A theory of mediocrity

Sarah Hoyt ties the ongoing series of SF/F debacles to the coddling of the Millennials:

Anyway – the most important influx of these writers, who got doors thrown open for them because they were the right age/gender/upbringing – most of whom were very young and female – was about ten years ago.  Young women just out of college were getting huge offers for books that were what young women just out of college and with no life experience would write (and no, I’m not committing the error above.  This wave of what I call “red carpet acceptances” was targeted at young, just out of college and parroting the right “truths” – no life experience or rational thought wanted, or, in fact, accepted.) – very derivative, with a lot of sex and, in mystery, a lot of shoe and fashion shopping.  (I read Manolo shoe blogger, but look, there are limits to how much I care about shoes.)

Which brings us to now.  These young people, often very protected, were taken in and told they were the next best thing.  Not because of what they did, but because of what they WERE.  Success was their right and inevitable.  Like the poor kid who wrote the essay I linked, they were told they were so smart and brave and stuff for exactly parroting what they’d been taught.  And by and large – with a couple of exceptions – their stuff didn’t sell all that well, though they’ve won awards and been fetted and told how wonderfulglittery they are.

And even the ones who were successful are now shaky, because all they ever did was enter into traditional publishing and be massively supported and do fairly well within that framework.

I don’t even know if the smartest ones know all the breaks they got.  I doubt it.  First of all, because in publishing this stuff is all hidden and it’s hard to realize how much support you had, or even that other people didn’t get it.  (Unless you don’t get it, in which case you start wondering how the process broke down, then find out this is standard.)   Second because it’s human to take credit for our own success, no matter how helped.

So, you see, in their eyes, they think everyone else got this sort of magic carpet ride.

I think this may be a factor, but I think a more important one is the ideological element. As Tom Kratman and others have observed, leftist infiltrators always make a priority of bringing more of their own kind into an organization with the aim of taking it over. Talent and performance are tertiary at best, as both ideological correctness and “diversity” are deemed more important.

Add onto this the intense discomfort that the mediocre have when forced to compare themselves with their superiors and it is only a matter of time before an infiltrated organization is filled with soft, nasty, small-minded and petty mediocrities.

For illustrative purposes, compare John Campbell with Patrick Nielsen Hayden. Or contrast Louis L’Amour with John Scalzi. One doesn’t even need to read a single word, simply looking at pictures of the two individuals being compared is enough to tell you what sort of fiction they are going to publish and write.

The mediocrities brought in the clueless young women because they were the only sort of writers around whom they felt comfortable. Men writing masculine tales of technological competence and bravery? That not only made them feel uncomfortable and inferior, it wasn’t something to which they could even understand, let alone relate.