Who would rather not be ordinary?
September 21, 2007 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Where did I hear it? I'm thinking of a quote that goes along the lines of "I'd rather die then be ordinary" or maybe "Her greatest fear was the she would be unremarkable". Was it a book, a movie, a song? I'm sure there are more than a few origins for these, can you help me out?
posted by fiTs to Grab Bag (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would have guessed Dorothea Brooke in Middlemarch, but I search Google's online text and couldn't find anything.
posted by alms at 11:00 AM on September 21, 2007

I seem to recall Mena Suvari's character saying something to that effect in "American Beauty". Dunno if that's what you're thinking of, though.
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 11:07 AM on September 21, 2007

I'm sure it's come up in a lot of forms (hurf durf Wilde attributer and all that), but the recent popular vector that comes to mind is the film American Beauty:

Angela Hayes: "I don't think that there's anything worse than being ordinary."
posted by cortex at 11:08 AM on September 21, 2007

american beauty jumped to mind.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:08 AM on September 21, 2007

on preview: DAMN!
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:09 AM on September 21, 2007

Yeah, I came in here to say American Beauty too.
posted by vytae at 11:29 AM on September 21, 2007

I am special, I am special! Please, God, please, don't let me be normal!" -- The Fantasticks
posted by grumblebee at 11:32 AM on September 21, 2007

Gideon, I've got real insight into you . . . There's a deep rooted fear of being conventional . . . and what's underneath is this dreadful fear that you're ordinary, not special. . .

-- All That Jazz
posted by grumblebee at 11:33 AM on September 21, 2007

"Her greatest fear was the she would be unremarkable"

I've seen this on greeting/post cards.
posted by bobot at 11:35 AM on September 21, 2007

Yes, of course. I was thinking of American Beauty. But if there's more, please bring 'em on!

I love you guys.
posted by fiTs at 11:36 AM on September 21, 2007

I think this song in Spanish, that won the 2004 Junior Eurovision Song contest, means something along those lines (I think It's "I'd rather die than be ordinary", with ordinary meaning less-than-beautiful). But my Spanish is lousy. Can anyone confirm?

Antes Muerta Que Sencilla
posted by ManInSuit at 11:38 AM on September 21, 2007

A few of movies that deal with this fear (without actually stating it literally):

"Interiors" (in a serious way) and "Bullets Over Broadway" (in a humorous way) -- Woody Allen

"The Squid and The Whale"
posted by grumblebee at 11:42 AM on September 21, 2007

I don't think quite that phrasing was used, but that thought is the modus operandi for the lead character in Susan Glaspell's play The Verge.
posted by Pufferish at 11:51 AM on September 21, 2007

Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy and the memoir of Ann Patchett's friendship with Lucy Grealy, Truth and Beauty might interest you. The fear of not being special or loved dominated Lucy Grealy's thoughts.
posted by LoriFLA at 12:01 PM on September 21, 2007

The musical Evita has a song when she is dying that suggests the theme:

The choice was mine and mine completely
I could have any prize that I desired
I could burn with the splendor of the brightest fire
Or else--or else I could choose time
Remember I was very young then
And a year was forever and a day
So what use could fifty, sixty, seventy be?
I saw the lights and I was on my way

And how I lived! How they shone!
But how soon the lights were gone!
posted by happyturtle at 1:13 PM on September 21, 2007

Mame (to Gooch): Live! Life's a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!
posted by rob511 at 3:05 PM on September 21, 2007

Isn't the "remarkable" one similar to a quote from Marilyn Monroe? Not the "I just want to be wonderful" one, but one using "remarkable"? I'm googling now but my google-fu may fail.
posted by damnjezebel at 3:25 PM on September 21, 2007

Here's another one along the same lines, albeit from a different perspective. From the movie "Code 46":

Maria: You have a kid?
William: Yeah?
Maria: Chico or chica?
William: Chico.
Maria: I bet he's special.
William: He *is* special.
Maria: Everybody's children are so special. It makes you wonder where all the ordinary grown-ups come from.

posted by shannonm at 4:47 PM on September 21, 2007

Opening line to Smashing Pumpkins "Muzzle"
I fear that I'm ordinary, just like everyone
posted by edverb at 5:51 PM on September 21, 2007

Definitely a recurring theme in Pippin as well
posted by Julnyes at 7:40 PM on September 21, 2007

Completely the opposite is the poem Born Yesterday by Philip Larkin.

I used to dislike that poem, but the older I get, the more attractive it seems to fade away than to burn out...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:37 AM on September 22, 2007

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