There is no normal

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Heard it on the grapevine … via the Radiolab newsletter, where Latif Nasser calls our attention to David Simon’s blog post of 21 February, a tribute to filmmaker John Waters on the occasion of Waters receiving the 2017 WGA Ian McLellan Hunter Award for Career Achievement:

There is no normal. Normal is a lie. Normal is a locked gate, a wall, a prison. Normal is a fascistic sentiment, and one that prevailed within the American experiment for far too long. Indeed, today in this country, we are witnessing a last, retrograde and reactionary assertion for whatever normal is supposed to be.

 

John’s filmmaking and storytelling — from the guerrilla effrontery of “Pink Flamingos” to the sweet civic affirmations of “Hairspray” — are among the most eloquent arguments against standardized modes of being ever lensed.

 

None of us are normal. Black, white, brown, Jew, Gentile, Muslim, atheist, Satanist, gay, straight, bi, transgendered, whatever…the more you honestly assess all the varied allegiances, motivations and impulses that cause human beings to get up in the morning and face the world and each other, the more you know that none of us is close to normal.

 

Conjure even the known secrets of yourself, your family, your friends, your neighbors and realize how ridiculous the very idea of normal is. Hell, if you find anyone with political and social opinions that soothe, someone without racial or religious idiosyncrasy, without sexuality that veers from a strict heterogeneous application of the lights-off missionary position, someone with 2.1 kids and two-car garage and unrusted lawn furniture on the manicured patio of their split-level rancher, I will argue that nothing is more fucking abnormal than that. We are — all of us — at least two standard deviations from the mean. And if you think you are not, you are either lying to yourself or worse, it may be time to reflect on the grievous possibility of an unlived life.

Amen to that.

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