Every high school student’s perspective of those around them is shaped by many things ranging from that student’s perception of themselves, their self-esteem, and their personal beliefs. There are those you befriend, those you simply tolerate, those you never noticed, but most importantly – those intriguing individuals that I guarantee you admire without knowing why. Truthfully, in the turn of the century, an end to common cliques has brought upon an atypical rendition of Hamlet’s bold line: “To follow, or to be followed?” In an analysis of the “misinformed”, “brutally insecure”, “Bible thumpers”, and the “cynical atrocities”, this line is made blatantly clear in all populations of high school attendees.
The “misinformed” of high school are those who are pinnacle examples of students the class instructors must beg to focus on academics, or anything other than their social tendencies. They must be pled with to see past the blinding fame of student government success, the roaring cheers from the ever-inspiring pom line, or the truly revolutionary football team. Does anything else matter? Why would it, when of course they will play football in college? Who needs honors classes for that? When, of course, why wouldn’t their SAT score get them into the State University just fine? Of course, they wouldn’t know that being accepted into such schooling only requires half of the total SAT points to be achieved. The “misinformed” of high school are simply just that- incredibly misguided. They would fit into any classic early 2000s teen movie – as the popular, well loved, and blinded teen who wholeheartedly believes that high school is really the “best four years of their lives.”
These are the girls that can blend into a crowd of over straightened and poorly dyed hair, slipping grades, and trashy football parties very easily. These are the adolescents that believe all an A on a math test takes is coercing the TA into giving out the answers, whatever that coaxing may entail. The question for the majority becomes whether or not to befriend these individuals and hope their density doesn’t rub off on you, or whether to simply follow in their shadows until you can slip into one of their “high end” weekend parties. Regardless of your specific choice, the misinformed of high school end up being blindly worshipped by a population that (hopefully) realizes there is more to life than texting, trash talking, and taunting.
Unlike the days of “Mean Girls” and “Clueless”, no one actually follows the supposed “gorgeous” girls of high school. How rude and stereotypical would that be of millennials? Instead, the insecure, previously overshadowed males and females of the school system are popularized, and finding flaws within yourself is a process of being uplifted – and in turn followed by the masses. You my feel as if you’re doing a favor to the majority by simply placating those who are insecure. After all, who doesn’t love equality between all weights, facial features, and incomes? However, those who support this system are realistically full of malicious intent. It isn’t supporting those that aren’t sure of themselves that make them happy – it’s the “good deed” they feel they are contributing to society, and putting down those that do feel entirely confident in the looks and intellect, without identifying any flaws. By the process of identifying the insecure and popularizing them, it is made a crime to be what one can perceive as being well off in both physical and mental aspects and not feel guilty for it. If you are perceivably “attractive”, “fit”, or “intelligent”, it is made a practice to condition those to lack recognition for their positive attributes, and instead guiltily support those that cannot satisfy their own needs of self-appreciation.
Truly this popularization is a game of lies and hidden pity, and has become a game that most high schoolers play far too well. The insecure you see are males and females, embarrassed of some aspect of their physicality, attractiveness, or intelligence; however, publically strut around the campus flaunting their mangy hair, covering cotton attire, and too poor work ethic to improve themselves in anyway. Although these embarrassments may be well manageable things, there are those that do not feel the same pangs of self-consciousness and attempt to make those less socially fit in these regards feel the same as they do. The Victoria’s Secret ridden, flip flop clad, cake-faced makeup wearing girls fall in false love with these “lower caste” people, and their position in society is maintained behind a shield of friendship. This spreads lies of commitment, promotes the lack of relative self-improvement, and alienates those that do not follow in this same practice. “Vote for her in StuGo!” (So that I look like I care about those without thighs as thin as mine). “He is such a fun guy!” (I love being nice to get his more attractive brother to notice me).
Over 75% of American students identify themselves as Christian. A smaller number of these students can be considered “Bible Thumpers.” The negative connotation I am associating with the term “Bible Thumper” is derived from a simple inferiority complex that many teens falling into this category display. A church following can be a large part of anyone’s life, generally for a purpose of spiritual and self-enlightenment. However, many find it absolutely necessary to attend large church gatherings as a social event, and to gain “brownie points” with other “good do-ers” in high school. Student government is seen chalked- full of these individuals, who go to church to socialize, have a common talking point, and to put themselves on a pedestal that they feel no one can suppress. Since almost no one dares to point this out in fear of being seen as “attacking religion”, I will earnestly say that many attendees of church in the adolescent age are stemmed from the wrongful idea of superiority to those that do not attend, and it is a pivotal popularity point at this day in age. Going to church, in the minds of these “Bible Thumpers”, prevents any negative accusation from being held against them. “He wouldn’t have done that last weekend… All of his friends go to church with him!” might be a common statement from those who desire to provoke an altercation with one “Bible Thumper”. Where as one female, (not in the church following), might be fully accused of dressing risqué, the female who couldn’t bother to find a skirt to cover more than her stomach will be given a pass, as “no one” is judged like so in the “Eyes of God”. When were God’s judgment abilities passed down to the 16 year olds of high school? Where in the scripture, (that I can guarantee they have not read), does it say one can be persecuted based on their activity in the social activities of church? I urge you to think about that the next time the most active “proper” girl from social church goes to Homecoming like the rest of us, tries to act above her actions, and puts you down. I dare you to ask the ‘greater than thou’ “Bible Thumper heathen next to you when the church told him to cheat on his girlfriend? (It didn’t, as adultery is forbidden: Leviticus 20: 10). These are the males and females that dress as scandalously as the rest of us, cuss as much as any of us, and mistreat others just as much as anyone in this room – yet choose to feed their inferiority complex with a social involvement in the Church with their fellow “Bible Thumpers”.
Lastly come the most aloof, distinct, and forbidding group of the followed – the “cynical atrocities”. These are the people whom are the most put together, having perceivably everything in life their (unintentional) followers wish they had. They are males and females almost no one dares to speak to, (these atrocities are too arrogant to speak to), yet seems to know everything about. Other than the parties, church groups, and social events highschoolers love to discuss- they can always talk about much everyone hates this person. “Do you actually know her though?” “No, but I’ve seen her Instagram – and its all totally true.” These “cynical atrocities” live off of this received hate; it becomes a game to remain as mysterious as they can. The blind worship they gain is not by false advertisement, lack of intellect, or actual hostile actions – simply by being unknown. The masses want to know them, want to be the person to “figure them out”, want to be the guy to prove they really are so cynical to those who do not dare to try. Can they?
The “cynical atrocities” are the girls and guys that would’ve been truly popular in a day of ‘beguiling faces’ running the school. They would be idolized for their intellect, if anyone knew they had a brain under the weight of such an ego. But even more frustratingly to their followers is in addition to the desirable facial qualities, societally adept body, and a social life behind an unfathomable curtain of mystery; they also have a type of popularity no one else can manage. Their following can never be broken, as the masses will always be sheep afraid of the “atrocity’s” intent. In the grand scheme of high school popularity, the “cynical atrocities” may never be able to be beat.
After this last classification, I could add a final category to those once or currently in high school – the hostile. This would be the category any reader of this classification would fall under, as you likely feel I have either attacked you or someone you know with my pessimistic observations. Perhaps you even find my observations erroneous, or you feel there must be something wrong with my perception of the followed student body. This is precisely the argument meant to be sparked inside you, as you are now stuck in an enthralling paradox. You could simply agree with my classifications, and not contrarily say that yes, these are the types of blindly worshipped individuals in high school. However, you’d then either acceptingly classify yourself into one of these four categories and under “to be followed”, or not classify yourself and consequently “follow”. However, disagreeing with or being negatively triggered by my classifications would also push you under the umbrella of “to be followed” or “to follow”. Therefore, you would be wrongfully proven by the Ad Hominem argument. If you were to disagree, you’d say that my classifications were impertinent and untrue, and you’d justify that with feelings of being classified or knowing someone you feel has been unjustifiably classified. However, as these classifications are merely observations – you would have to attack my own opinion and view of the student body. This directly proves the Ad Hominem Argument true – which is either attacking a person’s character rather than their argument, by stating that my classifications were “rude”, or appealing to one’s prejudices or emotions rather than reason, by saying you or a friend fits into a category, which makes it “untrue” because you are in the category. Either way, you will consistently be either followed or be following, and will be a victim of the Ad Hominem logical fallacy.