The Perception of Excellence

Today’s Guest Poster is Jaycee, with another acerbic take on politics and meeja Oz-style in these strange times. To explain the lead picture (not, unfortunately, one of Jaycee’s OH) – Jaycee’s OH shows Hanoverian horses, with Jaycee as strapper, stable lad, and Mellors (his words, not mine …).

Perceptive Pubsters will be aware that Jaycee posted this as a comment earlier today. I thought it excellent, and asked permission to republish as a thread-starter. Jaycee kindly agreed, so – once again – many thanks, Jaycee, for another thought-provoking piece.

(Image Credit: Equestrian Life)

Something interesting came to my attention over the weekend. I was assisting my partner at an equestrian event where she competed in several classes with her two horses. She is a good rider, and I have been her strapper and video recorder for around a dozen years…so both she and, even more so, I have been able to assess the standard of rider opposition and judging levels over those years.

Of course, as everybody who rides horses knows, it can all come down to “the horse on the day”, but there are consistencies and they are the judging criteria that make or break the ride. These criteria are the ones handed down from eons ago using a set of standards of excellence for each level of competition. These standards evolved from centuries of cavalry manoeuvres required to keep a squadron of horses manageable in a battle situation. I hardly need tell you what sort of discipline THAT would require! Of course, such “hard core” training has been eased somewhat to accommodate the use of sporting horses in a social day out.

But … a strange realisation came to me this past weekend. My partner had competed in two events at the same competency level, with the same horse, same competitors, and with me observing. As I have said , I’ve been watching these competitions for around a dozen years and am not deluded enough to “gild the lily” on my partner’s behalf, so I was surprised when she came in second-last in one event and second place in the other! – with little discernible difference in performance in both rides, but with two different judges.

If you Google “Methods of training for horse riding”, you will come up with a plethora of individual styles, from “Rough-riding” to ‘Touch-therapy’ for horses. I won’t go into it – for my real purpose in this missive is to discuss ‘Perceptions vs. Standards of excellence”. Sufficient to say that, along with the creeping in of many and various breeds of horses, some quite unsuitable for the competitions they are entered into, along with the many and varied styles of training and riding of competition horses, has come softly, slowly , with a generational change, the “sympathetic” assessment of horsemanship down from a set standard of excellence to more of a perception of excellence. So, while both the horse and rider may be exhibiting those moments of in-the-frame composition, both have not been brought there by setting the solid / correct foundations to create that frame, but have been confected to behave as if has been trained thoroughly in horsemanship skills

This confected perception of excellence has permeated through many branches and skills of our society, from excellence in manufacture, to science and medicine, to management, to politics. It has damaged our society and left it vulnerable to persuasive propaganda that shifts opinions and sways decisions on little more than false-reality instant gratification.

(Image Credit: Modern Analyst)

Self-esteem is everything in our society … no-one is a loser. Sure, there are many ways of skinning a cat, but in some things, near enough is NOT good enough, and you can’t get away with “fake it till you make it”. In my trade, building, structure is everything, and it is too late and too dangerous to get wisdom in hindsight. There are standards of excellence. In lens-polishing, for instance, a milli-point or two from perfect would be disastrous. As in any demanding profession, there ARE set standards of excellence that MUST be adhered to for success to be achieved. We cannot let these slip, yet that is exactly what has happened in our politics, in our parliament – and the judges of those standards have foolishly let themselves be persuaded that it was THEY who had “got it right” when they allowed the outrageous destruction of House Procedures to slide into the mire of LNP corruption that is the present government.

Like those sympathies that have corrupted the set standards of excellence in many skills, the MSM Press Gallery journalists were spoon-fed, in small increments over a long period of time, the perception that Labor were incompetent, even though they had moved swiftly to alleviate the hardships of the GFC,

(Image Credit: Peter Martin)

not to mention the collapse of Storm Financial Limited, moved on climate change legislation, tried to apply regional refugee solutions. Then there was the NDIS,

(Image Credit: Alex Ellinghausen)

the NBN,

and all the rest.

But somehow, all the press-gallery could see was “leadership, leadership, leadership” … Why? Because the moguls who owned them told them so, the LNP press releases told them nothing more, their own egos sought to be the “first with the latest” … In short, they reported Labor as a lost cause because of a mistake with their perception of excellence, and reported the Abbott opposition as the best thing since sliced bread, in spite of his many quite glaring and ghastly failings. Because of their failure to report with the standard of excellence – once the cornerstone of their job-skill – their stupidity and gullibility is now written in Australian history.

This dangerous twisting awry of what is required to make an action standard best practice to accepting an action as perceived best practice has leeched into the electorate and allowed the lie of the “motherhood” statement to be accepted as a near-enough perception of done-deed. Thus, the LNP’s “200 policies costed and ready to go” and “We will bring the ‘out-of-control’ budget back in the black by 2016″…were embraced as actual policy. promised and delivered …

Or should I say, Perceived as delivered?

The electorate, by allowing its self-esteem to be stroked and massaged in this way, has given away democracy for the price of a couple of magic beans. Someone is going to have to tell them that fairy-tales do not come true: magic does not happen, God does not save little children from drowning, and economic rationalism is not going to deliver a better standard of living …

But with this whole-hearted and utterly deluded embracing of a perception of excellence, it is going to be a bloody difficult job!

(Image Credit: Grabzon)

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879 thoughts on “The Perception of Excellence

  1. Can I get in super early for the raffle please? Any three, just as I am in WA I am always late – so thought I would reverse the trend today. Thanks!

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