The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 50.0°F | Rain Fog/Mist
This figure plots innate talent versus achieved success and is a standard metric of whether one’s life surpasses or falls below its expectations. Of particular interest are: (1) The Starlet Triangle: Due to their fleeting fame and general lack of better judgment, all Hollywood starlets fall within a triangle bounded by Paris Hilton, Hillary Duff, and Lindsay Lohan. (2) The Steve meridian: Humanity has been blessed by the preponderance of extremely talented people named Steve. However, not all of them have lived up to their expectations e.g. Wozniak (whatever happened to that guy), Young (too many concussions), and Hawking (was wrong that one time which is inexcusable for someone of his talent). As usual Steve McQueen represents both the epitome of talent and success. (3) The Rat Pack Cluster: All members of the Rat Pack exist within this cluster of effortless cool bounded by Frank Sinatra and Joey Bishop. (4) The Cruise Trajectory. Tom Cruise is perhaps the only individual to have pe
Article Tools

It’s around this time of year that American Idol starts to really bug me. Now it’s not ‘cause of the contestants, Simon, or Paula’s every slipping grip on reality, it’s mainly Seacrest. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against Ryan Seacrest. I think he’s an affable guy and an all-right TV host. It’s simply the idea of Seacrest that bothers me.

See, no one believes me when I say this, but Ryan Seacrest may be one of the most successful individuals of our generation. Seriously. The guy rakes in more than 14 million dollars a year, has an eight figure television deal, is the heir apparent to Dick Clark, and has a media empire worth millions upon millions. You don’t even know it, but Seacrest is everywhere. He has a stranglehold on popular radio, owns a collection of LA hotspots, produces tons of television specials, and even has his own fashion label. That’s right. Ryan Seacrest will even make you a dress shirt.

Why is this troubling to me? Well, success is one thing for exceptionally talented individuals, but it’s an aberration when it comes to someone like Seacrest. Does Seacrest strike you as someone who’s extremely intelligent, talented, attractive, athletic, tall, well read, cultured, etc … ? No, no, no, no, no, and more noes.

In fact, a cursory examination of the accompanying figure confirms that Ryan Seacrest may have one of the highest success/talent ratios ever measured.

I’ve been scratching my head over this for many years now, and only recently have I been able to elaborate my Theory of Seacrest in words.

To wit, the Theory of Seacrest states that first, no man in all of recorded history has achieved more with less talent than Ryan Seacrest, and second, Seacrest’s success is a direct result of his alarming lack of talent.

Seacrest is an anomaly in that his success depends on him being quite possibly the least threatening individual of all time. The following thought experiment proves this notion beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Ask yourself this: If you put 10 random people in a room with Seacrest and then asked yourself the question, “whom would I pick as my adversary in a _________ competition?”

Congratulations, the answer is always Seacrest. I don’t care if the competition is fisticuffs, chess, mountain climbing, extemporaneous writing, or flower arranging, I want to go up against Seacrest. He’s like the perennial B-team captain. He’s the pinnacle of mediocrity. Jack of all trades, master of none.

And yet I propose this is precisely why he has attained such great success.

Most exceptional people walk around with targets on their backs. Superlative skill breeds contempt and elicits adversaries. As such, exceptional people must always fight past their detractors in order to succeed.

This is where the power of Seacrest finds its advantage. He has molded himself into the most non-confrontational, non-controversial, and non-threatening individual of all time. He exists as nothing more than a vaguely pleasant impression that’s impossible to pin down and impossible to get worked up about. And accordingly, Seacrest has no target on his back, because why would anybody bother? Thus, he has managed to keep moving onward and upward, slipping through the cracks unnoticed.

There is, however, a countervailing hypothesis stating that no man in all of history is more grossly underestimated than Ryan Seacrest. It’s entirely possible that this could be true. It could be that the Seacrest we know is all a façade, and that the real Seacrest is a formidable genius. After all, Seacrest did eradicate that other guy who used to host American Idol. And by eradicate, I mean that Seacrest has actually managed to erase that guy’s existence from our collective memories. Seriously, I can’t think of a single person who can still remember that guy’s name.

However, this is a reality I refuse to accept. I just can’t wrap my mind around the idea that Seacrest might be an evil genius masquerading as a fool. I can’t even stomach the idea of him being that conniving, ruthless, and intelligent. I can’t give Seacrest that much credit. I just can’t paint a target on his diminutive figure and even exert the effort to want to take him down, because who can honestly get that worked up about Seacrest? Seacrest has everything because he exudes the perception of nothingness. Therein lies his true power.

Seacrest Out.