What's Your Herd?
As I was going over the newspapers, very fat on the weekend, I couldn't help marvelling at the fashion sections. Spots are "in", as in those of the leopard, a creature becoming scarcer as hunters pursue its skin. Coats, bags, skirts, boots are to have spots, but also stripes and swirls in spots. These patterns will indeed be everywhere, from $20 to $1000 or so, depending on what store you patronize, which is an odd word when you reflect on how very much they patronize you. You are, of course, being herded once again, depending on your age, wealth, where you live, and so on and on. You belong to many herds.
At the centre of this issue is the need to belong. First at home, then in the schoolyard, in Tim Hortons or McDonald's, in your church of choice, we must belong, and belong to the right grouping. On a larger level, wars are fought and "enemy" identities exterminated. And still, we believe in free will and intelligent choice. We look with scorn or pity on flocks of sheep or herds of cattle, following anything but freedom or any choice of their own, either as individuals or groups. Really, what is the difference between us and them?
This is not all bad, of course. We have the comfort, the security, of not being exposed. We have our philanthropists, our hospitals, our jails for our support and protection. It is natural to identify (and to identify with) your herd. As for myself, God Save the Queen, I say!