Friday, April 23, 1999

Be happy. Be normal.

As I've said, America isn't tolerant of oddballs. Especially oddballs in American high schools. We talk a good game about individuality. But it's bullshit. We celebrate non-conformity -- just so long as you look like all the other non-conformists.

In England, if you march to a different drummer, you're "eccentric" -- part of humanity's rich fucking tapestry. Just try that stunt in America. If the jocks see you marching to a different drummer they beat the shit out of you. You're a loser, a fuck-up, a dweeb, etc., etc. You're shunned. America's flood of firearms helps explain this.

In England, the quirky, Willy Wonka-esque fellow in the purple top hat might smear some chocolate on you or pour tea on your head. In America, they might pull out a Glock and aerate you. Different is dangerous over here.

So we shun the different. And, in one of life's cruel feedback loops, some of the rejected oddballs stew, feel rejected, develop a persecution complex and shoot up the high school.

So, now we're dealing with Columbine. America, the land of blame, is now on a scapegoat hunt. If something bad happened, it must be someone's fault. That's the American way!

The standard narrative: somebody should have seen this coming. Those two weirdo kids were, well, weirdos. Their killing spree was predictable. They were, after all, wearing trenchcoats.

Based on that logic, American high schools should institute an Orwellian oddball hunt. Every weirdo is a potential killer. We need to screen the weirdos out. We need a weirdo list. We need to watch the weirdos very carefully.

Being a weirdo myself, I think that's a bad idea.

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