Living near Portland it is nearly impossible to not see bumper stickers that say, “Keep Portland Weird”. They seem to be ubiquitous and increasingly so as you drive into the downtown area, on cars and almost anything else that has a smooth surface. Most public entities proclaim their non-conformist attitudes and perspectives with businesses using it in their advertisements. I saw a frozen pizza truck that advertised the fact they sold “rebellious pizza”. Driving through Portland however it seemed that things pretty much looks the same all over, with clothing stores specializing used and second hand items all displaying similar pieces. But as I was following the pizza truck it struck me, if everyone looks the same, exactly what are they rebelling against.
The thing is, this just isn’t Portland, it’s our entire culture. American car companies that have existed for over 100 years scream out their newest model’s “distance from the ordinary”.
My question is…if everyone is rebelling, what are they rebelling against? If there is no “ordinary” how can you keep distance from it? In order for things to be “weird” doesn’t there need to be an ordinary? And what’s so bad about being ordinary? If you are rebelling against something that is good, is that something of which to be proud?
We live in such a subjective culture that standard labels really are meaningless. What are Progressives progressing towards? And if they get there will they then be conservatives? What exactly are Conservatives conserving? And if things have changed so much will they be able to conserve it? Are Antifa’s really antifascist? Or are they becoming what they say they are against? Is Patriot Prayer really consistent? Is it possible that the God they are praying to might not like the Patriotism they espouse?
Perhaps it would be good to have a consistent understanding about what is important….
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One of my favorite movies years ago was SLC Punk – the story of some punk rockers in Salt Lake City. The main character comes to the realization that his non-conformity is actually just a form of conformity. His “counter-cultural” dress and lifestyle are really just the uniform and expected behaviors of a group of people that he wants to be accepted by. It wasn’t a great movie, but that’s an important message especially for young people.
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