AP English Language and Composition
7 February 2020
There’s an era we live in where everything has the appearance of extremes, where nuanced minds and grey figures are pushed to the beyonds of reasonable recognition. Long gone is the time of mysterious artists and historically ambiguous leaders. Nowadays, everyone is a genius, or a fantastical talent, or an out-of-this-world superstar. Yet, we believe ourselves to be useless and ineffectual in our lives; this is best characterized by the finding that a third of millennials suffer from “imposter syndrome” in the workplace, according to career development agency Amazing If. This isn’t about statistics though, or what I can prove either. This is about what frustrates me to my core.
If you look at any interview about anything done by any media outlet, you will hear the words “greatest,” “best,” “fantastic,” “amazing,” being thrown out as trivial praise. Some crackhead down the street could be doing a “fantastic” job trying to achieve an overdose, and some weak-jawed, balding journalist with a degree in Gender Studies named “Gary McPersonman” could walk up to him and ask questions like: “How did you become the most super-coolest crackhead in all of Cincinnati?” as a crowd cheers so loud the poor fellow wouldn’t be able to get a word out.
This culture of everything being attributed the maximum value it can just leads to an inflation of worth, devaluing genuine exceptionalism. With the value of true achievement having dropped so low, it discourages trying to do anything, as the fear of “Will this be good enough?” takes over. People don’t just pick up a pen and write, nor do they pick up a brush and paint. There’s a paralyzing fear in modern times preventing any creative output, and it arises from these superlatives we have to live up to.
“What’s the best so-and-so?” doesn’t matter. Whether you have the softest bed or the reddest strawberries, you’ve still got a life to live. Living one where you don’t feel useless—a waste of space just waiting for something to take you out of this world—is the only life worth living, because the truth is that nothing great will just simply come to you, or anyone else. This isn’t to say that you have any semblance of control over your life, but you can stop tearing it down for a start. Inaction is active destruction, because the best time for you to do anything has already passed. It’s the same principle behind cleaning your keister after defecation: it just has to be done.
That’s why I’m sick of this superlative culture. Every sentence is riddled with euphemistic language aiming to disguise the fact that the attention being given to something is not proportional to the attention it deserves. It facilitates the mind-numbing stream of talentless celebrities and uneventful happenings which propagate through social media, because otherwise nobody would care. The value we attach things with our language is the same as the financial worth we attach things with our money. Haven’t you noticed that the people worth the least attention and praise are often the ones with the most wealth? This materialistic economy is running its course, as social status becomes just another commodity to be bought and sold under the guise of talent, while true exception is free to buckle. I want to be here when it all burns down.