How to be more inclusive?
stop listening to the snobs
Handy balked at hanging out. He didn’t like some of my CD’s.
It was 1992. I was playing Pearl Jam’s album ‘10’.
Handy kept rolling his eyes.
Pearl Jam were not cool enough for Handy. They were ‘too’. for him.
Either that or ‘not enough’.
Whatever the case was, I quietly took my cues from him and the other insecure eye rolling domineering trendies who were the self appointed lords of the local music scene.
Not only was my neurologically diverse behaviour uncomfortable and problematic for Andy, now the music that I enjoyed wasn’t good enough either.
It was pretty painful having my taste questioned. It was as though I was unacceptable as a person if I committed the sin of liking something popular in the mainstream.
I quickly fell in line. Despite liking certain music, I quickly sold those CD’s for what ever musicians were the darlings of the university radio set back in the day.
I learned to like the right things and think the right thoughts in order to belong.
I did a really shit job of it too.
The more I tried to fit in or to do the things that could help me be with the cool kids, it was never enough. I was never enough.
When we give other people had the power to determine what ‘should’ be liked or what ‘should’ be thought or what ‘should’ be believed, we are betraying ourselves. We assume a role in a status dynamic that puts them at the top.
Eventually I stopped going to live music shows. I spent so much time standing in a crowded smokey bar getting a sore back, strained neck and stepped on toes while watching some skinny twits stare at their shoes, that if I go see another rock band ever again it will be too soon. Unless it’s jazz in a small club, I hate live music. I’m jaded from exposure. There was a long period where ‘indie rock’ performers, with arrogant false modesty had all the chemistry and charisma of an assembly of dead rats.
These days, if I’m out supporting live talent, it’s a stand up comedian, not some musician.
Here’s a shameful twist.
When I first spent the night at Laura’s, I went through her CD collection. It wasn’t cool enough for what I had become. I rolled my eyes at many of the artists she loved. Luckily for me, she liked me more and endured my snobbery.
I didn’t get off that easily though. She thought I was cute, but told me if her record collection was a reason that I’d dump her early on, she would be just fine.
Our different likes became merely who we were. I liked ‘jangly’ music.
She liked ‘jumbly’ music.
That was that. We moved on.
People who set trends are no better. They are not cooler. They only get high status if we give it to them.
The value they assume in being an early adopter / setter of tastes is a false one.
You too can do the same.
You have preferences, likes and beliefs.
You have a voice.
You are entitled to like the things you like.
If we can just lighten up, back the hell of and find ways to not weaponize our tastes in an ugly status game? We’ll all be better off for it.
It’s like the old saying goes:
When in Rome, make sure you try the Italian food.