Cynical And Southern: “Radical” People Can Be So Damn Generic
There are only three things in life I am certain of:
1) Matt and Kim are the most annoying band to ever exist. Period.
2) “Born This Way” is the most overhyped turd of an album to ever be released. Exclamation point.
3) I despise the word “radical.” No question.
When I visited New York last year I read an article in a zine from a girl who prefaced her name with about seven adjectives. She was a “radical feminist punk vegan queer blah blah motherfucking blah” writer. And as I perused her article one side of me “aww-ed” at the cute idealism of pre-packaged youth, while the other side guffawed at the explicit self-stereotyping going on. Who exactly was this girl underneath all the niches she’d subscribed to?
I counted twenty times in her piece that she declared she was radical.
Patches on a dirty jacket? Check.
Piercings? Double check.
Homogenized “rebellion” against society? You bethcha.
I sadly knew everything about this girl before it was revealed in her article. Right down to her taste in music, her clothes, her belief system, and the soy milk and humus she made of point of saying she was snacking on.
I am certain if I sat down with this girl we’d get along famously. If you dig past the shroud of generic labeling that people encase themselves in, there’s always something golden to find.
Fitting a stereotype is inevitable in our current world. At this point it seems like everything has been done. But with the “radical” movement there seems to be such a large breach between the self-image and the actual image.
If you are blatantly fitting a stereotype be self-aware enough to fucking proclaim it and own it. I scoff at pre-packaged outsiders. As of late it seems the least radical thing someone can do is to be “radical”. (The conservatively dressed man from Utah I met on a bus recently had so many twists and quirks that revealed themselves as I spoke to him. Now HE was radical.)
I have tons of friends that call themselvses “radical kids.” Many are neither “radical” nor are they “kids” at this point. I adore them. They are wonderful people. But I like them better when I ignore their self-imposed identifying adjectives. What a bunch of unnecessary baggage.
To be as predictable as the mainstream you are supposedly rebelling against (right down to the taste in music, clothes, and belief systems) strips the word “radical” of its power and substance.
I found the radical girl in that article fitting a stereotype to a T. The rebellion she saw in herself was only gaudy costuming.
A sincere and more effective rebellion against society would be to not fit into any box. Now isn’t that a radical idea?
more Jeremy Gloff at JeremyGloff.com
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