Who's Frame Are You Breaking?

March 26, 1999

Iíve had the word Ďiconoclastí stuck in my head for over a day. I never really knew the exact definition, so I looked it up on Websterís this morning.

Last night, as I my eyes grew heavy in the darkness, and my mind swirled about in those pre-sleep thoughts that fleetingly pass before your eyes before evaporating like dew in the hot morning summer sun, it just popped into my head and disturbed me a bit. Itís odd. Iíve come to realize that even as I try to differentiate myself, to attempt to prove that I am an individual, unique, with his own thoughts, ideas, and desires that it is all just a facade.

For all the people in the world today, touting new philosophies, ideas, theories, and opinions, I am hard pressed to find any one of them with an original thought. Everything is simply a recycled, repackaged ounce of snake oil that has been heard time and time again before. The same arguments are used, or some slick derivation of them to make it sound new. But there is no original thought, no change, just shifting perceptions along parallel plains of thought.

A Return to Modesty, touted as "a thought-provoking debut that introduces an original and exciting new feminist thinker" really only rehashes the tired battle cry that we have lost our past grandeur, from respect for our elders to the general consideration for our fellow man. Tae-Bo is a cookie-cutter, mass marketed, easily swallowed injection of Karate, hot on the heels of the success of Tiger Schulmann's introduction into every mall in America. The styles of the Sixties and Seventies are back in full swing as teens beg their parents to buy them flares and tattoos, and then dance to the psuedo Thirtiesí swing sounds of Cherry Poppin Daddies and the Brian Setzer Orchestra.

Even on the Web, itís the same tired old battle of the artists, educators, and other purists against the evil cadre of commercial capitalistic invaders that threaten to stifle creativity and overtake the Web with banner ads and hit counts.

Oh sure, most Ďnewí thought is wrapped up and sold as sugary-sweet rhetoric focusing on improving an idea, making the idea more than it is, building upon it and seeing it grow. But itís still the same old paradigm, no matter how many times you shift it back and forth. Players change, as does the playing field, but in essence, itís mostly all the same.

Oh, sure, Iím not denying that there exist people who have fundamentally changed the way we think, live, or experience life. But these people are so few and far between, and so obvious that you need no explanation of who they are or were, or what the major change they introduced was.

So, anyway, iconoclastic means: "one who attacks settled beliefs or institutions." Maybe why the word has been lodged in my head is that I seem to have made a pastime of trying to do just this thing. Itís not something new or novel, and it doesnít bring forth any new understanding or original thought.

That's right, itís not anything novel, new, or even interesting. For all I try to fool myself into believing, I am not unique in the way I think, or look at the world. What I believe I have come up with on my own is simply a version of some other theory or idea I may have read or heard about somewhere, or it is just the Devilís Advocate role on a thought someone else already had.

None of this should be any big news to you.

For me, it reminds me why I have an inferiority complex.

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