It is farcical and absurd to categorize people to different sub cultures based on how they dress, what they watch, what they listen to, write about, and even eat. I do not want to be called Preppy because I wear Abercrombie & Fitch. I do not want to be called Beatnik because I enjoy Ginsberg’s “Howl.” I do not want to be called Otaku because I read Manga and watch Bleach. I do not want to be called Emo because I write about my Sunday afternoon depressions. Nobody likes to be categorized under a label that we believe we do not fall into, even if we do everything that is normally associated to that epithet. But really, who comes up with theses labels? Who decides who will be a Goth and who will be an Oherkin? Who will be a Zazou and who will be a Pachuco? Who decides who is who or what? We do.
As I kid, I was told that if I wanted to be smart, I needed to read more books and watch less TV. That’s what I did. Not because I wanted to be smarted, nut because I wanted to be seen as a really smart kid. I reveled on the fact that people would say that I was pretty smart for my age and that I was very mature. I enjoyed it the praises I’d get so much that I decided to show people who I still knew more that I let other believe I did. When I was 14. I researched books that were considered complex or that only “intellectual people would read. So I came across Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, it inspired many artists such as Devo, Radiohead, and Can so I thought it should be something I need to read in order to maintain my “indie” credibility. I read it and I did not understand it. I t wasn’t until I was 21 that I was able to grasp its more mature themes and concepts. Yet, I was happy I had read it. I could now tell people I knew Pynchon’s magnus opus.
I was seeking individualism under a category or sub culture that someone else had created, and at many times, rejected. In doing so, I was no longer an individual. I was a sheep.
We like to make fun of people who listen to Justin Bieber, people who watch Jersey Shore and go to raves, or people who wear Ed Hardy t-shirts. “They are only following trends, they are not original, they are insipid and have neither cultural value nor taste.” I used to make fun, and to a certain degree I still do, of people follow into any category I do not fall into. But I am really no authority to decide what is socially acceptable as art and what isn’t, neither are the people who do.
Voltaire once said, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to death your right to say it.” This mentality has brought me to accept people and what they have to say and what they want to do. I accept neither trends nor fashion statements. I do not accept music genres nor do I accept religions, or political movements. I do not accept ideas. I ACCEPT IDEALS, I ACCEPT PEOPLE.
Originality is overrated and so is individualism. There isn’t a single thought that I could possibly have that hasn’t been in other people’s minds over a million times. Yet nobody has had the same unoriginal thoughts that I’ve had in the same lifetime. It’s not the music I listen to, not the books I read, not the way I dress or the people I hang out with. It’s my Ideals and my Unoriginal thoughts that make me original and Individual.