"'Truth is strange," you know, "stranger than fiction' - besides being more to the point" - Edgar Allan Poe

July 22, 2005

The best

A blog I wrote a while ago, but forgot to post.

The Guiness Committee of world records has been documenting the strange, weird, wacky superlatives (most, biggest, smallest, strongest, weirdest) in the world for decades now. It showcases what extremes human, animate and inanimate objects can extend themselves to in this world (and beyond) and makes a display of it, to show people what's possible within this tiny framework of rules that govern the universe.
Considering the human angle, it regularly manages to make a public display of people (who voluntarily cooperate) who have managed to break conventional boundaries with their own bodies, and shows people this with an ever exploding media. Records include strechiest skin, most body piercings, maximum no. of hulahoops, farthest airplane pulling, and so on. These people, in exchange for a 'certificate', are sometimes paid a small fee to appear on television and display these 'records' or attempt to make it on tv itself. Books, the internet, tv, and yes, even a radio show have publicized these things for years now.
And the public laps this up with a frenzy unparalleled, genarating revenues that would put the GDP of a small African country to shame.

How very sad.

Sometimes true superlatives are just not appreciated. I wish these guys would catalogue some more extreme human achievements that actually affect our lives in significant manners. Maybe a showcase for best computer database search algorithm, since that's what runs Email and search engines across the world, and the way it does is quite amazing, really. How about 'the best charitable organization' that's been working to eradicate disease, poverty and suffering across the world? Maybe a Guiness record for Jonas Salk, for ridding the world (almost) of polio with a method that was inexpensive, easy to administer and saved the lives of millions of people (he's not even been given a nobel prize). Perhaps a 'ragstoriches' record for people like NRN, and how the man, with a handful of other CEOs, managed to make India an IT superpower while providing employment to millions of Enginners in the country. Hell, give a record to the religious diversity in India, and how, despite a lot of obvious problems, it has managed to 'preserve' culture and give a billion people living in a developing country (yeah right!) faith to look forward to another day of life with that magic word, 'hope'.

Mediocrity is ending the world, on word at a time.