See? I tried and it does. The philosophers thought perfection was to be found in the golden mean, the balance between extremes. It plays well in philosophy, but not so well in the media. Perhaps it is inherent in our systems of communication. Perhaps it is due to our intrinsic desire to be known and notable in a crowded world. Perhaps it is simply a fad and will soon mercifully pass.
But moderation does not tend to go viral. Headlines are all about outliers--and not outliers because of greatness, which requires more than fifteen seconds to demonstrate. No, it's how to follow an impossible dietary and exercise scheme that will unlock the fountain of youth, or how someone built a house out of toothpicks, or avoids generating any trash or spending any money, or put a dozen children through college by the age of twelve. Or how something is the most important, best, worst, most shocking thing you will ever see, even though you saw two dozen things just like it yesterday and will see two dozen more tomorrow.
There is not much interest to be generated by such topics as, "How I remained only moderately stout and reasonably healthy on a normal diet, somewhat light on the doughnuts," or "I have paid most of my bills on time so far and only use the small weekly garbage can," or "This family raised three children to be fairly productive adults who moved out before they were 25."
Maybe it seems too easy to confuse mediocrity and moderation. The difference is that living well is not an achievement on which people can be ranked. You can be the best in your field, but you can't be the best at being alive. (Though if you *are* the best in the field, chances are it cost you more than most people are willing to pay, with good reason.)
Even goodness and wisdom can be overpursued, according to Ecclesiastes. And I suspect the point at which they become too much is the point at which they stop being a place of balance and harmony and start being a point of comparison--when you are no longer content to be good and wise, but become obsessed with being the best and the wisest. There is a shortcut there straight into wickedness and folly.
Admittedly, tales of extremes are entertaining and they may be relatively harmless as long as we keep our footing and remember that happiness is not found as the most, best, least, or furthest of anything. And maybe someday it will be easier to accept that and we will see links that say, "Cute video with a totally predictable but still heartwarming ending!"