Friday, May 10, 2013

The Tall Poppy Syndrome

There's a potentially morale-corroding impulse that absorbs some people: the tendency to denigrate and wish ill of people who have had real accomplishments or who happen to be in the public eye for valid or otherwise reasons.  This is the Tall Poppy Syndrome. 
It's a product of envy; and it is often accompanied by schadenfreude when the tall poppy finally gets his comeuppance.  This seems to be what drives magazines that specialize in the dating and marital woes of prominent persons.  And often times a heavy dose of fiction is applied in these recounts.
According to various accounts, including the lazy girl's information source: Wikipedia, this is a broad cultural trend in Australia.  It may be positively linked to a preference for the underdog, or negatively by resentment of people with accomplishments. 
Obviously, politicians are often a target for this.  And, depending on the slant of the media source, they may subject to this social undercutting.
What are the costs of cutting down tall poppies?  Well, if this kind of atmosphere is chronically present, it may discourage the shy, the somewhat motivated, and the neophyte from continually trying.  Or they may emphasize their goal-directed activities primarily in the private sphere.   Do we want to live in a society in which only the incredibly thick-skinned and histrionic people jockey for prominence?  Think Lady Gaga, Dr. Phil, and Donald Trump.  These would be the tall poppies with steel stems!
I will be on a trip for a little over a week; so I will not be posting in the meantime.  I hope you have happy days, and look forward to reading your blogs when I return.


Duckbutt said...

Have a great trip!

TexWisGirl said...

i like that phrase 'tall poppy syndrome'.

have a great trip!

Anemone said...

It's sad that people are like that.

Have a great trip!

Mike said...

Politicians are tall poppies with megaphones and fireworks.

What time do I need to pick you up at the airport?

Atomic Dog said...

I like the concept 'tall poppy syndrome.'

Clarissa said...

As sad as it seems, apparently this resentment of the successful and the enjoyment of their eventual failures is a fact. It's the old green-eyed monster. Why do Australians go in for it so much?

Angel, have a great trip!

Bilbo said...

Have a great trip! If you miss Mike at the airport, call me.