back to the Black Table

So you've decided that you hate the establishment and reject the status quo. Good for you! Being anti-establishment can be a lot of fun, and it's great way to make new, similar-minded friends, but it can also be hard work! Fringe culture values can be wild -- some of them might even sound crazy at first! To make matters worse, people on the fringe can be scary looking and too opinionated to approach with questions!

Not to worry -- "Hypocritical Ross" is here to help! (That's an anti-establishment nickname!) These rules don't cover everything, but they should be enough to fake it at parties. If you get nervous, just remember -- they're probably not really listening to you anyway! Without further ado... on with the trashing of cultural norms!!!


Traditional Gender Roles

These are complete and utter bullshit and to be rejected at all costs. Alter your appearance to look like the opposite sex, but then pretend like you've always looked that way. If anyone says anything about it, call them a fascist. If your mom is a homemaker, kill her. Tell her you're "setting her free." Then when your dad gets home and he's all "where's my dinner," call him a fascist and kill him. If you


must breed, dress your baby in pink if it is a boy and blue if it is a girl. When the doctor says "It's a girl!" call him a fascist.

Name the child after a genderless inanimate object. Never let it play with dolls or toy guns. Instead, lock your child in a damp cellar for its formative years and give it empty spools of thread and smooth stones to play with. This way, when your child grows up, you will rest easy knowing that you never imposed oppressive gender roles on your child.



Organized Religion

Four words: "Opiate for the masses." That's all you need to say. Shake your head knowingly and repeat it. "Opiate for the masses." Then try to look a little bit sad, like you're thinking about all those poor people who are brainwashed. Don't look too sad though. You're angry. You hate organized religion. A little down the road when you get a little bit better at this antiestablishment stuff, it might be okay take up


something light -- a little Buddhism maybe -- but don't get ahead of yourself. You're new to the game. For now, stick with "opiate for the masses." Don't worry about why -- nobody will ever ask you that.




Hate Republicans regardless of your own personal political views. If you have never actually thought about your political views, keep it that way. Fringe culture thrives on uniformity, and the less you know about your actual beliefs, the better off you'll be. Instead, chant whatever everyone else is chanting at the protest and make vague references to 'The Means of Production." Don't worry about


what that means, or trifling details like what Republicans actually believe in. Thinking will probably just get you all mixed up. Wear a lot of red and carry a small notebook with you at all times. Try to look like you're thinking really hard about something, then pull out your notebook and scribble something down in it. If anyone asks you what you're writing, say you're working on your "manifesto."

If they try to engage you further, yell "No Blood For Oil!" and blow a snot-rocket on the sidewalk.



You may have heard the term "money is the new religion" thrown around. If you are anti-establishment, you believe this. Treat money as you would treat Organized Religion (see above). If you must earn money, do it in the following ways: work in an independent coffee shop or bookstore; be a bike messenger; or sell drugs. If you must spend money, do it in the following ways: Go to Art School; get


wasted at dive bars four nights a week; start a screen-printing shop; or buy lots of drugs.

NOTE: If you have a trust fund, awesome. Just don't tell anyone about it.



Science -- much like money -- is also the new religion. It is ingrained in you by the government to make you "fall in line." Beat them at their own game by believing in antiquated scientific principles. The Sun revolves around the Earth and you contain four humours. Buy a jar of leeches. You might want to avoid Phrenology and Eugenics unless you are being ironic. The point here, of course, is to defy


conventions. Bore a hole 2mm in diameter into the side of your skull to remove the microchip they put in there. Try to shoot down the satellites from a wide open space like a public park or plaza. Remember: Have fun with it! You didn't turn to the counterculture to get all hung up on Frankenfoods and Ozone holes, did you?



Hair is very important amongst rebels and free-thinkers. It is also very competitive, though. If you don't already live in New York , go there and figure out what your hair needs to look like. When you come back looking hotter than fuck-all and people say they like your haircut, act like you don't know what they're talking about. Say you haven't cut your hair in a long time.


People may start to copy your
style. Cut their hair while they are sleeping or throw sulfuric acid on it at a party. This will send a clear message: don't fuck around, motherfucker -- that's my hairstyle.


  The Actual Establishment

Essential to being anti-establishment is having a very clear understanding of the establishment itself. Watch The Daily Show as often as possible. Pay close attention to headlines from The Onion -- though humorous, The Onion often contains references to actual news events. Thumb through Fast Food Nation and feign righteous indignation. As you grow older, become gradually


more and more politically conservative. Become enraged when your children join the Green Party. Drink scotch silently in the basement of your suburban home and think about your lost youth. Wonder what the 20-year-old you would think about what you've become. Sigh deeply. Experience acute knee pain. Dismiss the 20-year-old you as a naive idealist, go upstairs, and fall asleep on the couch watching CNN.


Ross Wolinsky is an office-drone and would-be freelance writer in Chicago. He has a zine called Hypocritical Mass, a blog and can totally kick your ass at Marble Madness.