Most of everything is bullshit and everything contains a little brilliance.
I can’t believe I lived on this planet 42 years without noticing this obvious fact.
Let’s take a look.
Most of every genre is dull and uninspired. Most classical is dreary. Most jazz is pretentious. Most pop is awful. Most heavy metal jars if you listen too long.
Looking back at what I listened to when I was young, most grunge, alt-rock etc. is repetitive and dumb. Most Bengali devotional songs sound the same as all the others.
But there is a corollary to this: every genre of music contains gems. There’s Mozart’s Requiem. Blue Train. Cemetery Gates. Señorita is alright though not to my taste. Some Smashing Pumpkins songs, beneath the cringe 90s marketing, are actually pretty good.
Even some 70s disco hits and saccharine 50s ballads for teenagers are great.
Courses of Study
You already know that a lot of courses are bullshit.
Going deeper, even worthwhile courses are often mostly bullshit.
Thinking back to my postgrad year, we were desperate to learn how to actually do the job but all we got was theoretical drivel that wasn’t going to help at all.
Then all of a sudden, when my lecture pad was overflowing with frustrated doodles, bam! A pearl of wisdom would drop from the lecturer’s lips about what to actually do on the job and we all jotted it down furiously, then listened for more and found the professor was back to waffling.
Have other people had this experience?
For most people, a lot of their career is doing stuff that is not actually the meat and veg of their profession. Not matter how arcane and specialized your field, you seem to spend inordinate amounts of time doing stuff you could have done right out of high school. Writing documents no one will read, counting money, keeping spreadsheets, sitting in pointless meetings, managing people. Making PowerPoints or being forced to watch them, with an earnest lady reading the slides to you because you’re four years old and can’t read for yourself yet.
What percentage of your job actually involves the thing you’re specifically there to do? For me I think it averaged about 70%. Doesn’t quite fit my thesis but I don’t care, the spirit of the thing is right.
Films and TV
If you look at a TV guide (remember them?) you’ll find that 90% of the content is rubbish. Probably more.
If you check out what films are on at your local cinema (remember them?), most will be dire.
And yet, there are some good films and some good TV shows. In any genre. Even romantic comedies and variety shows can shine if they’re done to perfection.
This has always been the case. Don’t fall for the classic movies preen – the majority of old films are dull.
Incidentally, beware of Rotten Tomatoes reviews.
Modern Art and Architecture
I guess you could make the case that the majority of traditional art and architecture was middling, not rubbish. And that’s okay. A decorative picture hanging on the stairs doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. If a town’s buildings are all ordinary but similar, the overall effect is pleasant and they do not draw attention away from the really special structures.
As for the modern stuff, the rule of rubbish holds pretty well. Every now and then a piece of modern art is quite interesting and worthwhile. A few modern buildings are spectacular inside and out. Most of both, however, are enough to make you sick.
Given this, settling for the mediocre and inoffensive doesn’t seem so bad.
The vast majority of books published, new or old, are not worth your time.
Some are good and a few are great. This is true for any type of book.
It’s safer to read time-tested classics than newer works, and anything published recently by a major publisher will be pozzed to buggery.
Here’s a rough guide to the Western Canon.
A few new books are of breathtakingly quality and you should buy dozens of copies while you can.
Seriously, I’m starting to read some alt-fiction and I reckon that even if the majority of these books are not hidden masterpieces, they are at least interesting, original and creative. They make you think. An obscure book recommended by your mate on Twitter is likely to be a better read than any in the picture above.
Blogs, Podcasts, Videos and Social Media Content
Face it: most of the internet is full of shit. Blog posts are repetitive and often merely snark at an MSM article rather than offer something original. Podcasts waffle. Videos rehash stuff we’ve seen a million times before.
For the good stuff scroll down to my Blog Roll and Followed Blogs, or click the top right on desktop.
Having said that, even the dumbest sites on the net will occasionally have something good. There are insightful articles at The Atlantic. Long, dull livestreams with tedious, shallow, interrupting superchats have bursts of brilliant invective. Bluecheck Twitter accounts sometimes post a funny.
Most of everything is bullshit.
In every pile of shit is something good.
This is God’s law and we must accept His will.
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