America is a land fascinated with the ‘different’. The bizarre. The odd. The unusual. That’s why people in America are well known or ‘famous’.
It wasn’t always that way. It used to matter what one knew but those days have passed. Today if you wish to be ‘famous’ or ‘high profile’ you have to be ‘different’.
Doubt it? Look around.
- Neil de Grasse Tyson is not famous because he’s smarter, or more articulate, or wiser than other physicists, he’s famous because he’s different. In a field of white males, he’s black.
- Nadia Bolz-Weber isn’t a better (or even a good) theologian than a lot of very good Lutheran theologians, but she’s famous because she’s festooned with tattoos and holds unorthodox ideas. She’s different.
- Rob Bell isn’t a better writer than a drunk college frat boy. He’s not particularly smart and listening to him speak is an exercise in annoyance. But he’s famous because he’s a universalist in a sea of evangelicals who aren’t. He’s different.
- Donald Trump isn’t President because he’s smart, or wise, or humane, or even decent. He’s different. His skin is orange and his hair is weird and his voice is weird and the way he says China is weird. He’s different. He’s President because he’s different.
- British scholars aren’t brighter than Germans or Italians or Canadians or any other nationality but Americans love the British accent more than any other so if a Brit speaks at any affair, Americans will swoon. Because they’re different.
The stranger you are, the more Americans will flock to you. Because Americans love the freak show. They always have. They always will.
So give up the notion that success in America, in any field of endeavor at all, will allow you to be noteworthy, unless you’re odd. Oddity is fame and importance. And if you’re famous because you’re odd (and you are famous because you are different), then pride should be the last thing in your heart. It isn’t your accomplishments which mark you out, it’s your weirdness, your difference. That’s it. That’s all.