Public Image: No Two Freaks Are Alike

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Each of us wants to draw attention but is it worth building up your reputation on a shaky foundation of being a freak? Especially, if it is not a genuine deviation but just a performance “for sale”?

A public image is susceptible to fashion, too. There are historic periods when the society favors stoic self-restraint and austerity, other times honor pomp both in life and in discourse. Postmodernity, when practically all bans have been lifted, all taboos have been forgotten and social norms have been changed beyond recognition, has made deviant behavior popular. Everything is logical: if there is no norm any more, a deviation from it is not a deviation any more, it is a more or less “fouling” creativity.

To tell the truth, it frequently turns out to be not the way of life “for yourself” but a kind of performance “for sale”. The difference between a “natural” freak and a freak “for cosmetic effect” is like between a dedicated hippie and a bragging hipster. That is the delimitating line is “the genuine vs the false”.

The genuine deviation cannot be hidden – it is revealed at school and stays on till retirement. The false one is a mask which its owner takes off when getting from public into private life.

Here arise consequences for the reputation. A false queer (called a freak in popular parlance) is actually a masochist. Our modern public servants are a dramatic example of this. They are so eager to stick out their democratic nature and support for liberal principles to the last degree. To go by bike and by underground, to fly economy class, to support vegans, feminists, LGBT, fans of swimming across channels that are closed to navigation and fans of running along the streets that are closed to a mother taking her child to hospital. Though, at the bottom of their hearts, very or not very deep inside, they have a longing for gilt a la Versailles, sharia laws in addition to a rigidly patriarchal family life, overseas islands and transatlantic yachts with the latter having a river on board for racing of yachts of smaller tonnage. The life torn between the bent of one’s soul and the way of life imposed by political expediency often leads to serious mental disorders. And the integral reputation cannot be established.

Because in the transparent world of social networks one should be engaged not in story-telling (about episodes of one’s life) but in story-living (of a really bright story). And so it means minimizing the contradictions between the word and the action, the public and private life.

The same things happen to false freaks without a rank. Once upon a time there lived a scribbler unknown to anybody. She considered herself to be a writer and suffered from being unappreciated. Then for the sake of grandstanding she walked on the railing of a bridge over a river wearing just her lingerie. The media wrote a lot about the incident – yet not about the necessity of taking the lady to a psychiatric ward but about her having delicate psyche and being a freak. However, it did not influence the publishers’ demand for her masterpieces. Likewise, not everyone can use four-letter words even if one sees strength and brutality in them. The original “Leningrad” of Shnurov is interesting, the copy is a platitude of the highest order.

Being a real freak is a spontaneous force especially if the person’s inborn traits are used correctly. In the long run, it is difficult to say who Salvador Dali really was if you are not a researcher and a biographer. In his case, the basic deviation is definitely present. But there is also an ability (even if it is partially due to external influence) to make the freak nature attractive and to monetize it. The outstanding personality, extravagant actions (for example coming to his solo exhibition dressed in a diving suit), stylistics of his canvasses and other works give us the idea which I once shaped like this:

When you are faced with genius Dali,

Have courage to appreciate his force.

Spin doctor never goes home broke

In case he’s nobody’s fool, of course.

At the same time, we should understand that it is getting more and more difficult to be a freak. The humanity will make its immune response only to a super-high dose of the stimulus. And only a few are ready to make this kind of sacrifice. Each wants to draw attention but not each is ready to nail their genitals to the pavement. That is why there are global freaks (a la Lady Gaga), national freaks and small-town freaks. Even a miniskirt can be considered an outrage against morals by those living in a hick town or those adhering to a patriarchal and antiquated culture.

So, if you are still going to try building up your reputation on a shaky foundation of being a freak, take care. First, you should understand to what extent the deviant image corresponds to the desired way of life and to what extent it will further your goals. Of course, each has the right for aimless creativity for the sake of enjoying themselves, but if you are not an heir to an enormous fortune, the image of a reckless wildcard cannot stay forever. And the main thing is that you should have enough willpower to deviate and impress the humanity every day. Otherwise, you might find yourself in the situation like the crocodile from a popular joke:

“The crocodile is crawling somewhere and suddenly sees the monkey doing a “wheel” on a liana. It asks, “What are you doing?” The monkey answers, “Flexing.” The crocodile likes the idea and starts climbing the tree. Having climbed with pain and misery, it grabs the liana with its short paws and flops down. And the monkey summarizes from above, “You got to know how to flex!”




Tags: Free time              Society