Let's face it - I've always been an outsider. I may be talking to you at the peace rally, or the next pro-Bush rally and the two of us are getting along and you might even think I believe whatever you are after is totally the way to go - but the odds are that I'm trying to figure out what the best angle is to photograph you from, or where the light is or what the background is. If I have the camera and am in "working mode" that's what I'm doing.
But even if I believed in whatever the marches are about, I'm simply not a joiner. I don't even like chanting slogans. When everyone is chanting: "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Bush and Cheney gotta go" I'm slightly, no more than slightly embarrassed by it. Even if the sentiment is something I agree with -- I wonder what that is. Group behavior, rather then making me feel like I'm part of some great movement, makes me wonder whether I'm part of some mindless movement. Man, if you really want to get down to it, groups of any kind are just plain dangerous because they usually ask you to leave your brain, and often your ethics at the door. Not all groups. But lots of 'em.
My father tried so hard, bless his joiner heart, to get me to join some group when I was in high school and even later in the local college. Why don't you join the local photography group; the local socialist workers group; even the Republicans. I don't care. Just join something. Be a part of the community.
Well, that's not surprising since dad was a social worker and very much the joiner. Still is. Well, finally I did make him happy. One of my philosophy teachers at college said he was organizing an anarchists group. And there was this girl that I was in love with, although looking back on it now, I guess you'd call it an infatuation since we had never spoken; and thinking back even more it is possible that I was in love with a certain flimsy sweater she wore, but enough of that. She joined. And when hands went up for anarchists, I looked at her in that sweater and I joined too.
And so the local chapter of the anarchists were formed. During the first meeting, at the home of my philosophy teacher, the subject of "rules" was broached. It was decided that we would have no rules. No minutes of any meetings. And that, being the anarchists that we were, we would not have any regular meetings. In fact, looking back, I'm guessing that we may have confused anarchy with chaos -- because that was the first and only meeting of the anarchy club and one of my few ventures in joining.
Oh, the girl in the sweater - she joined up with my professor for a while - and there was a big scandel about it which is saying a lot for the early seventies and this professor had a big part in my life as well as for some reason he recommended that I study a particular branch of philosophy at the Buffalo -- and that began a long and miserable two years in that blemish of a city (no offense if you are a Buffalonian).