I’m the Best.

I’m tired of the phrases “award-winning” and “best-selling.” Tired because they signal puffery and bullshit over skill and achievement. Which is odd since they were born meaning the opposite.

I don’t mean award-winning as in the Nobel Prize, though a friend once peevishly noted: “They’re giving them out every year now, right?” I also don’t mean best-selling as in J.K. Rowling or James Patterson whose books sell in the millions.

I mean people and companies whose awards include “Best self-judged claim of excellence in [insert your category here]”, and writers who self-publish a book, then claim it’s a best-seller because no one can contradict them. Do you know how many books it takes to be a best-seller? Me neither.

In fact, things are so opaque on these two fronts that there are now services that will ensure your organization wins a prize of some kind for something, and that ensures your book will be a best-seller.

Awardify Now is a US company that thrives on the truth that we’ll do business with people we trust, even though we don’t know them. If you win an award, presumably you’re good at what you do. Awardify Now turns this painfully obvious knowledge into a racket whose relationship to trust is what professional wrestling is to sports. We know it’s fake. Hulk Hogan knows it’s fake, and he knows that you know too. No matter. Both of you carry on – and make money – secure in this delusion. Business and reputations thrive in the dark hole between unspoken truth and smarmy reality.

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