In line with the rest


Libby Anne posted on this cartoon:

Shades of The Life of Brian –

I’m not

Brian, talking to a cheering crowd: You’re all individuals.

Crowd, in unison: Yes, we’re all individuals.

Brian: You’re all different.

Crowd, in unison: Yes, we’re all different.

Single voice in crowd: I’m not.

This business of being independent and thinking for yourself…Even for people who really do that to a smaller or greater extent, it’s such a small proportion of everything they do that in a way it’s absurd even to talk about it. The most eccentric of humans are only a tiny bit eccentric. Few humans resemble ants, or grey whales, or stones. Carl Sagan used to like to point out how human most movie and novel extra-terrestrials are, when there’s no reason whatever to think an intelligent agent from another galaxy would look at all humanoid.

We don’t even want to be more than a little weird. I certainly don’t. I don’t want to be weird in the style of Dennis Markuze, for instance. I don’t want to be like the guy I once saw in my neighborhood marching along the street in Nazi regalia, talking rather loudly. I don’t want to be a sentient eggplant or spider web. In many situations my conscious hope is to appear Normal, and I know damn well I’m not the only one.

Comments

  1. John Morales says

    Ophelia,

    In many situations my conscious hope is to appear Normal, and I know damn well I’m not the only one.

    Your quantifier and qualifier (highlighted) are revealing.

    (I do agree with your sentiment, though — i.e. me too)

  2. says

    John – the wording of course was deliberate.

    I think most people feel that way at least occasionally. I’m allergic to the vanity of claiming extra eccentricity (saying “they all probably thought I was crazy” a lot, for instance)…so actually what I said wasn’t revealing at all, because it could probably be said by most people.

    Heh.

  3. John Morales says

    So, I cleverly picked up on what you waved in front of my nose. :)

    (Way to burst my bubble, Ophelia)

  4. says

    Hey that’s not bursting a bubble! On the contrary: you picked up something I did on purpose, which is 1) flattering to darling Moi and 2) skilled reading.

    I shouldn’t have said “of course” – it’s not of course – not everything is on purpose that way. It was in this case – I was going to say “be normal” and then realized I meant “appear”…which is a book in itself (and Erving Goffman wrote it).

  5. says

    I’m allergic to the vanity of claiming extra eccentricity (saying “they all probably thought I was crazy” a lot, for instance)

    Me too, it’s so presumptuous and actually overestimates how much the speaker was thought about at all. Often what the observers probably thought was not “Crazy” but “idiotic” or “clueless” or “rude”, etc.

  6. Jeremy Shaffer says

    This reminds me of a show I saw a few years ago. It was a cover band and towards the end they played a song by Rage Against the Machine. I can’t remember the name of the song but I found it very amusing when the band told the crowd to sing the part where the lyrics repeat “F*ck you, I won’t do what you told me”.

  7. julian says

    I found it very amusing when the band told the crowd to sing the part where the lyrics repeat “F*ck you, I won’t do what you told me”.

    Ah, rap metal. Very 90s. Very ‘I’m less conformist than you!’

  8. says

    This bragging that you are a bit weird, a bit crazy, out of step with the sheepish norm was brilliantly satirised in The Only Gay in the Village running gag in the Little Britain series. I hated the rest of that show – it was very nasty – but the guy always protesting he was The Only Gay in the Village while the villagers shrugged their shoulders, or introduced him to other obviously gay fellow villagers was hilarious, and very acute about the desire some people have to be appear non-conformist.

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    Watch out – you know there’s something very wrong with a person who doesn’t claim to be crazy…

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