Talent (or) Why Mexico Will Make it Past the First Round :
A Redundant Ok Oh Non-Starter
In the first studio, the studio where they shot the news and the shows about gizmos and dressed the actress up in a suit which monitored her movements, rendering her an imperfectly formed cartoon geek on the computer screen (not the second studio where the call-in help show and the entertainment show were recorded) an argument raged. Gabe swore it was pronounced chimera (with a hard k at the beginning) while Simon was sure it was pronounced chimera (with a soft ch at the beginning.) Dave flung up his hands after switching sides a few times, then jogging down the block for a martini, he returned and flung up his hands again. As far as I can tell, we live in a culture obsessed with the notion of talent. A commodity packaged and advertised to us, some magical innate ability some possess while others do not. This exciting, intangible, ineffable pixie dust, sprinkled on the very fortunate, affords the lucky the leeway to develop, practice and continue to the highest levels. The others, the talentless, are often frustrated, retarded and have their practice truncated by disinterest. Talent comes in many forms. It is evident earliest in the notion of the prodigy. Simple precociousness is then seen as talent. Sometimes talent is mistaken for decisiveness and momentary confidence, while other times it takes on the guise of the dilettante. Uncommon flair, the ability to adorn something with a kind of shallow extra often translates to talent, thus talent takes on the unavoidable speciousness of the absolutely original, the ability to create something out of nothing at the decisive moment. But talent is a wholly subjective observation. It is one person seeing another in a certain light at a specific moment and liking what they see. It is the initial perception of a habitual trait that the observer values as a key to the development of future success. Those who discover talent are deemed talented themselves. Depending on whom that observer is, and their subsequent ability to sell both the talented and future investors in the talented on the merits of the subject's talent, talent itself falls prey to a mental state. The mental state of the seller, the mental state of the buyer and, least importantly, the mental state of the bought. The nurturing of talent is big business. The nurturing of talent is the continued advertisement of talent for talent's sake. And talent makes money. Not long ago my wife and I were talking about two friends who do the same job. She mentioned that while Friend A, was more talented than Friend B, she was starting to enjoy Friend B's product more. Upon further reflection we realized her initial assessment of Friend A's talent was down to Friend B's initially less direct approach in her work. Friend B's less presumptive, perhaps more circumspect approach when compared to Friend A's confident action made Friend A look more talented. In this there is not only an initially comforting experience, a confidence-inducing directness my wife values in Friend A's own regard that merits the valuation of talent, but a valuation based on a later perception contrasted with Friend B's perceived less-confident and then less comforting approach. And yet, with hindsight, more experience and the point of view this offers, it is Friend B's approach that becomes the desired product. Friend B then becomes more talented than Friend A. The hindsight would never have been appreciated could my wife stick with her gut assessment. Friend A became unavailable over time, forcing my wife to switch to Friend B's product. Based on the perception of talent, my wife would have stuck with Friend A as long as possible. This we can see, when applied in broader terms, has resounding effects. As the perception of talent is wholly dependent on the mental state of the talent scout, the initially perceived talented are offered invaluable opportunities to practice their craft than the untalented based on a complex set of subjective mechanisms produced by one entity's neurosis. It then becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, as the only way to actually objectively determine anything close to a value like talent is over the long term, in terms of product. Those afforded the time to practice being talented (a practice that not only includes buttressing the notion of talent in the talented but a further education in the art of advertising, in whatever form, said talent) are then paraded as talented by those whose own estimation of talent at spotting talent is on the line. Namely ourselves. Chimera (Χίμαιρα) is pronounced with a hard k.
Labels: Insignificant Others