The Failure of Success

Jon Stewart’s departure from The Daily Show is a great example of the failure of success. When someone consistently does something very well, they feel that they have Done That Thing, and that life is too short to keep doing that same Done thing over and over again. So they move on to try new things, as they should.

Meanwhile, the rest of us suffer their loss because we liked them doing that thing, over and over and over and over and over again.

Remember, in school, how you would wear yourself out to ace that test or create a killer project, only to have the professor knock off points for something totally arbitrary? Then next time you’d try harder to see if that time you’d do better? That’s the kind of effort we want from our stars; we want them trying their darnedest, groveling for grades in the cluttered offices of our good graces.

Imagine what life would be like: J. D. Salinger might have given us more great novels. Seinfeld would still be making new episodes. Steve Martin would be doing standup instead of movies like Father of the Bride. Michael Jordan never would have tried baseball.

It’s time that we, as a society, accepted the responsibility of never letting people know that they’ve succeeded. We must be ever vigilant and continue to find fault with our heroes, and not let them see how much we appreciate them, so that we can all enjoy, forever, their futile attempts to win our admiration.

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