My heroes have long been the freaks and degenerates of the world, those eccentrics who start with little, survive as subversives and deviants inside the "mainstream" (or, to use a phrase I hate even more, the "mainline"), and then somehow hit the big time. In answer to the question, "What is the most overrated virtue?" I employ the immortal words of one Jackie Beat -- "Good taste." The ones who defy convention and take the world by storm, and even the ones who never make it onto the map, are the mujahadin of my life, and challenging the "culture" and the social norms of the times is my jihad.
This used to occur in downtown Winston-Salem on the butch stroll -- Liberty Street lined with drag queens, hustlers, prostitutes, queers, cruisers and gawkers. I think a combination of AIDS, the internet, and gentrification led to the inevitable -- no one is downtown anymore. Winston wasn't much, but even New York has changed and less and less people spit in the eye of expectations and more and more people just try to be rich and normal.
I have found myself living a life of obscurity and mediocrity, settled into "mainline" employment and doing such necessary things as paying bills and letting people exploit me. However, I take comfort in the fact that at least I'm not that worst of things to be -- ordinary. And I take comfort in the words of Dorian Corey, from Paris is Burning:
"I always had hopes of being a big star. But as you get older, you aim a little lower. Everybody wants to make an impression, some mark upon the world. Then you think, you've made a mark on the world if you just get through it, and a few people remember your name. Then you've left a mark. You don't have to bend the whole world. I think it's better just to enjoy it. Pay your dues, and just enjoy it. If you shoot an arrow and it goes real high, hooray for you."
After her death in 1993, friends discovered a trunk containing an actual homemade mummy, covered in baking soda and wrapped in leatherette, in her apartment with a note attached stating, "This poor soul broke into my apartment and I was forced to shoot him." The corpse was figured to have been dead for about twenty years, which means it was moved from apartment to apartment over the years.
I'm for self-defense and not necessarily for murder, but Dorian Corey and this situation speaks to me. In fact I have a select group lined up to, upon my death or disapperance, infiltrate the home before parents or police arrive, and remove my own proverbial skeletons from the closet. But maybe I should just leave them there. That, or live forever.