Wednesday, 9 March 2016

miss congeniality oder fingerhut

After witnessing the chaos of the caucus-race of the fauna of Wonderland that they undertook to dry off after a swim and was unsure what the outcome was supposed to be, Alice asked the Dodo, who proudly proclaimed, “Why, we are all winners.” Duly, Alice distributes prizes (tarts) to every one of the participants but at the end—to her further confusion and protestation—has no award left for herself, at which point the Dodo demands that she surrender her sole remaining possession, a thimble, to him.
With ceremony and decorum, the Dodo honours Alice with the thimble. This exchange has been adopted by psychological circles as the Dodo Prize or the Dodo Effect, and while it addresses the culture of entitlement and right to be sheltered from dissent, it does so in an indirect fashion that highlights not confidence, privilege or hubris but the peace-making mechanism of appeasement behind honorifics and superlatives. Individuals stir discontent when they feel their power is threatened but awards of grace and favour helps underlings feel appreciated (no matter how superficially symbolic and ubiquitous those honours are) and are fantastic mediators for keeping the king or committee dispensing awards legitimate and recognised. Despite the lack of intrinsic value (or perhaps because of it), for the recipient the prize is not cheapened and assiduous minions ensure that everyone is honoured in their own way—and in case, we run out of consolations—like Epimetheus and running short on Areté for Man after visiting all the beast with gifts, it’s part of human nature to invent one’s own pageants and trophies. Whether this generous mollification helped to create the antithetical everyone-is-a-winner morale is something I think that bears more study. Was there always such a culture inside the aristocracy and at its edges that’s taken all this time to democratise? Is that accolade a deserved one too?