Sunday, May 15, 2011

The United Provinces of Mediocrity

I came home the day before the federal election.  And what was on the front of the Toronto Star the day of the election?  A big ol' picture of Osama bin Laden.  Thanks respectively to both Mr. Obama and Mr. Osama for screwing up our election and giving Harper the power to turn us further into a corporatocracy.

That's enough about my thoughts on the election.  Why?  Because I didn't vote.  I don't need to explain myself more on that one, but the fact that I was in Tanzania while the election was called and for the entire campaign had a lot to do with it.  Plus, I don't have enough money or influence or stupidity for my vote to actually count.

But I would like to comment on our Canadian culture of apathy, boredom, privilege, laissez-faire, and being average, which all adds up to us being The United Provinces of Mediocrity.  Or The UPM for short.  Has a nice ring to it, eh?

We have this illusion that everyone is equal.  That everyone is middle class.  Our government likes to say things like "we will all benefit from tax cuts" or "reducing our levels of immigration will only help our country".  Then we have the parents and school boards that say "no child left behind" or "we can't fail children because it will hurt their self-esteem".  Then we have parents again and sport coaches saying that "it's not whether you win or lose, it's about having fun".  What does that all equal?  A politically blind, crayon eating, last place finishing, kool-aid drinking, Justin Bieber loving generation that believes that just showing up is more than good enough. 

Why?  Because if you've lived your life knowing that you can never fail a class, and even if you did, you would still get pushed on with your peers because "it'll be better for you in the end" or being taught that competition is a bad thing and that losing or failing has zero repercussions, where's the incentive to even care or put in any effort when our society is tailored for the average citizen and being average?

And what happens when we all become apathetic and content with the status-quo?  What happens when the kid that sat next to you in Grade 3 sucking from the bottle of that brown glue that smelled like Clorox is now your incompetent boss because he was not allowed or not supposed to fail in grade school?  And then he benefited from bellcurves and TAs who were given marking "guidelines" just to make the university look good so more glorified babysitters (oops, I mean parents) can spend their middle-class paycheques to send their unprepared progeny into a unrealistic reality of our Canadian way of life?

We get a society where mediocre is the new black.  The mundane and irrelevant is what we look for, care about, and celebrate.

I would be a fool to say that I'm not a product of this mediocrity and a citizen of the UPM.  And coming from Tanzania really hit home how much we - and I - live in a country where we literally have nothing to worry about.  And is that bad thing?  Hell no!

I can walk down the street and not worry about someone driving around in a truck shooting an AK47.  I can drink water out the tap and not worry about getting worms or typhoid or a stomach fungus.  I can go to bed at night knowing that if anything bites me I won't die from malaria.

I can lose my job, or never have a job, and not worry about where my next meal is going to come from or where I'm going to sleep. 

What does bothers me is that we live in a society that believes that we have a right to be mediocre.  Not only is it okay to be mediocre, we champion and celebrate it.  We tell our kids it's okay they failed because they tried and give them prizes for perfect attendance records.  A prize for just showing up to school every day?  Wow.

I'm sorry, but I don't want that doctor that bellcurved passed third year biology trying to save my life.  And furthermore, I don't want that politician who has two degrees in economics telling his UPM citizens that he's not running our country like a corporation.  I'm just saying.

When I do have kids, I'll tell them that winning is everything.  I gotta tell them the truth.  And I don't want to be that mediocre father.


  1. I'm a product of the same UPM, I graduated from our public education system, and I now pay taxes to our mediocre government.

    Being in Tanzania showed me just how uncomplicated our lives are, and how little we have to worry about when it comes to the basics - food, water, shelter. Instead, we worry about finding a bigger purpose, because the government provides for everything that we need just to survive.

    I'm not complaining that I have nothing life-threatening to worry about, but it does strike me that we are more concerned with 'bettering' ourselves than with ensuring that all people have the same luxury of not having to worry about worm-causing water and nourishing food.

  2. "A politically blind, crayon eating, last place finishing, kool-aid drinking, Justin Bieber loving generation that believes that just showing up is more than good enough."


    I have no idea what we are teaching this kids... but we will find out soon enough...

  3.'ll be interesting to see how things play out in the next 20-30 years.

    Might want to invest in Crayola.

  4. wow. what a rant. I couldn't disagree with you more on a lot of points, but I guess that thats just freedom of speech. ..and it's your blog. haha. -cheers.

  5. Rant? I like to call it poignant polemic postulations. ;)

    But the theme of my blog is really to get dialogue going and sometimes (all the time) you've got to say some contentious stuff, right? And man, I didn't even know you were still reading/caring about my blog, so I know I'm doing something right, lol.

    Keep on commenting! And I'll keep on ranting, ugh, I mean posting my thoughts. ;)