I'm still enjoying the feast of extras on the ParaNorman discs... One of the brass says that the wonderful thing about the movie is that it has the message that you don't have to fit in, that sometimes your best qualities are your oddest qualities, maybe the same ones which make you a bit of an outsider.
But I think he may be overlooking that so many books and movies do that! It may even be a majority. Just think back to such a simple character as policeman McCloud from the seventies. He was a cowboy in the big city, and he was a kind of rebel, he always got chewed out by his boss because he was never "playing by the rules". But he got his man. You know the thing, it's everywhere.
I think the really weird and wonderful thing is that in stories, we all celebrate the brave misfits. But in reality, we never do! What is this fantastic, universal double standard? This great blindness?
L. Edwards said:
"...the message that you don't have to fit in, that sometimes your best qualities are your oddest qualities, maybe the same ones which make you a bit of an outsider."
That's not a very good lesson to be teaching kids, though. When you're young you have to fit in. As an adult you can be yourself. It sounds like it should be good advice to say "be yourself" but it's not - people who conform have happier - if less interesting - lives. As someone who definitely didn't fit in, but also someone whose quirks didn't lead to fame and fortune (although I woudln't have wanted the fame) I'd trade that for just having been normal.
I think this gets into a very deep area. Very difficult to put hard rules there.
I will do a little to fit in, I never had any weird haircuts for example. But beyond a certain point you just can't change yourself. Not without committing violence to yourself.
And while it's admittedly very difficult to learn, I do believe that it's healthy to work towards not caring too much what others think.
But sure, it's true that it makes for a smoother life if you whittle down a bit of the worst of the edges which poke others too much. If one doesn't try to get along, energy is wasted on conflict which could be used constructively.