Evil Rant #5- Rebelling: Pros & Cons
Many people like to consider themselves "rebels" nowadays (often, just like every one else in there social group). Of course they don't call themselves rebels, that would be far too cliché, but I'm sure that you know what I'm talking about, so for simplicity purposes, we'll just use that term to include all of its general implications and variations. Have you ever considered what it means to be a rebel and the like? I'm not talking about being an outrageous, but generally likable and socially acceptable person. If you really think about it, that's not what a real rebel is at all. True rebels are, almost by definition, weird. They have to be. One basic attribute of humanity is that people like people who are similar to them, and shun others who are too different from them. So, in a sense, the same types of characteristics which would be present in someone who is strange, or some sort of misfit, would also be attributes of a true rebel.
This raises the question "is being a rebel really a good thing"? It's my feeling that most people couldn't stand to be rebels, fitting in to the group is just too vital for them. So, I'd guess it really depends on your own personal temperament. If the prospect of alienation bothers you, then rebelling may not be such a good idea. The problems with being what could be considered a true rebel, should be fairly obvious. Despite the advances in communication technology, humans for the most part, still prefer to interact face to face (it would be entirely possible to limit human contact even further just by using our current technology). And any time you encounter people dealing with each other, you will find the "herd "mentality. Much of this seems to be designed as sort of a safety mechanism; to limit too much variation in ideas, behavior, etc. Remember fear of the unknown?
However, history has shown that once a person is accepted as being different, they will have a different set of expectations placed upon them. How many guys Hugh Hefner's age can get away with running with the type of crowd that he does? Anyone his age, other than the creator of Playboy, would have a lot of trouble pulling that off, but we expect that of him. If you were to meet Hunter S. Thompson, when he was still with us, wouldn't you be a little disappointed if he wasn't drunk or on something? People expect different things from established rebels. The nice thing is that the rebel gets to decide what he's going to be known for (unlike most people who are pigeonholed from the start). But, this goes far beyond mere public opinion. Rebels can, in fact, create their own worlds; surrounding them selves with the things, people, atmosphere and ideas which they choose. All now established institutions and ways of life, were once practiced only by a fringe group of rebels. It is the very basis for all cultural evolution. Keep in mind that the true essence of a rebel is the ability to say "screw this, I'm doing things my way", and this can be applied to every aspect of life.
One reality that a true rebel must be made aware of is the simple fact that most people won't be able, or willing to, understand what you're trying to do. In doing something which is different, you will have to face a great obstacle; other people's ideas and experiences. A good example I can use is this site. Many people, first coming to Twisted Jenius assume that this is some attempt at outrage or satire. The truth of the matter is that this is not so much about parody or satire, as it is an honest reflection of our views (admittedly some of it is a slight exaggeration, though not as much as you might think). In the relatively short time our site has been up, we've gotten a lot of feedback from people who obviously don't get it. Much of the criticism has been about my Villains and Heroes strip, and accusations that "it's just some petty attempt to outrage people", statements made by individuals who are, naturally, too high minded and worldly to be bothered by the comic.
It's kind of amusing to me that folks who declare that they're above such traditional or closed minded ideas, will accuse me of trying to shock and appall people, thus proving that they are still looking at things through the same, narrow viewpoint, which they claim to be above. It never seems to occur to these "worldly, cultured" individuals, that I may actually believe in, or be passionate about, the ideas represented here, and that this is not an attempt to offend people who don't agree with me (as if I'd want to go around pissing people off, that's real smart) but to encourage and entertain those who do see things my way. Saying that Villains and Heroes is designed to shock, or offend, is like saying that 'Dilbert' comics are designed to encourage management to suppress their employees. I suppose, you could interpret it that way, maybe, if you're a supervisor, but that's not the message, or the type of person it's created for. The reason for this confusion is that most people have a very limited pool of knowledge and experience to work from, and not enough imagination to come up with anything else. So it's just easier for them to the base their ideas on predictable views, regardless of how intelligent, or broadminded they'd like to think they are.
Of course, it's no surprise that most non villains don't understand what Twisted Jenius is really about, but it does make a nice little case study for any true rebels out there. You should know that if you manage to come up with, do or create anything that is truly original or different, there will always be plenty of self proclaimed experts and professionals out there, who simply won't get it and who won't even pause to think about it (or much of anything else, for that matter). You really shouldn't expect that much of them, after all, their only mediocrity, but you are something else entirely. And, when it's all said and done, no one has ever achieved any amount of greatness by being normal.