Writing on, and about, an island

Mediocrity

In Tasmania on December 12, 2011 at 3:14 am

I don’t do mediocre. Or conventional.

And the reason I left Tasmania when I was 21 was because I had recognised from a very young age that mediocrity and conventional was celebrated here. It was expected. Anyone not striving for those things was singled out, laughed at… there were pockets of the opposite, but it was hard to find.

Of course, the striving for the lowest common denominator is to be found in plenty of places. What matters, though, is the tipping point. Take somewhere like Sydney – I’m sure there’s mediocrity and convention all over the show there. But there’s also a HUGE amount of exactly the opposite – so the tipping point into mediocrity never really seems to happen.

Tasmania, however… What is it about this place?

The small population, the relative dispersal of people, the convict heritage, the physical divide from the ‘mainland’, the lack of fresh ideas flowing in, the droves of young people leaving each year… All these things could be contributing to tipping the general consensus over into mediocre.

And the really sad thing is, nothing seems to have changed much since I left Tasmania in 1997. I come back here 12 years later, and in all the important spheres of society, the mediocre is triumphed. I’m talking about politics, art, the environment, education, transparency of information et al… It is one part truly horrifying, one part frankly bemusing.

And it’s why I stay.

I believe that if there are enough people sticking it out here, making an effort to rail against mediocrity and the conventional – however small that effort – and making that effort known, then something’s got to change eventually.

I believe in this.

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