I heard the most interesting line not long ago. I’m walking into work when I happen upon one of my coworkers. We start talking the sort of talk one engages while walking into work: weather, office politics, whatever. Polite talk. Then out the blue she asks me if I’m registered Democrat or Republican. I tell her “I’m a Democratic Republican – a real non-conformist”, just because I really don’t feel like this sort of talk before coffee. Now here comes the line. She says to me “You don’t look like a non-conformist. They’re all wearing their hair long this year.”
What? Really? Seriously?
I was astounded. Did she understand the irony of what she said? I can not be a non-conformist because I don’t follow the prescribed fashion outlook of some group. I don’t conform to her or some groups definition. I thought that’s what being a non-conformist was all about. An individual expressing themselves without regard to fashion, politics, entertainment fads, or candy bars.
Merriam-Webster define non-conformist as “a person who does not conform to a generally accepted pattern of thought or action” so I’m pretty confident I am not the one confused.
Is it possible that in this time one can not be a non-conformist if you don’t behave and dress like this certain group of people who happen to call themselves non-conformists? Is non-conformity gone the same route as the peace symbol, which has become more a fashion statement rather than a political or ideological symbol.
To me, it isn’t about having a mohawk, dressing in black turtlenecks (even in summer), listening to Megadeath, and claiming everyone in the government is out to get you. Although that could be one manifestation of it, if that person is expressing a personal view, rather than the overstated dogma of some group.
You don’t have to drop out and just reject everything you hear and be negative all the time, but you must follow your own set of ideas and ideals despite what is being said by pope, pop, or porno. You challenge the status quo, but you don’t necessarily have to want to tear it down. It can be positive.
That’s what the hippy movement of the sixties was all about to a degree. Now maybe they were a bit naive to think that you could change the world through chemicals. That’s DuPonts bag. But it was a start. It was an introduction to a possibility that hasn’t really been carried through. And if my co-workers sentiment is any indication of where we are then we’ve a long ,long way to go.
Well, I can sure make a big deal out of an innocent statement, can’t I?
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