21. Groups are only as good as their detractors

13 Jun

I settled into a week long adjustment period just having moved in with my boyfriend, but I spent three or four days racking my brain for the end of this list.  Could it be that I DIDN’T even know 30 things to share at the age of 30?  My birthday came and went with no inspiration. I didn’t even consider the possibility that I wouldn’t be able to list 30 things,

This means the rest of this list might be or might not be bs, but that was a risk you were willing to take all along wasn’t it? 

This one isn’t bs though, I did scrape it from the bottom of a mental barrel and it smelled good and made enough sense so I think it’s worth pointing out:

Groups are only as good as their detractors.  It might be a personal preference but I always mistrusted the groups where you were never supposed to ask questions.  This included Catholic mass, NJROTC, and Tae Kwan-Do Lessons.  For Tae Kwan Do I faked an illness, for NJROTC I ditched classes, and I gave into Catholic mass because it meant a lot to my mother and because the whole business seemed scary and magical.  I replaced those cultural institutions for other more grounded diversions, like gay activism, and mainly embraced that because there was a great deal of “wiggle room.” 

Religions are meant to keep you from asking too many distracting questions.  Even progressive Christians will ignore criticism of their religion to point out how their religion is really “about community.”  On the opposite side we had something that wasn’t too entrenched like gay activism whose members could often be racist, mysoginistic, or transphobic, but I always felt I could write more directly about these problems as a gay activist than I could as a Catholic. 

I think any group where questions aren’t being asked or everyone is always providing a united front tend to veer towards toxic attitudes.  There’s an actual word for it too: Groupthink and it doesn’t apply to only large organizations but also to something as innocuous as a high school clique.

Whatever group or frat you find yourself in, look for the detractors and see how they’re treated, lest you find yourself in a cult.


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