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Unformatted text preview: ing. So
a large part of manners and courtesy concern themselves with the formulae of conduct which avoid this result
to others, and we are also enjoined to conduct ourselves so that others will not regard us as inferior. We speak
of a man as a "low person" if he eats with his knife, and very few things so humiliate us as the knowledge that
we have behaved in an unmannerly way. One of the great purposes, then, is to be conventional, to behave,
dress and "look" according to an accepted standard, one that is laid down for age, sex and social station. There
are people to whom convention is truly almost holy, and true to our principle of variability, there are others
who hate convention.
Because many writers have shot shafts of satire and ridicule at convention and custom, and because of the
enormous reading public, the artificial nature of convention has been emphasized to that large part of the
community that desires to be different merely for the sake of being different, and there is built up a
conventional unconventionality. It has become the mark of the artist, the great in spirit, to be unconventional
(at least in novels), and so there are a hundred "unconventional" poseurs to one genuinely free in spirit.
Anything that becomes a dogma or a cult is not unconventional, for it is the standard or the custom of a group.
Most Bohemians, so-called, are poseurs and conventionalized to their marrow. And most of the really
unconventional are "freaks," "odd sticks" whose grotesque individualities cannot conform. But in the mass of
the unconventional one finds here and there, like nuggets of gold in sand, the true reformers of the world.
The "poseurs" in custom have their analogies in the pompous, over-dignified and over-important; the affected,
in a word. Affectation is felt to be a disharmony between the pose and the inner values or an attempt to win
superiority or "difference" of a superior kind by acting. In either case it excites ridicule, hatred or disgust, and
shafts at it form part of the stock in trade of the satirist, humorist a...
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- Spring '11