Feature

Popularity isn’t the same as quality

McDonald’s may have served “billions and billions,” but that doesn’t mean that “Big Macs are the best food available,” said Gregory Rodriguez in the Los Angeles Times.

Gregory RodriguezLos Angeles Times

“Let the people decide.” It’s the guiding principle of the wildly popular TV show American Idol, said Gregory Rodriguez, with viewers deciding which contestant is the most talented and thus most deserving of our idolatry. It’s harmless enough, except that our entire culture is now undergoing an “American Idolization,” in which merit is determined by popular vote.

The White House, for example, recently held a contest in which a Michigan high school was chosen for a visit and a commencement speech by President Obama. A group of six finalists submitted videos and essays, and the public was asked to view and read the entries and vote on which school was the most deserving. A similar contest was held last year in Washington state, in which 44 high schoolers looking for scholarship money posted videos of themselves performing, so that the public could vote.

Whatever happened to objective standards of merit and quality? Popularity doesn’t necessarily indicate quality. McDonald’s may have served “billions and billions,” but that doesn’t mean that “Big Macs are the best food available.”

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