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I finally went and read some of the Stuff White People Like blogs.  They’re funny and too true.  But I don’t get why they get so many hits?  I don’t know.  I’m still new at this whole thing. 

But anyways, I thought it was a good idea so I’m going to do some shameless copying of their idea.  At least I’m not the only one.  I heard that there’s now Stuff Black People Like too, and probably others, so I’m just getting in on the game.

Stuff College Students Like #1: Other people’s ideas

College students love to find someone else’s fabulous idea and copy it.  They will add their own twist to it, but it’s basically the same thing.  They do this because a.) they’ve seen that it worked when somebody else did it, b.) it is now socially acceptable, so they feel they can do it without being chastised by peers and/or the people who came up with it in the first place, and c.) by giving it their own twist, they can feel like they’ve created their own new thing without actually having to think anything new. 

College students will often be found talking about “their” new idea like this:  “Hey, dude, I had a great idea…yeah, it’s sweet, I really think it could be something….Yeah, I got the idea from (wahtever they copied from) yeah it’s different, though.”

This occurs most often in white college students who think they’re smart and are always on the lookout for something that will make them stand out or that they can make money on without any risk.  They want other people to think they’re the inventors of the idea, so they will quite often minimize credit to the original inventors. 


Why do rabbits poop eggs on Easter?  I don’t understand the connection here.

Why does everyone always cover themselves with a mask?  Not literally, but in a behavioral sense.  We are always hiding our true selves from other people.  We reflect what we think they want to see from us, and it’s not us.  It’s somebody else.  It’s a mask. 

Cultural shorthand, I believe, has something to do with it.  We expect different behaviors from different people based on their role in society, and it’s no different when it comes to ourselves.  We look at a doctor, and we don’t expect him to start dancing a jig, now do we?  But if the same man were dressed in a leprechaun costume, we wouldn’t notice anything odd.  That is cultural shorthand.  And we apply this cultural shorthand to ourselves as much as we do to other people. 

I wish we wouldn’t.  It constrain people, confines them, limits them to a narrow scope in life.  Some people can break free from that narrow prison…those people are usually the ones we admire and look up to, or think “Ai, I wish I could be as cool as him/her.” Or they’re the people labeled crazy.  It depends a lot on how you look at it and what their background is.  Some people seem entitiled to be able to do whatever they want.  The very, very rich are a good example.  They can get away with giving all their money away, hoarding it, living like a homeless man, acting “eccentric,” spending it lavishly, behaving badly in public, etc. etc.  You get the idea.  But even they almost have a compulsion to do something out of the ordinary, to act strangely.  Their cultural shorthand is to scorn cultural shorthand!  You can’t get away from it.  The instant you look at someone for the first time, you are already conceiving notions about how that person should act, think, talk, dress, and so on. 

Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why can’t we all just live how we want to, do whatever we want to?  If a doctor likes to dance a jig, why won’t he do that?  Because he would be labeled strange by the rest of society, and there goes his career. 

We even act differently around different people, depending what their station/position is in life relative to yours.  I”m not going to start singing around a complete stranger, but I might if I were around just my friends.  I’m going to be more polite and formal when I’m around older people or little kids than I would be of people my own age.  I’m even going to act differently around people from my math class than I would in my psychology class, because I know different things about them.  If I know what their grade is in that class I might act differently yet.  Everything influences how you behave. 

I don’t think that’s right.  But really, we have no choice.  If we ignore the rules of cultural shorthand, we get labeled as an outcast in society, or worse, as insane.  Try deviating a social norm for just one day and see how people treat you.  It’s rather disturbing.  Try going up to someone in a supermarket and start talking to them as they that person were your best friend.  They will become very uncomfortable, if they don’t run away. 

I just hate this.  I wish we could stop it.  I wonder how many personalities have been repressed, how many relationships unformed, how many things have gone unsaid, how many people have even died never having done what they really wanted in life.  We are so constrained, and we need to learn to break free from the bounds of our society.  Next time you see someone interesting in a store, go talk to them.  Next time you see something you want to do but know you can’t, because it wouldn’t fit in with your image (like go to Disneyworld alone when you’re thirty, jsut for a random example…) do it!  Just break out of your shell and start living your life.  Ignore what other people think about you.  It’s so hard…it’s almost impossible.  Everything you do is affected in some way by other people.  I just want people to wake up, look outside of Plato’s cave and see the blue sky!  There’s more to life than getting a raise. 

Live your dream, everyone.  It’s all you’ve got, so find it!  Do something you want to do instead of something you should do.  Walk up the road dancing and singing.  In a perfect world, nobody would look twice.  Here, you’re going to get some really funny looks. 

If you completely ignore everything else I just said, listen to this: do one thing that you want to do that doesn’t fit your image.  Just one thing.  Learn to open the box, and maybe you’ll find there’s a whole new beautiful world out there. 

Time for a snack. 



What is it and what’s the story?

It felt rotten inside when I looked at it, so I tried to give it away.  No one wanted it.  It was rejected again and again.  Once it escaped and rolled and rolled and it might have rolled away to freedom, but the bars of strong sunlight caught it and stopped it.  The sunlight freckling off its dimpled skin made me remember a jewel.  The brightest jewel, glowing with tropical heat in this cold dying of the world.

It was rotting inside because it had no place.  There was nowhere to go and it knew that.  In the end it hid in a prison bar of shadow, so I felt bad for it, all alone down there among the ponderous tread of the heavy, unseeing giants.  But I’d done my duty.  I already rescued the thing once.  I wouldn’t do it again.   I made someone else pluck it from the shadow, but that person just locked it in a deeper prison.  It wasn’t my fault.  It felt freedom in the light for a moment, a moment longer than most people.

October 2019
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