There is a huge difference between who we are, and who we think we are.
We are all familiar with the tired movie plot about the oddball that is rejected by the group, only to prove to be the salvation of the group during a crisis at the end of the movie. The quirky kid that has a lot to offer but nevertheless is ostracized from the “cool table” in the high school cafeteria. The goth girl with mad dancing skills that is rejected by the cheerleaders, until a cheerleader falls ill before the “big competition”. They then reluctantly let the oddball join the team and she wins it all for the team that rejected her. The quiet guy that is ignored by the coach until the “big game”, then in an act of surrender or desperation the coach puts him in and he reveals previously overlooked superstar skills that bring victory for the team.
When watching a movie, you can easily see the toxic nature of the tribal nature of our society. It is easy for you to kid yourself into thinking you are better than that, that you would not be so rude as to turn your back on someone that chooses a slightly different path.
The truth is quite different. Shunning and ostracizing those that are different is alive and well in our modern society, and in our schools and neighborhoods. For group membership to have value there have to be those that are excluded from the group, and the exclusions have to be enforced by the group members.
And that exclusion is ugly.
There are two components to this social bullying. First, the tribe ignores and belittles the positive qualities of those that are deemed not fit to join the group. The second, and more damning aspect of this behavior, is turning a blind eye to the misdeeds and bad behavior of those in the group.
The title,” What Will People Think”, has no question mark because it is not a question, it is a challenge. The resident of the house does not care what people think, rather the house was uniquely painted to make people think.
The painting is intended to make people think about the disconnect between who they are and who they think they are. When watching a movie, you sympathize with the outsider and clearly see the group behavior is toxic. Yet, day to day, do you see it as clearly? Which table are you sitting at?
Image and Text © 2017 James Golaszewski