“A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself.” So said the sage Ferris Bueller way back in 1986. I was a sophomore in high school in the Chicago area when this movie came out, so naturally I was highly influenced by it. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the movie (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), stop what you are doing immediately and go watch it.
Then, a couple of years later the movie Pump Up the Volume was released. I was living in Northern Maine at the time and this one resonated with me as well… “You see, there’s nothing to do anymore. Everything decent’s been done. All the great themes have been used up. Turned into theme parks.” Again, if you are not familiar, stop what you are doing… well you know the drill.
During an amusing interaction on the interwebs a few days ago, I commented to a friend of mine that I was proclaiming myself a Surrealist Dudeist. Now that was almost wholly tongue in cheek, but I went on to say that I would likely write a new blog post about it. So I looked up surrealism… another –ism. Turns out the sound of the word is more appealing to me than the meaning. Dudeism is a little different; this particular –ism resonates a bit more with me, but it is still an –ism and as Ferris has taught us, these are not good.
So then there is all this business about a new pope; “We have a new pope.” is a statement I heard more than once yesterday. “We?” We who? I don’t have a pope. What would I want one of those for? Not even sure what one does with one. Sooooo, of course this all has got me thinking. Thinking about formality and structure and, well –isms.
If one were to look up “ism” on the interwebs, one might find this, “In Late Latin, the -ismus suffix became the ordinary ending for names of religions and ecclesiastical or philosophical systems or schools of thought…”, followed not far behind by this, “The narrowed sense of forming terms for ideologies based on the belief of superiority…” ultimately it is a suffix, one that “forms abstract nouns of action, state, condition, doctrine”… by the way all this and more can be found here: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/-ism
To quote Ferris again, “I quote John Lennon ‘I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.’ A good point there.” And so I ask myself, “Do I believe in me?” followed almost immediately by, “What the HELL does that mean?” It all makes me feel slightly schizophrenic… and subsequently reminds me of another movie quote, “How am I not myself?”
What I am beginning to realize is that, where some people will look to –isms, of one sort or another for guidance – philosophical edicts, bible verses, etc. – I tend to pull my guidance from thoughts about (and perhaps ideals formed by or at least based on) movies… does that make me a cinemist? Good grief…
Extra points if you got that last “quote”…