Friday, August 24, 2012

Exhibitionist?



Rabo Karabekian, a character in Kurt Vonnegut's book, Bluebeard, reflects on the modern dilemma of the "moderately gifted." I thought you might find this interesting if you too are occasionally accused of being an exhibitionist.
 I was obviously born to draw better than most people . . . Other people are obviously born to sing and dance or explain the stars in the night sky or do magic tricks or be great leaders or athletes, and so on.

I think that could go back to a time when people had to live in small groups of relatives - maybe fifty or a hundred people at the most. And evolution or god or whatever arranged things genetically, to keep the little families going, to cheer them up, so that they could all have somebody to tell stories around the campfire at night, and somebody else to paint pictures on the walls of the caves, and somebody who wasn't afraid of anything and so on.

That's what I think. And of course a scheme like that doesn't make sense anymore, because simply moderate giftedness has been made worthless by the printing press and the radio and television and satellites and all that. A moderately gifted person who would have been a community treasure a thousand years ago has to give up, has to go into some other line of work, since modern communications put him or her into daily competition with the world's champions.

The entire planet can get along nicely now with maybe a dozen champion performers in each area of human giftedness. A moderately gifted person has to keep his or her gifts all bottled up until, in a manner of speaking, he or she gets drunk at a wedding and tap-dances on the coffee table . . .  We have a name for him or her. We call him or her an "exhibitionist."

Of course the situation Karabekian describes is made more complicated these days by social media, like facebook, youtube and dare i say it . . . blogs.

Let me know what you think  :-)

1 comment:

  1. The world is flat. In the words of a more recent recogniser of the same phenomenon (though not as focused on exhibitionists.

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