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A REGRESSIVE SOCIETY: PART I- Smart versus “Plainspoken”

This all started on the bus today. I was getting on, and I greeted my kid brother with an affectionate “Hey munchkin” and hair ruffling. He smacked my arm. This went back and forth for a bit, before some kid behind me said, “You’re not supposed to do that with your brother.” Biting back a bitchy retort, I ruffled my brother’s hair again and ducked away. As I passed two eighth-grade boys, one made some comment about me being weird, followed by an “Aggh! Don’t look at me! She’ll burn us with her eyes!” from his friend. I just shook my head in scorn at them. Again, I had been found guilty of the ultimate social crime- daring to be different.
I am found guilty of this crime everyday, especially at school. I am smart. I have plans, dreams, goals that amount to so much more than “well, I guess I’ll do something with my life”. But when I share these dreams with others, looking for support, I get instead “whoa, you have WAAY too much time on your hands”; “why do you want to do that”; “I can’t believe you’re already thinking about college.”
My intelligence seems to get me into trouble as well. Whenever I answer questions, actively participate in class, talk with the teacher, or just generally do well, I get “show-off” and “teacher’s pet”. I’d like to believe that they’re just jealous, and perhaps that is it in part. But I owe my daily guilty verdict to society. We live in a society that says it’s ok to be stupid. And I’m not talking in an academic you’re-a-moron-cause-you-don’t-get-A’s sense. (Which I don’t buy into, by the way. This is in no way meant to be ripping on people who have trouble in school.) I’m talking more in an ignorance way. This ignorance seems to be accepted as the social norm. You’re not supposed to know or care what “soliloquy” means or how foreign governments work. “I’ve got my TV and my clothes- why should I care?” If you do happen to know that England is run by Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, and not by Queen Elizabeth, then shame on you! You dare to be smart- how dare you! You’re making the rest of us, who conform to the shallow norm look bad- so stop it right this instant!
It all comes down to conformity. Someone once said “Civilization is nearing its end when young people are taught to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think different.” If that’s true, we are nearing our grand finale. You have to dress the same, talk the same, and think the same if you want to fit in. Everyone wants to be accepted to the group, and it’s horrifically easy- simply stop being you and join the flock, and you’ll be our new best friend. Until someone better comes along, of course. And again, anyone who dares to be different- don’t associate with them.
People tend to have a flock mentality- if you’re different, you’re accountable. If you all are in a pack, well, it’s easy to blame someone else. As Jed Bartlet said on the West Wing, “Everyone’s guilty, so no one’s to blame.” That’s the mentality embraced nowadays, and it’s sad.
Back on the bus, the ignorance reared its ugly head again. As we were riding, some kid shouted, “Goddamnit! F---! You goddamn motherf-----, I’ll f------ kill you!” Why this outburst? We’d hit a bump and the kid in front of him and accidentally hit him in the face. This kid couldn’t come up with anything better to say than f--- over and over. Now, this may sound hypocritical of me, since I used the same word in a poem a while back. That was venting my rage at God for my mother’s death, and I use the word so sparingly as well. This kid managed to shout it at least 15 times in two minutes. That he couldn’t come up with anything else to say is a sign of the declining culture.
I genuinely pity these people, who can’t seem to think for themselves. They seem to believe that the flock will protect them- and sadly, in a way, it will. It may have different faces and speeches, but, thanks to our society, it will remain. I dare to be different, and people today seem to fit a profile that Aaron Sorkin put as “… plainspoken, just folks… which seem to be other words for ‘happy to be stupid.’ It’s really a shame.

:: announcer’s voice:: Next time, on “A Regressive Society”, the author will talk about imagination- and society’s subsequent suppression of it!

Heaven doesn't want me and Hell's afraid I'll take over.


The following comments are for "A Regressive Society: Part I- Smart versus "Plainspoken""
by SWHCgirl

You've really outdone yourself here!! You echo me so so strongly! *laughing delightedly* I want to see more of this series!!! Here's to people opening their many layers of eyes. Ju =*_*=

( Posted by: De`esse [Member] On: May 6, 2002 )

to SWHCgirl
My extreme sympathies and now I feel fortunate. Great rant.

( Posted by: Furius [Member] On: May 17, 2002 )

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