Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's High School

MoDo may be onto something here:

We are in the era of Republican Mean Girls, grown-up versions of those teenage tormentors who would steal your boyfriend, spray-paint your locker and, just for good measure, spread rumors that you were pregnant.

These women — Jan, Meg, Carly, Sharron, Linda, Michele, Queen Bee Sarah and sweet wannabe Christine — have co-opted and ratcheted up the disgust with the status quo that originally buoyed Barack Obama. Whether they’re mistreating the help or belittling the president’s manhood, making snide comments about a rival’s hair or ripping an opponent for spending money on a men’s fashion show, the Mean Girls have replaced Hope with Spite and Cool with Cold. They are the ideal nihilistic cheerleaders for an angry electorate.

It explains a lot.

Most of us, I think (and hope), can't look back at our high school years without a little shudder at our own naivety and superficiality. Our certainty about the importance of one group or another, our need to find solace from our own awkwardness in the approval of others. The nastiness and cowardice. (FWIW, I was sort of a cool/geek hybrid: took classes and mostly hung out with the smart kids but was captain of the football team and SB president. Neither wholly accepted nor rejected by either camp, I nevertheless found no reason really to question myself. Took an hour or two of college for that to start happening.)

Like learning to walk and to stop smearing food on our faces, evolution from the superficial and simplistic social rules of high school ought to be a given as we approach maturity of mind. To go through life cleaving to high school rules, where the self-appointed cool people judged and put down those they deemed less worthy (while ignoring the still small voices inside telling them it was they who were wanting) is to prove there was never an awakening to adulthood. To see the world in terms of otherness and to behave toward those you consider outsiders as if they were to be ignored or ridiculed (because they represent a threat to your self-centered world-view) is to have gotten stuck in pubescence. And to admit you have nothing else to offer.

When you listen to Sarah Palin next time, and Jan Brewer, and Sharon Angle, and Christine O'Donnell (if you can stand it), think of it in those terms. Hear them suggest their opponents are fey, asking them to "man up." Notice their looseness with fact and how they bull through their lack of knowledge. Aren't they just the stuck-up cheerleader type? Aren't their words those of a superficial locker-room bully? Doesn't it remind you of the kids you sort of envied back then but who you, like, totally, left behind as you learned to live in the real world?


Anonymous said...

you weren't that cool.

Sid Schwab said...

So, what should we call it? Cool/geek hybrid? Oh, wait.

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