I was having a conversation with a mate of mine recently about another mate whom I described as "a thinker". When I first decided to call my blog by its current name I did so because I was in one of those moods where I couldn't give a f#ck if I upset people*. As though I was prodding some imaginary member of the public and saying: "yes, that's right, I'm a thinker, what do you make of that eh? I think. I enjoy thinking. At least I think I do. Ha ha! See that? Thinking man's wit. I thought of that. At least I think I did."
Notice how that imaginary member of the public is by implication NOT 'a thinker'. There's a reason for that which I'll come to in a minute.
Once I'd got underway with this website there was a period when I thought I'd chosen the wrong title. It looked pretentious and exclusive and I was considering changing it to something a little more mocking like "Proud To Be A Stinker" or some such. I've got a strange relationship with pretentiousness. On the one hand I can see why it's so repugnant and loathe it when it's all there is to something. Then again on the other, all the best human endeavour has to have some level of pretentiousness to it. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is steeped in it. All great films ooze it. Shakespeare would be lost without it. Colombus would never have bothered without it as a character trait. Etc etc etc.
Often entertainment which is not pretentious and exclusive ends up being the worst pile of conceiveable sh#te you could imagine. Pop Idol ain't pretentious or arty farty. That's why it's so un-utterly wa~k. Why was it okay to like series one of Big Brother? It was the only series that was genuinely pretentious. Now Davina has "the common touch" smirk and the producers don't pretend it's a "social experiment". The consequnce of this is that it's s#ite.
There's an article on a website which makes a simmilar point in specific reference to TV comedy: CLICK HERE TO READ IT. The article is called "Lets all be elitist" and it suggests: "Intelligent comedy which aims for an intelligent audience is great. Plebbed-down comedy which aims for great fat middle-ground audience of 'ordinary people' who don't know naffink about naffink sucks big time". I couldn't agree more.
However elitist is not the word I would use. You see I have a theory, not my most popular but certainly one I try to stick to. It goes like this: Joe -dead ordinary- Bloggs is actually quite intelligent. In fact I'll go you one further. He's as intelligent as you are, if not more so. We're conditioned to expect him to be an utter fu#knut who just goes out gets pis#ed and acts like a t#at. In fact those people are the MINORITY and not the majority.
Most people are actually like you.
Therefore by being "Proud To Be A Thinker" I am not actually isolating or excluding anyone. If anyone isn't involved it's because they've cut themselves out of the deal, not me. They've made the choice not to be a thinker. It's not me who excluded them. We're conditioned to think that title is exclusive. In reality it is far from it.
I like to imagine that the people who read this site are all "Proud To Be A Thinker".
What I'm suggesting is that we start a movement. A club of people, all of whom are not ashamed of the fact that they like to think about the world in a critical manner. They take ideas in and then think about them.
The conversation I was having with my mate centred on things which can often be ruined when they stop being underground and clamber up into the mainstream. Partly we were worrying about the work of genius which is Phlegm magazine (see side banner for link). It's currently as 'underground' as it comes but surely mainstream success can't be far?** Would that ruin things? Only if it stopped being a comic which allows you to think for yourself.
Here's where I personally have had a change of heart. I think the mainstream does not have to be sh#t. I think it's only s#it because that's how we've been told it should be by the same machine that's out to convince you Joe Bloggs is a thick c#nt. The same machine which does not want thinkers. It wants passive consumers.
Popular stuff does not have to be rubbish! It does not have to involve a lack of thought.
For example, I'm proud of the fact that if you type "Proud To Be A Thinker" into google it's now this site which comes up at the top of the list. This site is more popular now than it ever has been. Anyone else who feels "Proud To Be A Thinker", has a command of english and access to the net will find us. And they often do***. From all over the world. Read some of the other entries on that list. It's awe inspiring how liberating it can be to not give a f#ck that you like to think. No, that you're actually proud of being able to!
Here's the next bit, the call to action: I believe that you are a creative person, who is 'Proud To Be A Thinker'. The fact you read this far proves you must be. You should get writing, drawing, singing, dancing - whatever it is you want to do - and be as f#cking pretentious as you can about it. If man did indeed get to the moon he didn't do it by not being pretentious. He did it by filling mankind up with the spirit that anything is possible.**** Don't sit on your a#se worrying that people might not like what you do just f#cking do it. Give over half an hour of your day to it from now on. Each day. Get into something.
That's how movements start.
So there we are: Proud To Be A Thinker.
*These moods come and go. They're not my perpetual mindstate. I think it does people good to be offended by stuff sometimes though. It's often done me a lot of good to be offended by something. When I first heard Pink Floyd I thought they were offensively indulgent. I was wrong. The experience of being annoyed by them was good for me though.
**The writer, Daniel Harrison, has recently been profiled in various mainstream media. You may have read about him elsewhere. You heard it here first!
***About 20 people each week come via a google search on those words.
****Is anything possible? I'm not sure on that one. It often annoys me to hear people say that. I often annoy myself. I'm not even sure this particular entry makes sense.