Monday, February 21, 2011

Who cares?

I am in the mood to preach again.
Looking at this 10+ years old photo of the most important things in my life.
The kids, the books, the bikes, & the clays.
This brings me to my diatribe based on biased observation.
I genuinely care what people think, I suppose I always have & will.
I want the kids to be proud of me, hopefully a book will provide an answer, the bikes are a selfish life long impulse, & the sculptures are an urge.
If I love you, like you, admire you, or appreciate you in any way, I want you to recognized me.
Even if I completely disagree with someone I like, on any subject, I still enjoy them.

What my question is to anyone reading this self indulgent rant, is why do my rock star friends & my awkward kid's friends claim;

"I don't care what other people think!"

I don't buy it.

The guy who gets up, pulls the sweater that his grandma bought him 4 birthdays ago, because it is the top one on the pile his mom put in his closet for him, does this in the dark, so it is completely random if it matches his pants & goes to a job that required the least amount of his effort to obtain. That ruler doesn't care what people think.

Me, in my stinky unwashed old Levis, beat up Wescos or my perfectly pressed small tag Dickies & pleated Pendleton, my Langlitz jacket & hand made hat, my goatee & slicked back hair... you get it, I care.

You, with your Stacey Adams, wife beater & tattoos, you care.
You, with your long hair, died hair or shaved head, you care.

So why do I hear & read so many people say;

"If I really cared about what other people think, I wouldn't have pursued Rock & Roll music- I'd still be pushing a mop."

In the motorcycle community, I hear something like, "I wear leather, have tattoos, long hair & ride a loud bike, because I don't care what people think.

Skaters, Surfers, Bikers, Punks, Vatos, Rockers, Emos, Rock-a-billies, Car Builders & perhaps most of all, Artists all claim not to care what other's think, yet I honestly believe it is quite the opposite.

All these super neat & interesting people are just that, because they care, maybe not what their mom thinks, but most certainly, what their peers think.

I have been thinking about this claim for decades.
There was a girl in high school who I had a terrible crush on.
She woke up several hours before school each day & got into full Siouxsie Sioux attire... I loved her for it, but in Psychology class when she said "I dress this way because I don't care what people think", I disagreed, in front of everybody, and we went from being friends to acquaintances.
I get what happened then... never was clever with the ladies, but I wonder if she still thinks that in high school she really didn't care what people thought.

Are my adult friends & my kid's friends who claim, not to care, really that punk rock/hardcore/anti-social & it is just insecure me who dwells on this trite stuff, or do nonconformists just conform to nonconformity?


  1. Sure would like to meet you one of these days, not that many straight talking individuals around these days, especially the artist type.
    Perhaps what you haven't realized is that so many people, especially those artists, are so damaged and self centered that they don't have the where withall to look that far within themselves to even have a clue how they feel about themselves, let alone the other guy.
    It takes a certain amount of self respect to respect another enough to give a damn what he thinks. I believe you to be a soul who was raised in a home where family mattered and wisdom was valued. It shows in everything that you do that you do your very best to create the best thing that you can.
    It is obvious in the amount of labor involved in your creations, that you love what you do. Many people who call themselves artists are just lucky to have been born with a talent. I don't know anyone who invests the kind of time and effort that it takes to make just one of your timeless artifacts.
    You Sir are cut from a different grain, you are not the average braindead artists who's self indulgence disconnects them from what is real. You are very connected to what the world IS, you carry, cut, machine, melt, and indure the heat that goes along with this art of yours. That is REAL stuff and I would propose that being in touch with the real, makes YOU real as well.
    I would also propose that those who are deeply involved with things that are etherreal or primarily significant as apposed to mass, find themselves somewhat etthereal and primarily significant. I hope you understand what I'm trying to say here, it's a difficult thing to get across.
    Lets just say, I think you're saner than those who would say they don't give a shit what other people think.

  2. Bravo, another great rant!
    Lately I have been thinking and wondering the same things. People says they don't care but try so hard to fit in.
    I do care but it is about my family and true friends. They accept me for the person I am. Thank you for being one of the good guys in my life,
    Lisa Ballard

  3. Your post brought to mind a poem I remember from grade school...

    High Ho silverware,
    Tonto lost his underwear,
    Tonto said "Me no go buy another pair".

    I don't think Tonto really did care.

  4. Love/hate

    Care/don't care



    Sometimes something can simultaneously be its opposite. So you were right, but Siouxsie-girl wasn't lying either.

  5. Guy, I understand to appreciate the sweet we must taste the bitter.
    Light & dark, good & evil are all complements that create a whole.
    But I knew Siouxsie-girl & I agree, she wasn't lying, but was definitely in denial.

  6. In one of Henry Rollins books there was a quote "put on your non-conformist uniform" that sums it up pretty well. If you conform, you care, even if it outside most social norms you are still trying to fit in with your peers.

  7. Ah, the social psychological discourse on identity issues. I love this stuff. Extremely fascinating to me.

    We are all human animals and we conform in one way or another. Knowing that we ARE conforming is the freedom of choice.

    "Not caring what others think" is not as black and white as some make out. It's context. If a 5 year old says my bike is ugly I laugh, if a close friend that I admire says its ugly, I care.

    Emotional attachments with others allow for the response of caring. So, in a sense if we admire someone, even if we don't know them, their opinion's about our personal work will and can effect us. Recognizing that and still not caring, or choosing not to care is the difficulty.

    Nonconformist truly know what being alone means.

    Good stuff Jeff.

  8. I could give two shits about what some people think about me, honeslty I can't say everone but I do care what my peers think. Absolutely without a doubt and always have. Those times in my life I tried to convince myself otherwise where usually times I was disappointed in myself.
    I want to do good things and I want to be thought of in a good way. I want to have a positive impact on others. Just like in school when it wasn't cool to be smart some groups perpetuate that immature ideology with the whole Fuck everyone else mentality. So I say fuck some, love the rest.

    ps those that hate the most are the ones in most need of a hug.

  9. Jeff,

    I would suggest to you that the thing that separates you from many is that you truly THINK. A lot folks don't.
    I still sometimes worry about what others think, but not too often anymore. The turning point came when I spent some time studying myself. Astrology, Philosophy, and a Briggs-Meyer Assessment put me on the right path. No the process never stops but many questions are now known. And the quest has brought some peace.
    When I go for a beer I wear my leather jacket and Alpine Star motocross boots because I simply like too.
    To the haters: Save it, don't care what you think. Would care what Jeff thinks, but never what the hater thinks.

  10. best post EVER!
    im one of the many people that would love to sit down for a coffee (or what ever else) and talk about this one for hours. give me a shout next time your in vancouver!

  11. Most people who say they dont are the ones who care and try the hardest. Artists are generally the worst... and usually the worse the art, the worse the pretentious attitude. They say they don't care with an underlying desire for you to respond with how great they are.

    Human ego is just a natural part of what all of us are, everyone wants what we consider to be our talents to be recognized by at least the people we respect.

    Case in point, if you, Jason Jessee, or Max Schaaf walked up to my bike and said you liked it, it would mean a lot more than the guy at the 7-11 who "had one just like it" and then asks if its a Harley.

    Its cool when something you made is appreciated at all, but you care a lot more when someone you view as knowing something about your work sees something special in it. The opposite is also true, if the guy at the gas station says your bike sucks, you don't care because you feel like you know better than he does, but when someone you respect says so, it stings for a lot longer...

  12. I think the bigger problem is that few people are strict about the language they use. They say things that sound strong or important such as, "I don't care what anyone thinks," without holding up what they've communicated against how they act or how they feel.

    The Siouxsie Sioux lookalike from Jeff's high school wasn't going to change her behavior simply because it brought her attention and criticism. To that degree she didn't "care" about what others thought she should do or how she should act.

    Don't fool yourself, however, she was getting off on the fact that people had a response to her behavior. To that degree she very much cared about what others were thinking and how they felt about her -- she wasn't looking for acceptance, though.

    Boiling down that nuanced an idea into a statement wouldn't make much of a battle cry. It doesn't really fit on a punk-rock button or as a line on a three-piece patch. That's why people say, "I don't care what you think." It sounds cooler than "I've crafted this identity to cause a certain negative response in you. The more you stare the better I feel. You're noticing me, right?"

  13. Yes, there is a difference between you caring about yourself and your appearance and you caring about acceptiance and understanding from those who are different from you or have another perspective.
    I have a brother who is an engineer in D.C., is an ex-military officer, drives a porsche, wears preppy clothes, and does everything a preppy person would do. I live in Pittsburgh, ride a chopped harley or a chopped jeep, am into punk rock, art, motorcycles, etc, wear boots every day.... and we are good friends and get together often.
    Do I care what he thinks? yes. Does it matter to me that he understands why I would show up in a 1930's style Brixton newsboy cap? No.

  14. Any bit of rebillion will become a uniform after it's decided that it's the cool thing to do. I see kids argue all the time about some band "not being punk rock" because their album doesn't sound like a tenth generation Ramones rip-off or they don't all have Sid haircuts or whatever. And it's like "holy shit!" the whole point of people being punks was to be themselves and do whatever the fuck they wanted. That's the point of rebellion. If you think it has rules, you've missed the whole point.
    But I don't bother actually saying anything. They'll either get it eventually or they won't.
    I'm 35 now and have spent my whole life listening to punk music but I no longer have to come home from work and change into "punker clothes" to prove myself. I see people who have discovered the music I love a week ago and now parade around with green food coloring in their hair and I just smile to myself.
    I don't NEED to care what they think. I just let people do what they want and have fun and get over it.
    I doesn't mean I don't care about being me or looking good... but the best thing to do is just shrug your shoulders and be happy.

  15. It's simple. We do care what people think. What we mean to say is: We don't care if we are accepted or understood by everyone. We may value a negative reaction as much as a positive one. Many of my heroes wear their values on their sleeve. Maybe it's a way to communicate honestly.
    Man I loved DeathRock girls in high school. Rosa Greenbaum, short skirt, leather jacket.

  16. Shes bought a hat like princess marinas
    To wear at all her social affairs
    She wears it when shes cleaning the windows
    She wears it when shes scrubbing the stairs
    But you will never see her at ascot
    She cant afford the time or the fare
    But shes bought a hat like princess marinas
    So she dont care

    Hes bought a hat like anthony edens
    Because it makes him feel like a lord
    But he cant afford a rolls or a bentley
    He has to buy a secondhand ford
    He tries to feed his wife and his family
    And buy them clothes and shoes they can wear
    But hes bought a hat like anthony edens
    So he don t care

    Buddy can you spare me a dime
    My wife is getting hungry
    And the kids are crying
    This poverty is hurting my pride
    Buddy can you spare me, buddy can you spare me a dime

    Shes bought a hat like princess marinas
    And her neighbors think it suits her a treat
    But she hasnt any food in the larder
    Nor has anybody else in the street
    But to look at her youd think she was wealthy
    cos she smiles just like a real millionaire
    cos shes bought a hat like princess marinas
    So she dont care, she dont care, she dont care, she dont care

    I bought a hat like anthony edens
    made by Christy's of London
    and I went to Church with my boyfriend and he left me to sit in my car while he went with friends. I got a VIP membership at "Steam Works" and went in alone. I am married but she does not want me in her life. I need someone to hold me, some one to hold.

  17. mr jeff... that was deep!

    really nice words!
    i have to admitt that me too i say sometimes: who cares!!!

    ...but then.. actually.. I CARE.. A LOT!


    i'm glad we met in verona..
    i had so many things to ask u, before meeting..
    but there, in the fiera, too crouded.. too confusing.. no time to think about talking more that a hi & the compliments!


    next time!

    take care

  18. Would think in most situations people care, except for two; diffused responsibility (SEP)and when they are doing/saying something of their nature or heart's desire aka- wants.

  19. Many years ago, back in college, there was this kid from Ireland we hung out with sometimes. He dressed like a "punk" (or whatever the right word would be): tight leopardskin pants, a multi-colored mohawk, piercings, a few tattoos as I recall. Very out of the "mainstream" at the time. One day a girl we were with said, "Oh, I admire him so much. He just doesn't care what anybody else thinks about how he looks." My friend, who dresses quite "normally," said, "Oh, give me a break! He's as afraid to look like me as I am to look like him." That always stuck with me.

  20. Excellent, straight-shooting post, Jeff.

    Dr Suess says:
    "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."

  21. This is something I have been pondering myself, albeit in 2016. I, too care. I am not afraid to admit it anymore. I want people to understand that there is more to me than meets the eye and regardless of how I look, I am still a good and kind person who deserves love and happiness just like everyone else on the planet. I think everyone is lying and the opposite is closer to the truth. We are all just a bunch of kids looking for acceptance and anyone who is unwilling to give that to other people should take a look at themselves before judging another soul crying out.