Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Down with "average"
One way to get on my bad side (actually there are several hundred ways to get on my bad side, but one that sticks out as being particularly distasteful) is to accuse me of being average. Whether you think that I'm thinking average thoughts, have lived an average life, or aspire to be simply average at anything is an insult to my perfectionist nature. I may very well do a lot of really "normal" things in my life, but trust me, hum drum, unexciting and bland are the antithesis of everything I strive to experience.
A 90's era British hardcore band called Cracked Cop Skulls released a record called Why Pussyfoot When You Can Kill? I found this to be a truly righteous declaration. Why pussyfoot when you can kill indeed... life is too short for mediocrity.
Ahhh, but the sad thing is, mediocrity really hits the spot for the majority of people in this country. In fact, this country's media machine declares war on anything exceptional or outstanding on a regular basis, either by demonizing it or ignoring it. Why do you think all the great hardcore punk bands from the 1980's I keep yapping about on this blog got almost NO media attention whatsoever? They were too extreme that's why.
In my humble opinion, "extreme" is often just another way of saying something is too good, too honest, or just too gosh darn genuine for most people to handle. Being exceptional at anything is a surefire way to alienate the majority of your peers. Do you want a lot of friends? Make sure you're not too successful, too good looking, too intelligent or too talented, otherwise you'll be the bane of their existence and despised by everyone.
Rewarding an average standard holds true even in communities which supposedly ascribe to an aesthetic of extremity. I don't know how many times I've been told by my punk rock, pagan, art or martial arts peers that I was taking their alternative or revolutionary ideas just a little too far. Many times, in their opinion I was pushing the envelope just a little too much. Even in communities where people are supposed to be challenging and ultimately destroying the status quo, in many instances they've merely replaced the mainstream status quo with their own, slightly different version of it.
Perfectionism, systematic execution and untempered determination are how I accomplish anything worthwhile in my life. A pox times 1000 to anyone naive enough to think that I am "just like all those people" because I could never be average and normal no matter how hard I try. This is not to say that I have no boundaries, no morals and no structure in my life; in fact I possess all of those aesthetics in large amounts. But they are the structures I have chosen... the structures I have built... the structures that work for ME.
I actually envy average people quite a bit, as their lot in life is much MUCH easier than mine, but average people will not move this civilization forward one iota. Today's freaks, revolutionaries, malcontents and general weirdos could very well be iconoclasts who become the heroes of tomorrow. Van Gough and HP Lovecraft died lonely and penniless but were canonized after their deaths. I find this quite sad and unfair, but at the very least- they attained immortality by their art and writing being appreciated by so many people long after they left this mortal coil.
Will I be one of these iconoclasts? I have no idea. I'm not sure I really want to be one, but it has become my goal to try and influence this world (or at least my little corner of it) in a positive way as much as I can. Is it arrogant for me to assume I ever could be one of these iconoclasts? I certainly hope so. Without being an arrogant, perfectionist jerk I'd have little other reason to set the bar so ridiculously high for myself. Does anything I do impress you? That's hardly the point. Impressing me is what is important. You couldn't ever be as harsh of a critic on me as I am on myself.
So to quote Henry Rollins- "You say you're my friend, but you're one of them". I extend this to anyone who tries to stand in my way... tries to bring me down... and most importantly- to anyone who'd ever have the gall of accusing me of being average.