Steve Chapman: In Praise of Mediocrity

Where Brian Williams went wrong


Brian Williams
Wikimedia Commons

Brian Williams was more than adequate at the only things required of him: looking good in a suit and reading the news without belching. Plenty of local anchors have enjoyed decades of minor celebrity and outsized pay with these capabilities alone. Williams had achieved national celebrity.

But he was not content with being the star of the No. 1-rated TV newscast in America, or with someday retiring as a legend in the category of Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley. No, he had to break out of the sober-sided anchorman persona in hopes of becoming a rock star.

This is where a due respect for mediocrity would have come in handy. It's nice to be excellent, superb or Greatest of All Time. But some people—most people—can give everything they have in developing every talent to the fullest and find the results are not the least bit special.

There's no disgrace in accepting your limits. Rejecting them is what gets you in trouble. That's why we call them limits, writes Steve Chapman.