The Absurd, Contradictory Viewpoints of Julian Brizzi

Julian, I love you man, but I really have some problems with your article from last week (Issue 12) entitled “My Mind is Playing Tricks on Me.” One of the main points of your article is that “stereotypes are dangerous because they dig into the subconscious, not because idiots make bad jokes about them.” However, many of the other comments that you make in your article lead me to believe that you actually support many stereotypes. Why, for example, do you stereotype the dread-locked population of Burlington as being stupid wanna-be rastas? People who have dreadlocks don’t necessarily support Rastafarianism; rather, I know many people who wear dreadlocks as an attempt to differentiate themselves from the values promoted by dominant society. Wearing dreadlocks, for many people, represents the belief that consumerism is irrational, or that environmental protection is valuable. In this sense, wearing dreadlocks is an attempt to break away from dominant society by rejecting to conform to the belief that the ideal American wears Abercrombie and Fitch, showers daily, and constantly worries about their appearance. Yet, it seems that you aspire to reinforce these stereotypes, implying that you would prefer if the “wanna-be rastas” would give up their farce and return to reality as a typical white American. The same criticism rings true for the “fifteen year-old kids trying to sport gang flags as a fashion statement.” These kids, as well, are seeking some way to differentiate themselves from mainstream society; truly, they find it through the acceptance of a powerful counter-culture. To them, wearing “timberlands and State Property hoodies” represents the embracement of a way of life that, in many ways, contradicts traditional American livelihood. They, therefore, find congruence with their own beliefs about the worth of Americanism in black popular culture. In a way, therefore, embracing this counter-culture is a big middle finger to “the establishment.” While I see why people criticize others who take on such physical representations-first of all, their unique attributes makes it easy for us to jeer at them, and also, it seems in many ways that they are hypocrites-I don’t think that we should, especially not if we value the “diversity” which you yourself claim to adore. By criticizing those who attempt to break outside of society’s bounds by asserting some element of non-conformity, you are advocating the cultural homogeny that your whole article seems to be protesting. Basically, Julian, I think that you should devise some clear, concise, logically coherent beliefs about whether stereotypes are good or bad; otherwise, you end up contradicting yourself as often as your favorite politician: George Dubya.Nick BewleyClass of 2005