My daughter asked me the other day what is “ultra medium”? It reminded me of a recent episode of Radiolab where they discussed the body type of the normal American. Determining what was normal or, rather, ideal was a feature of the eugenics movements of the 1930s and 1940s. One representative of normalcy was the statue set of “Normman and Norma” — finished in 1943 by an artist name Abram Belskie and an obstetrician-named Robert Latou Dickinson.
The statues were displayed in a Cleveland eugenics museum and were even the basis for a contest for to find the most normal woman run by the museum. There actually was a winner and her winning the contest was the least notmal thing about her life.
Check out the Radiolab episode here:
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Seth Godin when discussing the history of public education brings up that the original schools were called “The Normal School” to normalize kids for factory jobs — making them compliant.
Normalcy is like chasing a shadow. You can never really touch it.
When running a startup, I’d often fantasize about having a “normal” 9–5 job. Normal was an escape from any issues I faced in the day. However, every individual and even the most seemingly normal existence is like a fractal. As you get closer to it, the details emerge and become more complex. As you look further down the decimal line, you see more randomness.
As you look extremely close, even normal seems extremist.