photo by Sheri Dixon

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Remember When Fringe Was Just For Bell-Bottoms?


a decorative border of thread, cord, or the like, usually hanging loosely from a raveled edge or separate strip.
anything resembling or suggesting this: a fringe of grass around a swimming pool.
an outer edge; margin; periphery: on the fringe of the art world.
something regarded as peripheral, marginal, secondary, or extreme in relation to something else: the lunatic fringe of a strong political party.
Optics . one of the alternate light and dark bands produced by diffraction or interference.

Fringe is great stuff. Take a ho-hum denim jacket and add some suede fringe and you've got style. Adorn a boring lampshade with red satin fringe and you've got a boudoir. Take a plain rear view window and staple up that little bally fringe while placing a nodding stuffed chihuahua on that shelfie thing and your car cruises with just that much more smoooooothness, Baby.

Fringe adds pizazz, embellishes elegantly or accents eccentrically.

But you have to be careful, because by its very essence fringe has a life and movement of its own, can be caught up and snagged, jammed in zippers or sucked off by the vacuum cleaner. It's sort of unpredictable that way, which is its bane and beauty both.

Human fringe is no different.

People tend to dismiss those considered "on the fringe" as tiny minorities who may be vocal enough to get attention, but don't have clout (or organizational ability) enough to do much damage. So they're good for a laugh, and some diversion, but no real cause for alarm.

But here's the thing.

Fringe People are generally very very charismatic and compelling, even in their obvious delusions. There's something outstandingly powerful and pure about a belief that's so strong it doesn't need the backing of facts behind it, no details, no debates, all black or white.

During times of social rest, The Fringe can be patted on the head and told "That's nice- here, have a cookie", and the rest of us go on, chuckling a bit behind our hand.

However, now is a time of decided social UNrest when large numbers of people are frightened, disillusioned, disheartened and worried. What our leaders are saying is not comforting but confusing, not uplifting but depressing and people want more than anything to not have to think about the bad stuff, not go on slogging through the maze of work and bills and repeat- the day to day curse of the grown-up.

People want compelling charisma. Someone to grab them by the scruff of the neck and scream "I CAN FIX THIS IF YOU LET ME." (Quieter and more soothingly)"It's going to be OK- I've got the answers right here...lemme be the grown-up for a while..."

The Fringe gathers together the fears in the night, the floating anxieties, the shadow threats with no faces, knots them together like a magician's scarves and pulls safe easy answers out of their sleeves- answers that fix everything quickly, easily and only at the expense of others very different from whoever their audience is.

It's tempting to pay no attention to The Fringe, to say "If you give them attention you'll only encourage them".

Remember that quotation "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer"?

This man needs close attention paid to him. This man is truly dangerous.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Lord, that was truly frightening. I am ashamed to have to share a country with someone like this...I'm a little scared too!