Sunday, January 23, 2011

Freaky and Flaky and Spacey

I wonder if maybe the whole process of individuation isn't so much more difficult now than when I was trying to "find myself." 

All the black-clad, hyper sexual, vampirish, cupcaking baking polymaths out there are texting, posting, blogging, publishing, so that every black-clad, hyper sexual cupcake baking polymath can publicize her uniqueness across multiple media.  The Unique are legion, legion, legion. 

When I was doing my black Victorian mourning-dress lesbian beach-waltzing blackberry jam-making law school  schtick, I really was the only one I knew.  Even in Portland.  But I don't kid myself that there weren't others who were driving down many of the same roads, even if none of them ended up with me at the U-Catch-Em Trout Farm.  Or following the Red Ridge Runner with me off the mountain after post holing through the mossy faux floor of the old growth forest.  I just didn't know about the others like me because in those days were were isolated and technologically mute.

Whatever will today's children do to differentiate themselves from their parents' generation?  I mean, just consider Burning Man.  Lots and lots of unique...  Right out there in in the open.

It occurs to me that being unique isn't really the point any more, perhaps?  Maybe what is wanted is a flotilla of zombies, a cadre of vampires, a flock of footballers or just to be special to some one who matters, after all.  Maybe I don't get it.  Maybe I never did.   Maybe the tribe's the thing.  And who says different is that good?  Camouflage evolved for good reason.  This donning of splendid plumage by those of a certain age or life-stage reflects an evolutionary development, too.  Like a red-assed ape or booming prairie chicken.

Maybe the counter culture trend I'm missing is the birth of community values in the US.  We have always prided ourselves on being rugged individualists, and link human rights with individual rights.  Another world views value well-being at the communal level.   Nothing could be more threatening and rebellious in this country than that.  Spittle-flecked epithets of "Socialist" were hurled with Thor-like force in the last presidential election.  The same critique is leveled at attempts to extend medical services in as equitable a fashion to all.  The critics fall back on the notion that each individual should be responsible only for herself and any one else she chooses to support.  They want to roll back any social contract that suggests otherwise. They won't succeed.  The writing is on the wall.  United we stand, baby.  Each freaky zombie one of us.

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