"Only the x-iest is x"
February 9, 2016 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Can you offer some names for this line of discursive reasoning that goes "only the strongest is strong at all" or "only the most pretty people are pretty." So far I can think of two: No True Scottsman and the various ways of saying "might makes right" but I have a tip of the tongue feeling there are a lot of these.
posted by Taft to Grab Bag (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
If you're not first you're last!
posted by Night_owl at 11:02 AM on February 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


"Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good"
posted by dono at 11:03 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member. -Groucho Marx
posted by fairmettle at 11:04 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear war" (also referred to by "horseshoes and hand grenades")


"No prize for second place"


Also: perfectionism
posted by amtho at 11:05 AM on February 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


“What does not kill me makes me stronger.” (Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols)
posted by mbrubeck at 11:09 AM on February 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


(I guess that’s a special case of the concept, rather than a name for it in general. I wasn’t quite sure exactly what you’re looking for.)
posted by mbrubeck at 11:13 AM on February 9, 2016


Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing.
posted by pintapicasso at 11:16 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


This also reminds me of Loki's wager.
posted by pintapicasso at 11:22 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Do, or do not. There is no try.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:28 AM on February 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Response by poster: Survival of the fittest?
posted by Taft at 11:29 AM on February 9, 2016


"If everyone's special, no one is."

Stack ranking is a variation of this put into practice.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:30 AM on February 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Taft: you're the one deciding what fits and what doesn't, right? What prompted your question?
posted by amtho at 11:34 AM on February 9, 2016


Oh, you're asking for names for the thing. Broadly speaking, it's a dichotomy. A+B=∞, A≠B.

The one drop rule would be another example.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:40 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear war"
And slow dancing.

"If you are ten minutes early, you are five minutes late."
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 11:41 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just on a hunch, I googled Principle of Uniqueness, and got several interesting suggestions. I especially like one here -http://negotiationexpertise.com/reni-blog/uniqueness-persuasion - suggesting the in negotiations one stress the unique properties of what you are selling.
posted by SemiSalt at 11:42 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


“Winner takes all.”
posted by mbrubeck at 11:49 AM on February 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


I would describe this pattern as the cognitive error of black and white thinking. Like there is no room for a gradation of pretty, strong, etc - there are only 2 categories, the (blank) and the not (blank).
posted by bleep at 12:05 PM on February 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


As far as general terms, how about "perfectionism", or a phrase like "all or nothing thinking"?
posted by Adrian57 at 12:23 PM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is this mainly about elitism/power in human beings?
posted by amtho at 12:36 PM on February 9, 2016


Not sure where I heard this, but I think it was Gore Vidal. I am paraphrasing: "It's not enough to win, the other guy has to lose."
posted by deathpanels at 12:39 PM on February 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Summit or plummet.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:39 PM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: Oh, zero-sum!
posted by Taft at 1:02 PM on February 9, 2016


Response by poster: amtho why I asked is because I love finding similarities between different ideas. I see what you mean with the power and control thing, maybe it has to do with the structure "x-est of x is the true/valued x" being a dominance hierarchy?
posted by Taft at 3:05 PM on February 9, 2016


You're never almost pregnant.
posted by a halcyon day at 5:00 PM on February 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


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