“Well, the devil only knows! Talent, you say? Genius? Originality? Not a bit of it, sir!. . . People have lived and made a career side by side with me who were worthless, trivial, and even contemptible compared with me. They did not do one-tenth of the work I did, did not put themselves out, were not distinguished for their talents, and did not make an effort to be celebrated, but just look at them! Their names are continually in the newspapers and on men’s lips!”
The First-Class Passenger by Anton Chekhov
“Yet it is not just a matter of tastes in music and film: the same adoration of mediocrity can be found wherever one cares to look.
The point is that everywhere people are given a free choice between something profound and something shallow, they go with shallow. I know that such judgments are individually subjective and disputable but the overall pattern is unmistakable.
Whatever domain one chooses to examine, low quality products outsell high, even when price is not a major consideration. We see it in the great popularity of snacks and junk foods like cheese doodles and hotdogs that are not even real food so much as manufactured items. Sodas outsell fruit juice. Slug beer is far more popular than carefully-crafted microbrews. Wonder bread jumps off the supermarket racks and locally baked fresh bread goes stale like the loser that it is.”
Why We Love Mediocrity by Nigel Barber