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Rebel without applause

In the olden days playing the renegade was a cinch - you got a tattoo, smoked a bit of weed and strutted around burbling on about the system and how everyone except you was a sheep

Friday, 6 October 2023, 18:20

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It has become nigh-on impossible to be any kind of rebel these days. This is already the age of the individual - you only have to look at a few current advertising slogans to catch a glimpse of the zeitgeist: 'Have It Your Way' (Burger King), 'Live In Your World, Play In Ours' (PlayStation) and the perennially cringe-inducing 'Because You're Worth It' (L'Oreal).

In the olden days playing the renegade was a cinch - you got a tattoo, smoked a bit of weed and strutted around burbling on about the system and how everyone except you was a sheep. Currently, it's quite the feat to spot someone who isn't sporting a sanskrit tattoo or who doesn't advocate spending some down time with Mary Jane. Meanwhile, the interweb is awash with false prophets availing us of their dubious homespun philosophies and their in-depth knowledge of how everyone in the world is sleep-walking except them. Oh, and you, if you're watching.

So, what if you're a young, aspiring rebel, feeling a visceral urge to buck the trend but you don't know quite how to go about it? What on earth can you do? Here are some tips.

First, ditch all social media and make phone calls and emails the only way you can be contacted. This is a high stakes tactic (if nobody really likes you you'll be destined to spend the rest of your days alone in your room reading Aldous Huxley), but if you manage to pull it off you'll have more charisma than Adriana Lima at a local rugby club.

Next, become an accountant. The western world is already drowning in artists, actors, singers and 'creatives' who, generally speaking, have earned next to nothing from what, to previous generations, was known as a hobby, but they once read in a self-help book that if you dream hard enough you can become whatever you want regardless of, well you know, any actual ability. Accountants, on the other hand, don't read self-help books and get their weekends off to go rambling.

Thirdly, if you really want to be a bonafide insurgent, swot up on the art of conversation. Mastering this craft will make you really stand out from the crowd. Actually, just listening, asking a couple of questions and not talking about mortgage rates or what you just had for your dinner will, in most conventional settings, give you a gravitas similar to that of Socrates in his pomp.

The world needs its rebels and I do hope these tips will be useful to any aspiring young buck; be sure to follow them to the letter. Oh, and most important of all, don't get a tattoo.

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