- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Oxford Forum (4 July 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0953677265
- ISBN-13: 978-0953677269
- Product Dimensions: 15 x 2.3 x 21.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 381,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Mediocracy: Inversions and Deceptions in an Egalitarian Culture Hardcover – 4 Jul 2006
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'Mediocracy' will not be popular with cultural bureaucrats. Tassanos entries are well written, to the point and often amusing. -- Professor Anthony OHear, University of Buckingham
Amusing and acute, and a marvellous counterblast against the psychobabble that emanates from the pseudo-intellectuals who infest British academia. -- Frederick Forsyth
Tassano expertly skewers politically correct pomposity and looks beyond the bland surface to the rough reality beneath. -- Dr. Madsen Pirie, President, Adam Smith Institute
Tassanos book is a remarkable indictment of our failure to protect standards. Upsetting to read, and undoubtedly right. -- Alexander Deane, author of The Great Abdication
From the Inside Flap
Subversion as counter-culture is inspiring,
'subversion' as dogma is obnoxious.
Why does it seem that some areas of culture are dumbing down while others are increasingly incomprehensible? Fabian Tassano argues that both things are symptoms of 'mediocracy', a new model of society in which content is sacrificed in favour of appearance and ideological correctness.
A mediocratic society
- generates a bogus high culture in which trained technicians produce material comprehensible only to other technicians;
- pontificates about compassion, while promoting a popular culture that treats pain and humiliation as entertainment;
- appears to espouse individual choice, but is characterised by creeping authoritarianism.
Top Customer Reviews
The cumulative effect of all these quotations is rather weird; I found myself seeing (or rather hearing) mediocracy all over the place, particularly when listening to BBC radio 4.
One of the contributions of the book is to suggest an explanation for the paradox that modern mediocratic culture is demotic and anti-elitist at one moment, and mind-numbingly obscurantist at others. Tassano suggests that fields like economics, of which he evidently has personal experience, adopt impenetrable jargon in order to keep out the sort of enquiring minds that might question the mediocratic status quo.
Tassano seems to have been inspired by the radical scepticism of the British philosopher and thinker Celia Green, whose influence he acknowledges at the end of the book. His book is in a sense a development of Green's thesis that society is fundamentally motivated by a hatred of the exceptional individual.
Altogether an uncomfortable and disturbing book, for all its surface humour.
On the whole the book is very very short indeed with gentle humor and easy writing. This is a good thing. The very intelligent often write very simply and important truths are often quite simple. This isn't that latest 700 word tract of inane rhetoric from Slavoj Zizek.
Oddly, the books light tone is abruptly ended by an apocalyptic quote from '1984' ( 'In the end thought crime will be impossible' ). It's so abrupt it's almost inappropriate. But then again, Oxford Forum, the publisher of this book is lead by the controversial academic Celia Green. Her influence pervades 'Mediocracy' and most 'normal' (mediocre) academics prefer to treat her with the 'Totschweigetaktik'.
Though I feel I must add my own apocalyptic statement - Celia Green is one of the few people left with anything controversial to say.
What I think distinguishes this book is Tassano's global approach and his terseness of expression. The short satirical commentaries on themes such as education, art, celebrity, high culture, narrative etc. are accompanied by brilliantly chosen quotations, which deftly expose the social manipulation and paranoia of an ailing society.
The book is meticulously referenced and comes with an introductory fable which outlines the history of modern culture.
Mediocracy is a wake-up call for all producers and consumers of culture alike. I'm sure it's impact will be huge.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Fabian Tassano is a satirist in the Swiftian bent; his book begins with a tale about a land called “Telluria” descending into leftist degeneracy and failure. “Mediocracy” is Tassano’s term for the social and economic environment fostered by leftism, in which the individual is subsumed into the collective and everything is dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. To this end, Mediocracy offers up nearly 200 pages worth of satirical definitions, related in Tassano’s clinically comical prose. Each segment is about a page long, consisting of the mediocratic definition of a word contrasted with its real definition, along with quotes from real-world personalities like Bono and Tony Blair to back up Tassano’s explanations.
Mediocracy covers the gamut from “sex” to “tolerance” to “diversity” to “depression” and more, not only explaining how leftist language manipulation distorts reality, but showing the twisted logic that connects all of these points. Tassano shows that the obscurantism of the left is a feature, not a bug; only by mutilating concepts such as “society” and “culture” can the left survive and thrive in our world. Indeed, he closes the book out with a quote from Orwell’s 1984 concerning Newspeak and thoughtcrime. I don’t know if Tassano considers himself a reactionary, but his book makes a fine addition to the neoreaction reading list.
My problems with Mediocracy are two. One, Tassano doesn’t go into quite enough detail to fully flesh out the logic of mediocracy, instead counting on the reader to fill in the blanks. While this is fine for those of us immersed in reactionary thought, Mediocracy is a bad book for beginners as it will leave them scratching their heads. Two, a number of the definitions, such as “sacking,” seem like filler and probably could have been cut out.
Aside from these points though, Mediocracy is an amusing and illuminating book explaining just how leftists distort reality and confuse us all.