The Washington Post is calling attention to a number of significant items in our society that aren’t as popular as they used to be. They refer to these as “downgrades.” Victims of the downgrade include the Honda Civic and Gordon Ramsey’s New York restaurant “Maze.” Institutions of higher learning have slipped, as well: Bowdoin College in Maine now has only the second tastiest campus food in the country and the University of CA at Santa Cruz slipped to #2 in “Reefer Madness.” Among other downgrades are Kevin Bacon, although bacon, itself, is still as popular as it ever was. Julia Roberts, faith in public schools, banks, newspapers, Congress, big business, organized religion, the US Supreme Court and the presidency are other items that, like a belief that the world is flat, aren’t as highly rated as they used to be. Those of you over age 50 understand the meaning of “downgrade” as it pertains to various areas of your lives, such as gymnastics during sex and birth control.
In past years (meaning the dawn of time until about 20 years ago), people were famous for doing something, like being the mother of a messiah or discovering fire. You could walk around and point to someone and say “Hey, that’s that person who painted the Sistine Chapel!” or “Hey, that’s that person who makes bowls!” because everyone walking around actually did an actual thing.
Nowadays, there is an entire population of people who don’t do anything except be famous. They star in reality shows, are paid to attend gala events, and write books (or rather, hire someone to write the book for them) and have book signings in which a lot of people who actually do do something (like fix people’s plumbing or deliver pizza) stand in line for many hours to buy a signed copy of the book.
It would be great if we could have some kind of standard downgrade procedure in place that would assess famous people for what, if anything, they had actually done. If the answer was “nothing,” they would then be downgraded. Of course, they could be given a short period of time in which they could actually do something and thereby redeem themselves. If nothing happened, their downgrade would be permanent. This could ultimately affect a number of people in both Northern Jersey and Southern California, as well as people who are famous for producing babies in vast quantities and in multiples of six or more.
Suggestions for downgrade are welcome.