Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Last Temptation of Tom Warner

In Sunday's New York Times, there was an article on some maverick advertising maven that quoted Apple's famous 1997 "Think Different" ad campaign - you know, the one with pix of Einstein, Picasso, Bob Dylan (there's even a recent campaign that puts The Thong and Kissing Lesbians alongside these greats!):

Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes - the ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them. About the only thing that you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things.

Think Diffident
This quote, a credo for Free Thinkers, explains perfectly why I have never succeeded in the business world. In fact, it's probably the anti-Mission Statement for my current municipal job where Status Quo is the Golden Calf that all prostrate themselves before, where blind obeisance to The Chain of Command is the altar on which all free thought and innovation is sacrificed. Think Diffident is the cattle call of these lemmings.

We Can Be Heroes
I admire people who live up to this Apple Credo of Intellectual Emancipation. I never had the courage of my convictions to be like these people. If I had, I would have ditched my day jobs and pursued writing, filmmaking, or broadcasting full time. Instead, I compromised, like my friend Lumpy. We took secure 9-5 jobs in fields that didn't excite us, getting our kicks doing what we wanted - making music, producing videos - as spare-time hobbies.

But I have known some intrepid souls who went for the gold, pursuing their interests at great risk to their financial stability and livelihood. Like Skizz Cyzyk (pictured left), who never compromised himself in the pursuit of making music and films, never taking a job that would intefere with his twin passions. And Martha Colburn, a latter-day saint of indie filmmaking willing to live like a squatter while pursuing her muse. And Scott Huffines (pictured right), founder of the original Atomic Books, who ditched a secure, well-paying gig with the State because he was bored out of his mind with the daily drudgery of it all and wanted to immerse himself in the the world of zines, alternative books and the fledgling World Wide Web. (These days Scott is inspired by performance artist Cornmo, who he calls the new Tyler Durden (of Fight Club fame). See Cornmo rant about "quiting your crappy job and following your dreams and sticking it to the man," then break into "We Are The Champions" by Queen: Cornmo Rant.)

Follow That Dream!

Anyway, last night I had a dream that seemed directly linked to the Apple Credo. In it, I had the chance to leave my secure, grounded world and take a chance to be a gypsy, a wanderer. The people in the dream were a bunch of hippies and bohemians I knew back in college - the last period in one's life when you're totally free, away from parental control and the discipline of headmasters, free to find out who you are and what you want to study and do with your life, free to goof off before you have to go to work (or put off work by going to Grad School!) - in the 70s, when Hippies still roamed the Earth in their pre-Phish form.

I remember my friend Jazz was in it, and some of his hippie girlfriends (how fondly I remember going skinny dipping with them when we broke into my high school swimming pool!). They were hanging out with my in my house, where I was chained to my possessions. Everyone loved all my books, and magazines, and kitsch items. We watched movies, listened to music, etc.

Freedom's Just Another Name for Nothing Left to Lose (Or Leave Behind!)
But every time they were ready to hit the road and live like gypsies with no possessions, I balked. I couldn't figure what to take with me. There was always something I was afraid to leave behind. And clothes. How could I commit, like them, to only wearing one set of clothes and living in it, forever. I couldn't do it. I had to pick out several pants, shirts, vests, jackets - summer and winter wardrobes -I was carrying a Creature Comforts Chimera on my back and I couldn't shake it! Even the lure of sex, the two hippie girls, wasn't enough. A fastidious believer in personal grooming, I was afraid that I'd have to lug along my toiletry kit and blow-dryer for the Pachouli-scented hippie girls to find me attractive.

No wonder I never get drunk and avoid drugs. I'm a control freak who can't let go and take a risk. This was the last temptation of Tom Warner to free myself from conformity and the Rat Race and follow the Pied Piper of Footloose and Fancy Free Abandon. And I couldn't do it.

And I didn't have sex with the two hippies chicks either. This constitutes a bad dream. All tease, no appease.

...the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corn Mo's rant has reinspired me, just like FIGHT CLUB did a few years ago:


4:05 PM  
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2:20 PM  

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