Home decorators do it. Bloggers do it. Even Teachers in their classrooms do it. (Am I hearing an Irving Berlin tune rev up in the background? Or did Cole Porter write, “Let’s Misbehave”?) And some classes of people—like teenagers, most of whom seem unable to think outside a group bubble, and homeowners of a certain economic bracket who run through fads like the granite countertop like forest fires—seem more prone to spawning cloned pods than others.
Sadly, intellectual, emotional and political movements tend to follow the Winston Churchill trend: “Show me a 20-year-old who isn’t liberal, and he has no heart. Show me a forty-year-old who isn’t conservative, and he has no brain.” Well, I am still not a conservative (and hope never to be moved to that level of social despair and selfishness), but I can tell you, I can spot wolfish conformity in even sheep’s recycled clothing. And, if you don’t believe me, then try a social experiment of your own or merely imagine an artist who resists new age religions (like intellectualized atheism), tattoos, biofuel, hummus, dread locks, and living in a subsidized hovel. A soul who works at Wal-Mart, not a jazzy coffee shop or at a dive-y bar, pays her taxes and doesn’t get high. Just how warm would his welcome be into the artistic circle, if he upset that apple cart? Every one knocks the middle-class, but which artist is brave enough to start monitoring the discrepancies in policies within the late-night crowd?
We aren’t as free as we see ourselves. Own up to the formula or live in denial. Every group has its aesthetic and established standards, the planks which constitute that platform (as well as a profile of what desirable card-carrying members should look like). In order to link up with a selected party, you need to get your “act” together—or no one’ll ask you to dance. It’s nonconformist conformity, the dirty sponge we've used to decorate yet another "new" apartment.
Resist categorization, not because you are playing hard to get or because you coyly refuse to “stand for something,” but what ideal should you buy hook, line, and sinker? This shortcut to identity is a terribly lazy and dangerous lifestyle, and I am not willing to sacrifice my individuality for acceptance. (And, honestly, the pressure to be “edgy” is kind of silly. . .) You want something genuinely edgy? It’s patience. Dare to kindly give better than you got; now, that’s behavior that is both socially-challenging and personally-rewarding.