Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On greatness

Wikipedia sez: "Greatness or pre-eminence is a concept heavily dependent on a person's perspective and biases. The term can be used to emphasise perceived superiority of a person or thing." Much more concise than Orr, eh?

I'd say Ian Dury nailed the concept in his landmark works, "There Ain't Half Been Some Clever Bastards" and "Reasons to be Cheerful, Pt. 3." But if that don't suit ya....

Here are some great things, according to the great Wiki:
Need a theory?Do you have to be great to be... great? Leonardo da Vinci, though he was a great man if ever there were one, rarely completed any of the great projects that he sketched in his notebooks!

Need a great quote?
  • Greatness, in spite of its name, appears not to be so much a certain size as a certain quality in human lives. It may be present in lives whose range is very small.

2 comments:

Zachariah Wells said...

This topic is beginning to grate on me.

Brian Palmu said...

Uh ... most of those wiki Greatest Hits would have the Orr quotation marks crowding them, as well, as evidenced even by wiki's minimal elaboration. As to the Brooks' quote, that ramrod rectitude Rev. said "life before lit" (which I agree with, but it, then, can't be compared with the distinctions Orr makes.)

I remember taking a course in Uni history in which a prof spontaneously stopped the name-and-date spiel, and said, "you know, everyone these days goes on and on about the latest great movie or great guy or gal they just met. Well, the word's been cheapened. Now Alexander, he was great." But, then, siding with that sentiment just makes me a snooty objectifier, too. (Where's my great tweed-pipe-slippers combo?)