The ‘best’

‘No one likes rejection and since I resist being part of the “best” party, I usually find myself getting kicked out.’

Why do I resist?  When something is considered “the best,” then the competition kicks it into another gear and the easy, relaxed, wonderful experiences begin to diminish.  All of a sudden, things start changing, heads inflate, rules get stricter, security gets tighter, standards or maybe its quality that drops, prices rise through the roof and some folks find they can’t keep up.  Thus, they get forced out.  Then everything and everyone is trying to do and be the same because everyone is doing it.  It looks a lot like gentrification.’

The preceding quote is an excerpt from a great post over at Building Windmills.  It reminded me about a TV show that I think embodies much of the “best” mentality: “House Hunters.”  The name pretty much sums up the show.  Usually a couple is searching for the closest thing they can get to their ideal house in a given region — one within their budget.  And the viewer watches as they tour three properties.  I’ve only seen the show a few times, and, during such, pretty much only for as long as it takes to hear one half of a couple talk about how lacking a property is.  Now, even withstanding that the show supposedly features people who’ve already bought their homes going through a sort of reenactment of the process (see this piece), dismissing a property as something you don’t want to buy is certainly anybody’s right–even by the most ridiculous, arbitrary kind of standards . . .

Thing is, often these properties that are lacking are somebody else’s perfectly livable home.  They’re just so far from “bad,” and, even though the perception that they are might be relayed through one person’s perspective, the opinions about what’s “best” (however genuine or not) seem in tune with a larger sensibility in which one not only has options, one feels entitled to the best of them.  Convenience, beautiful homes, culture and constant quiet?  Frequently ‘best’ is as many virtues as possible, sort of like what the absolute newest smart phone offers (dang, I wish I had that one).  It’s easy enough to want all these things, but buying virtues without working at them tends to mean buying into the appearance of something rather than anything of substance.  And it can be a vain world, so that can certainly work in its own comfortable way.  But who says that’s the best one?

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3 responses to “The ‘best’

  1. Hey David, this is not really related to your post, but my husband is a camera operator. He does work for folks like National Geographic, History Channel, and IMF. He has some pretty wild and amazing stories when he comes home from work. Even if he’s done work for National Press Club, which is usually just talking heads. But if he does a show for HGTV, there’s nothing interesting in the least for him to share with us.

    I think its because the other jobs put him in places he would never ever have gotten the opportunity to be otherwise. Like, in the middle of the jungle in Panama searching for jaguars. Hmmmm… jaguars vs. renovated homes. Go figure.

    Reality TV doesn’t really allow us to explore new and more “spiritual” realms. They don’t teach us about ourselves or the world beyond us. Its a whole lotta drama which I think people have been lulled into believing is the best part of their lives… draaaama. Every mundane, ordinary, run of the mill event that rightfully can be one’s very special moment, is made into America’s big contest of finding or fighting for the “best.”

    How do we know it is the “best” house, or singer or entree? We don’t. Do we care? Personally, I care to know if that someone is simply growing, working toward being the best they can be. If the house is best for them and helps in that work, great! I just don’t need to be part of their process for improvement. Although I do have those guilty please reality shows that I’ll admit to. But very seldom. Too many good blogs out here to read.

    Now I do buy into expertise in such cases as a singer, or chef, or journalist. I respect and appreciate their authority to make comments because I don’t know that field as well or at all. But with that said, I don’t watch reality TV for expert opinion; just sheer indulgence.

    So, I hear ya on the post. Like everything I get here, I got a chance to reevaluate and probe a bit deeper on my thoughts.

    Thanks for hearing me and bringing your light into it.

    By the way, I’ve barely sat through one episode of ‘House Hunters.” Gimme jaguars any day.

    • Yeah, the most interesting thing to me about ‘House Hunters’ is how in sync it is with most notions of upward mobility. Its certainly not the people on it.

      The length of your comment was certainly fine by me. I agree that seeing someone try for ‘the best’ on TV is usually a pretty limited framework. I think all TV best serves people in a seldom fashion, but it’s probably been never been so easy to veg out to the one-dimensional. And that’s certainly a mixed bag, probably with a bit more negatives than positives–not that it’s afforded much thought by people whom don’t have many real positives in the first place.

  2. Sorry for such a long comment. I wrote a whole blog entry!

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