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Posts Tagged ‘fleeting fame’

The A-List

The way I figure it, I’m either A) so spiritually advanced that I have transcended human concerns or B) I’m just completely self-involved. I think it’s probably B. Whichever the case, it just never occurs to me to worry about what other people think.
Just for openers, other people are almost always wrong. What foolishness would it be to put my fragile psyche in the hands of the folks who did the macarena, sang along with Mambo #5, imprisoned Galileo and Nelson Mandela and voted for Taylor Hicks, Hitler and most elected officials.
But more than that, basing my choices on what other people think deprives me of originality and the possibility of self-worth. Obviously, I try to be considerate of others. (I said “try”.) And I think laws allow us to live in limited harmony in a crowded world. Beyond that? Well, that’s just soul crushing conformity.
Perhaps the greatest manifestation of the lock step, insecurity of the small minded is the idea of an A-List.
Born of an overwhelming sense of inferiority, the A-list allows a group of people to be “superior” to those not in their group for not being in their group. Group access is gained by virtue of ascribing to a randomly chosen series of criterion. The same haircut, brand of jeans, body type, tax bracket, skin color, etc. can allow any group to proclaim themselves better than those who part their hair on the other side or whatever.
I think the point is, there is nothing superior or inferior about those on any A-List.
Believing oneself to be on an A-List is simply the outward expression of deep inner feelings of inadequacy and no sense of belonging. Believing other people are on an A-List and attempting to join them is just sad.
The former are like those dreary people who insist on telling you how “wacky” and “wild” they are. Wild and wacky people do not need to tell you they are either. In fact the telling is the antithesis of both. Very good looking people do not need to put VGL behind their names like college degrees or tell you how good looking they are. Spending time making it clear how smart you are, really only demonstrates one’s intellectual uncertainty.
So too is the proclamation of or the aspiration to coolness.
Coolness is like humility. Once you think you are qualified to speak on the topic, you no longer are. Saying you are cool makes it anything but so. And you cannot be struck cool by adding your name to any A-List. Being an A-list anything, is the opposite of something special, it is announcing you are the same and nothing more.
I suppose the only exception would be if someone or some entity like a magazine or board of governors nominates you to be on some A-list or other. Like the Rock and Roll Hall of fame is an A-List of sorts, but it’s members earned their place on an arbitrary list made by someone else. The Rockers on the list arrived there because of their originality, not their conformity.
People from groups who feel especially disenfranchised can sometimes feel this pull the strongest. Minorities, like mine, have lived their lives on the outside. Hell the members of my merry band are not yet even treated as citizens.
As a result, the all too human ache to belongs is especially strong. Rather than being inclusive and supportive of one another, we find those within our own group to look down on. We come up with a set of arbitrary standards that describe us and declare ourselves the A-List. It’s instant self-declared superiority, a heady and seductive brew to someone who feels second class. Strict conformity mitigates those pesky feelings of alienation. Despite the fissures of insecurity, we can buttress fragile ego with the assurance of membership. Not just us against them, but we’re better than them.
It’s how gangs work.
So if you earn a certain income, fall within a proscribed age range, live in the right neighborhood, work in the preferred field, visit the correct vacation destination, have the proscribed body size, acquire a partner who meets the latest requirements for beauty, or you are said partner, you too can be on the A-List. At least, you can until any of those things change. Then you’re out. And, since you didn’t think much of yourself before, imagine how bad you’ll feel.
Sandra Bullock was asked after winning the Oscar this past year, what advice she’d give young actresses following in her footstep? Her advice was: “Don’t.”
Be an original. Make your own group. Choose them based on how good they are at being your friend, not on how they’ll make you look. Be the best version of you and let the lists fall where they may. And dear god, if someone tells you they’re on the A-List, run.

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