Posts Tagged ‘monoculture’

So You Wanna Be The Orthodoxy


The Filth cover image by Carlos Segura.

Are you tired of being left out of exclusive clubs or cliques? Want to flash your membership card in people’s faces? Does your life lack meaning without a clear enemy to demonize?

Congratulations! You too can be the Orthodoxy!

Why Orthodoxy? I’m glad you asked!

Becoming the Orthodoxy enables you to appoint yourselves the gatekeepers between Us (those who Belong) and Them (those who Don’t Belong, because they’re weird or something, eww). Anyone who has ever felt the joys of initiating someone into the Mysteries of your Orthodoxy has felt the smug satisfaction of being Better than someone just because you were In first. This is a simple, penis-enlarging (or womb-constricting) joy that eludes many in this complex modern world. From churches to councils to covens to college orgs to confraternities to cosplayers, self-appointed cultural gatekeepers everywhere hold the power of Acceptance and Rejection of their own little fiefdoms in their hands. Inclusion and Exclusion. Salvation and Damnation!

And when people do join, what then? Why, you get to make up the rules they need to play by, too! The rules don’t have to be reasonable, or even sane! Feel like being called Grandmaster Sexay by everyone? Put it in your Constitution! Feel like collecting dues in exchange for the privilege of carrying cheap laminated ID cards or posting a hokey little banner on your blog? Label it ‘Article 69’ (or LXIX, Roman numerals are so fancy) and slap it on a piece of notarized goatskin! Everyone has to do it or they won’t be allowed into the clubhouse!

I've been a Discordian Pope for over a decade. But then they let in just anybody, eww.

And the Name! Oh, praised be the Name! You get to call yourselves whatever you want, whether or not that Name (or Title, if you like) reflects the reality of your Orthodoxy whatsoever. It’s true! If you don’t believe me, compare the Orthodoxies referred to by the following Names with the dictionary definitions of the words that make up the Names:

(Philippine Basketball fans, haven’t you ever wondered why the Philippine Basketball Association mainly plays in Metro Manila while the long-defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association played all over the country?)

But Multi, you ask, how do I create an Orthodoxy in the first place? Do I find people to include in my new clique? Do I find a common banner for people to unite under?

No no no, would-be Pontiff, you’re doing it ass-backwards. For any Orthodoxy to exist, it must exclude before it includes. The reasons for exclusion can be anything, including:

  • – Worshiping the wrong imaginary friend;
  • – Glorifying the wrong dead person;
  • – Not making it through an arbitrary initiation process that the founders made up;
  • – Not paying dues/tithes/membership fees/certification fees;
  • – Not remembering all the words to the Official Creed/Pledge/Motto/Song/Movie;
  • – Being the wrong sex;
  • – Liking the wrong sex;
  • – Liking sex at all;
  • – Hanging out with the wrong people;
  • – Not having the right last name;
  • – Being too ugly;
  • – Etc.

This sets up a handy Us vs. Them dynamic that often becomes your Orthodoxy’s entire reason for existing. In between converting the Unbelievers (those who see enough benefit in joining or danger in remaining Outside) to slaying the Infidels (stubborn holdouts who insist on retaining their own personal prejudices instead of adopting your Orthodoxy’s), you’ll be so busy that there will be no need to actually pursue your officially stated goals!

The benefits of this sort of black-and-white tribal behavior are so great that you will quickly find yourself dominating the little pond you and your fellow specialized polyps have aggregated in! Be the gigantic Portuguese Man-O’War of anything you desire! From vaguely Christian evangelical groups to tabletop role-playing guilds to parent-teacher associations, there is no niche small enough that it can’t stand a little domination! And if you manage to completely dominate your cultural niche, consider yourselves the new monoculture! Burn heretics at the stake with impunity!

But Multi, you ask, what if an Orthodoxy already exists in the field that I’ve chosen? Am I out of luck?

Stay tuned for the answer, true believers!

Being a Bastard Works

Being a bastard works.

Being a bastard works.

When I first started it was simply an extension of my old LiveJournal, a place to post personal thoughts, photos of my trips, and so on. That was a long time ago, back when everyone had Friendster and Multiply.

Now I have Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr and Plurk. I have Project Otaking to keep all my geek-centric fixations compartmentalized, away from the sensitive eyes of the monoculture. (‘Monoculture’ is geekspeak for ‘people who think everyone should like the same things they do’.)

Making niche blogs tends to fragment your opinions, and I have many, many opinions.

See, I tried toning down my act. I really did. I kept my head down in law school, kept my head down at the firm. Parroted opinions I heard in the break room that morning.

But there’s a funny thing about opinions. The safer your opinions are, the less you actually have to say.

Being in sync with prevailing opinions makes you plankton, drifting along prevailing currents. Prevailing opinions prevail because people are afraid of sticking their necks out. Afraid to swim under their own power.

Take the current Philippine Reproductive Health Bill controversy. One very large herd of sheep thinks one way because the Church tells them too. Other large herds of sheep think in other ways because they hang out with herds that don’t like the Catholic Church herd (because they belong to other herds that the Church doesn’t like, like non-Catholic Christians, Wiccans, LGBTs, and so on). These dissenting herd opinions shouldn’t be confused with individual, considered opinion because of their own tendency to apply broad generalizations in their arguments (like the tiresome labeling of the Catholic Church as the Magisterium).


Or take the outbreak of democratic-themed revolutions in the Middle East. (‘Themed’ the way warehouse shopping centers are themed. Those aren’t really warehouses, and you’re not really getting a better deal because you’re inside what appears to be an industrial building. It’s all a show.) None of these revolutions are like the others. But it’s hard to tell when the only reason people read the news is so that they won’t be left out when all their officemates are discussing the headlines.


There is someone on my Twitter who loudly trumpets the visionary commercialization of geek culture by his coterie of entrepreneurs but loses no opportunity to diss Apple for being money-grubbing control freaks. (Because he doesn’t own an iOS device.)


If I’m going to end up agreeing with people who contradict themselves from day to day, I’ll be disagreeing with those same people by sticking with what they previously said. And if I’m going to be contradicting people inadvertently anyway, I might as well do it intentionally. I might as well stick to my own opinion in the first place.

So here’s how it’s going to be from now on: I’m rebooting this blog. I’m going to say what I think, and I’m going to make peace with the fact that nobody wants to hear opinions that don’t match their own.

I’m going to be a bastard.

Because being a bastard works.

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