Is the “Best” always of interest?

I recently asked a young man I know well if he would be interested in going to see the “best” in the world perform, without knowing what area of endeavour I meant? The reply – “maybe”. What would you say if you were asked this question?

Would you go see the best tennis player in the world, even if you had no interest in tennis? Would you go to an Eminem concert even if you hated rap? I would, but I daresay many people would not. In all likelihood, the world splits into two groups, those that want to see tne best, no matter what, and the ‘maybes’.

There is no value judgement here, but it is interesting to ask why there is a difference. I believe it has to do with two reasons people go to a performance for: (a) the content of the performance, and (b) the pleasure in seeing an engaging performer. Admittedly, there are many team performances of outstanding quality, where no one single person can be singled out for greatness. These are lost on me. I would be happy however, to see an average performance, where the performer was thrillingly engaged. Without a doubt, these two aspects of a performance are highly correlated, and hence, it is not obvious that the distinction is always clearly made.

Therefore, asking the “best” question helps in finding out what kind of person someone is.


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