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Spiders of Diversity

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The darkest, fiercest talent of his time, Edgar Allan Poe, weaved tales of terror and gore and criticized many writers held in high respect to society today. His morbid stories and intense parables sent shudders through readers and left them craving for more. Today in this society, you can buy a plush toy made of him or a small cloth bird resembling a raven. Perhaps it is our want for material things to show others our intelligence—that my lunch box with Poe’s face on it will convince others that I’m someone so intelligent that I can interpret his dark web of lyrical genius. It is our thriving to be completely different from everyone around us that pushes plastic sewers to reduce someone of such high intelligence and twisted imagination to a tiny face on a keychain. Teens these days call others ‘posers’, but every single one of them is. The T-shirts with Darth Vader on the front, the pocket pen with the light resembling one from Doctor Who—they all add up to one thing; humanity’s urge to show others that they are different. They may fool themselves into thinking they are unique from their peers, but hopefully eventually they will realize that, in their quest of diversity, they are all exactly the same. The interests may be different, but the absolute need to set themselves apart from even their friends makes them all the same Powder-Puff Girl lunchbox-toting teens and preteens. As soon as they realize how similar they are to their fellow man and woman, the sooner these rivalries and controversy will lessen. It will never completely disappear; it would be a shame if it did. There will always be a new spider in the web, ready to spin its thread across another’s just to get their hairs feathered. But this bullying because another is different, or they are jealous of this other person and don’t want to admit it. It is this insane pride in themselves that is the problem with people labeled as the common bully; some go unlabeled, but they are still there, even if they don’t realize it. But it is guaranteed that both the bully and their victim have the same drive to push them apart from each other. Teens—and adults also, though it is more prevalent in teens—think of themselves as so above others; even if they are not common bullies, they think themselves wiser or smarter than others. It is ridiculous considering they are the same. Their experiences may be unique, and they are influenced by different events and people, but they are exactly the same. Poe was influenced uniquely by the death of his parents, wives, mother, brother, his poverty, etc., but his critical lashings at other authors shows that same deep connection to the rest of humanity, that need to be different that perhaps spawned into jealousy as it so commonly does. Humanity’s need to show others how diverse they are distracts from actual literary works; I could go right now and buy an Edgar Allan Poe keychain without having ever read the Raven or understanding the representation of arrogance of man even in the face of death by the red mask in The Masque of Red Death. These shirts and hats and all types of paraphernalia convince us that we know everything about the subject it has printed, or that we know enough to convince others that we know more than we actually do. We have to impress our fellow humans, but do the least work possible to actually do something impressive. Poe did not become a literary figure through carrying a coffee mug with his inspiration, Lord Byron’s face plastered on the side.

No, he became one of the most influential people of his time because he loved what he did and did what he loved; he wrote and worked for several magazines, even in poverty. His rogue, mysterious image was made profound after his death; an angry writer who had been criticized by Poe wrote a biography portraying Poe as a womanizer and drunk. His grudge and most likely jealousy ended up making Poe one of the most famous writers still to this day. This is what happens when we continue to think ourselves different than our fellow man; we disregard intelligence and tact in order to feed our need to prove our uniqueness. We are simply birds of a flock, all exactly the same though occasionally flying in a separate direction. The bullies are victims, the victims bullies, and once we stop preening our feathers and pecking our rivals, we’ll realize that the tapping at our chamber doors is simply the realization that, compared to our next door neighbor, we really aren’t different at all.

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