High five!

Interesting essay about Awesomeness as a cultural phenomenon over at aeon.co.

It wanders quite far but I found two sections in particular interesting.

On politicians:

Political leaders are often called out as ‘sucky’ – a fact that the US comedian George Carlin noted in his book Napalm and Silly Putty as early as 2001:

Everybody says [politicians] suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain’t going to do any good; you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here… like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There’s a nice campaign slogan for somebody: ‘The Public Sucks. Fuck Hope.’

On high fives:

The person widely credited with inventing the high-five is Glenn Burke (1952-1995) – an African-American baseball player and gay trailblazer. [The high five was invented on 2 October 1977 at Dodger Stadium.]

Why, in the entire history of human life, should awesomeness be such a prominent concern now? If the question doesn’t grip you, consider the astonishing fact suggested by the story of Glenn Burke above: it took our species, Homo sapiens, until the 1970s to invent the high-five. I find that almost unbelievable. Thousands of years, nearly the entire history of human interaction, of human strife and struggle – a history of hardship and celebration, love and friendship, family and community, serious challenge and soaring triumph – and no high-fives. Vigorous handshakes? Of course. Parades? Glorious ones. Pats on the back? Time and again. Hugs and kisses? So many. But no high-fives.