Source: The New Democrat
I start off this piece arguing that it’s good to be a rebel, but I would add as long as you’re doing it for the right reasons.
For example, I wouldn’t recommend going to a country club and playing golf with your hair down to your back wearing black leather vest with no shirt, leather jeans, and black leather boots like some rebel biker simply because you want to look different from all the other golfers. That might be a point where you would want to try to fit in and wear a golf outfit and you might even be able to find a golf outfit that doesn’t put you back in the 1950s. Or ordering a cheeseburger and a beer at a French restaurant and when the waiter tells you, “sir, we don’t serve cheeseburgers here”, you complain about bad service simply to sound cool. And perhaps show up at the same French restaurant in your biker outfit. Good luck even getting in to the French restaurant if you do.
There’s a time and place for everything and always a time to do the right thing whether it’s popular or not. But the problem with American culture today unlike with the Baby Boomers from the 1960s and early 70s is that today being an outsider unless you’re in politics is almost considered a sin. People today are almost squarely judged superficially. By what cellphone they have. What coffee they drink. What coffee house they go to and do they go to a coffee house at all, because if you go to and hangout at coffee houses on a regular basis and seen walking on the street with coffee cup staring at your smartphone, you’re considered cool. But if you don’t and your life isn’t driven by what’s going on with your smartphone and what people are saying on your favorite social media networks or apps, you’re considered an outsider.
Where back in the mid and late 1960s especially, perhaps the early and mid 1970s, the cool people were the outsiders who ran against the social establishment and status quo. Back then Americans weren’t judged by how many celebrities they know and who they’re favorite celebrities are or do they even have any. Or what their favorite so-called reality TV shows and cable shows were, or did they even watch those shows at all. And of course a lot these changes have to do with new technology. Cable TV wasn’t regularly available until the late 1970s or 1980s, wasn’t around at all until 1974-75. The personal computer didn’t come out until 1975 with laptops coming out 10-15 years after that. The internet and cell phones comes out in the early 1990s.
My point being that new technology has a lot to do with the character and behavior of Americans now simply because we have access to so much more information today than we did 50 years ago at the height of the Cultural Revolution. And we simply know so much more about each other than we did 50 years ago. And because of this people feel the need to be like their favorite Hollywood stars or athletes, look, talk, and act like them. And people who decide to just be themselves as the person they were born as, the person who isn’t one of the first 100 people to buy the latest smartphone or whatever the device is and doesn’t know which rehab facility Charlie Sheen is currently staying at or what’s the reason for Paris Hilton’s latest arrest and what jail she’s at, they look like outsiders and “like so no awesome and uncool.”
As someone who has always been an outsider and has never fit in very well with the so-called in-crowd, who doesn’t get drunk just to have a good time and let people know how much I drink and doesn’t even need to get drunk to have a good time and doesn’t even drink alcohol at all, I’m speaking from experience when I tell you that it’s hard to be a rebel an outsider in modern American culture.
I’m a man who puts cheddar cheese on his spaghetti for crying out loud which is probably considered a sin in the Italian culture, mayonnaise on my cheeseburgers, and I could go on. My point being the only person I know how to be is the person I was born as and see the in mirror which is myself. I’m an individualist who believes in individualism simply because I don’t know any other way to live. I’m just not a good enough actor to play the roles of a the latest reality TV star or new tech junkie. And if you’re going to also be a rebel, try being yourself first and don’t just standout in order to standout. Be true and real to yourself, which is as rebellious as anyone needs to be in America today.