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A Party is a Party
Do you ever feel overwhelmed with conflicting information? So many voices clamor for your attention that you feel that you have parachuted directly into the midst of a badly organized bunking party. Everyone there is animated and excited. Trying to look and sound more astute than they are, most speakers appear rather ridiculous. Shrill voices talk loudly over one another. Each voice pretends to understand topics, but no one can finish their thought before another interrupts. So, you never really understand what anyone is truly saying. Each speaker just hopes that others at the party know less than she does so she can impress. Yes, an immature bunking party seems the perfect analogy for what I’ve been experiencing lately.
For those who have never experienced a bunking party let me explain how a bunking party works. The first order of business is to include some and exclude others. Inclusion has little to do with friendships, shared values, or interests. Those in the excluded group often value the same things as those who are included. Indeed, inclusion may be determined by something as simple as who would look good standing next to you. Or, inclusion may be about reciprocity. I invite you to my party, so you invite me to yours. I do you a favor. You do me a favor. Friendships may end because of one bunking party, as excluded friends become viewed with suspicion or deemed the enemy.
Experiences at the party are designed to strengthen the “Us vs Them” mentality. Party time is rarely spent discussing plans and strategies to better the party goers, but is instead spent talking trash about those who are not at the party. Fun is made of things as insignificant as someone’s chosen hairstyle. Other times conversations get truly cruel, assigning labels such as mentally incompetent to one not at the party. Past mistakes of the excluded folks are revealed, revised, and reviewed. Discussing vicious rumors, based on precariously stacked facts, provides the entertainment. Mean, yes, but necessary to justify why some folks are included and others excluded. Cruel is cool at most party events.
Identities blur at teen bunking parties. Standing up for what you firmly believe in is mocked. You may be labeled very Catholic, overly white, or insufficiently green. Firm convictions are viewed with skepticism and sarcasm. Right? Wrong? No need to think about that. Right is what those included at your party say. Wrong is anything the excluded support. Just keep everyone happy who might invite you to the next party.
Perhaps you have never been to a teen bunking party, yet something about this bunking party business sounds very familiar. Could it be the parties you have viewed in the media? Political parties? Hmm, there do seem to be some similarities.
Contributed by Carolyn Primm