Friday, December 29, 2006

In weirdness is pleasure...


"BE WEIRD! The world sticks to the paved roads. The roads are paths paved by industry. The paths are trails widened by the marketplace. The trails are hacked by the Weird, who leave the paved road for the sake of curiosity and wonderment. Where the Weird go, the world follows." - Danny Thompson

I enjoyed this heartfelt sentiment by Mr. Thompson, a writer in Alabama. You can read more of his thoughts on being weird here.

Hopefully, in megalopolises like New York and Los Angeles, so-called "weirdness" is occasionally seen as an evolutionary node rather than an aberration. Being "different" (or gifted, or creative, or hyper-sensitive, or gay, or a genius, or a savant, or eccentric, or left-handed, and so on, etc.) in these mega-urban settings can mean being discovered at a younger age, and offered a selection of weirdness-enhancing channels and facilities.

But in Alabama, it wouldn't surprise me if weirdness wasn't always a welcome trait. If that's the case, I salute Mr. Thompson for sticking his neck out. I'd like to encourage him to keep going and allow his own weirdness to mutate further. After all, he gets it: A culture that nurtures its unique individuals leads to a richer society in which new ideas come into the mix. This system of inclusion is the womb of progress.

Weird is, of course, relative. It all depends on where you set your margins. Too often weird is confused with something we commonly call "sick". The film industry should probably take some responsibility for this. (Need an example?) As a general rule, I'd say that while weird is a necessary component of sick, sick is definitely not a necessary component of weird. Because of this confusion we can see why weird sometimes gets a bad wrap.

Conformity has its place, if, for example, you belong to a group of steel molecules holding up a bridge, or you are the laws of physics, or a nun. But for most people, it is one of the least inspiring, most depressing qualities I can think of.

("Pleasure" by Magritte, 1926)

1 Comments:

Anonymous Danny Thompson said...

Paul--

Hey, I'm glad you liked my riff on weirdness. And you're right. All I'm really saying is that you should take pride in the things that set you apart.

As for Alabama, it's not so bad here. We have indoor plumbing and everything!

Having worked and traveled all over, I've found that most people would be surprised that you couldn't tell the difference between Birmingham and Austin and Phoenix and Cinncinati and Denver, if it weren't for the accents.

New York, however...now New York is just weird...

6:55 PM  

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