Photo Not Available

The categorization of humanity is sad and to be affronted with it at the University is an even more disheartening prospect. More than the disappointment was the surprise at the ability of a person to be so able to find fault with all around him without ever turning the judgmental gaze inward. If there is something to be righted without, there is something wrong within. Not becoming angry with Tim’s piercing insight is an ordeal made more difficult because of his having painted each of us into a corner not easy to escape from. Because we are all, apparently, parts of this problem of conformity, we cannot respond to Tim without a sense of shame presiding over our very objection to his views. This very act of objection would immediately land me in the “heady” bin and so discredit my words. Apparently, conformity branches off into distinct classes and so having been allocated to one of these stylistic categories, we are now charged with the duty of clambering out of these boxes. If we’re lucky, we straddle the line between two and pretend that he isn’t talking about us. But the “typical college kids,” the “frat-boys” and the “miscellaneous conformists” are supposed to be actively working to break free of the constraints that he himself placed on them. Tim writes believing that he will effect positive change in us all through “eloquent” tirades that call us to a hipper order. Calling out the herd seems superfluous when you claim to overlook wool. Of all the types he so accurately described I found one to be the most accurate and poignant-the fifth. In effect, Tim dedicated an entire fifth category of humanity to himself-the unclassifiables, the renegades with typewriters-and it is this fifth of humanity that I address. Excuse me if there is venom in my words; it is my own, not the Gap’s. Perhaps it is because I and all my friends fit so neatly into the pegs laid out by Tim that I find myself unnerved. Or maybe my agitation stems from the sense that my clothes seem to fit less well since realizing that I resemble my fellow human beings, at least with respect to the couture that shrouds my body. Whatever it may be, I feel changed by Tim. What I fear, however, and what inspires this letter, is a belief that the author overlooked the very essence of his classification. Not even 200 years ago, for many Americans, it was sensible and convenient to classify human beings. They made their taxonomy simpler than Tim’s: one class would be called free, the other enslaved. This division, like Tim’s, was made through observance alone. Today still we categorize; some of us are criminals and go to jail yet others are fortunate enough to attend college. Of course there are those who neither do time nor go to college, but hell, for the sake of gross generalizations, let’s just make it jailbirds and collegiates. I bet Tim would have a field day in prison, what with all the orange that people seem to be sporting these days in our correctional institutions. Extreme examples are not meant to be compared with Tim’s taxonomy, but before prisoners were shackled, they were recognized as members of one group, as opposed to members of another. In the end, Tim’s argument will never get past the reality of us all living in a yellow submarine. My question to Tim is this: Have you ever been shown the skin that resides beneath the bullshit we heap atop it? Do you know what the human figure is? Everyone is naked beneath his/her clothing. Beyond the obviousness of this statement, I have yet to see two forms alike. Perhaps nudity is shameful, too. Seeing as how Tim has traded dreads for a white wig, it would be too easy to recognize him on the street. He is the unhappy kid identifying himself with the clothes he wears, because he is so different from us all.