous!” Image over quality and substance. God bless America.

6 Comments

  1. Zachary Jester
    Posted August 19, 2008 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Wow, you sure sound like a whiney liberal deuchebag, if there ever was one. If America rewards mediocrity, what rewards are reaped by the rest of the world. Name another country who enjoys our freedoms and excellence. Our healthcare system is the best in the world, and they are rewarded for it ( with money ). Waiting 12 months to see a doctor is not excellent healthcare (my Canadian ex-patriot employee enjoys our capitalistic healthcare system). Who did the world demand put a stop to the military action in Georgia…The USA. And how did we get the greatest army in the world, … capitalism… no, not really, well actually. Freedom and capitalism has left Americans with the right to choose their professions, which in turn makes people think about what they want to do with their lives, and when someone makes a decision about their lives they tend to pursue it with greater passion. And what allows every individual in America the right to choose, capitalism, survival of the fittest. Hence, capitalism rewards passion, and passion brings excellence. Ha.

  2. Meggie
    Posted August 21, 2008 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    For an excellent and passionate display of mediocre writing and bad grammar, read the above comment.

  3. Zachary Jester
    Posted August 23, 2008 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    I respect your opinion and in it’s spirit of pettiness…

    So’s your face.

  4. youraveragetim
    Posted September 7, 2008 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I happen to know David Barach personally, and he is definitely a “whiney liberal deuchebag(sp)”. However, he’s really a pretty run-of-the-mill douchebag. I’ve met much bigger, more accomplished douchebags. I do not understand how Barach has attained such notoriety for a douchebaggery that is really pretty dubious in quality.

  5. Candace
    Posted September 22, 2008 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    YES. Oh, yes. My new favorite word: Douchebaggery.

    Eagerly awaiting an opportunity to use it. Shouldn’t be long.

  6. Posted October 17, 2008 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I, too, know this Barach person personally (is there any other way?), and I must say that if you’re looking for exemplary douchebags, he’s actually quite mediocre. In fact, he excels as a mediocre douchebag. Thus, by Barach’s Law, he has achieved mediocrity in douchebaggery. Ergo, mofo!

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