Bohemian, X Person, Cultural Creative, Creative Class?
By G G Collins (Copyright 2014)
Test Yourself: Are you fond of the color black and wear it often? Do you cut your hair with full bangs? Do you share your life with a cat, ferret or duck? Has the dust on your furniture achieved new heights? Is noon an early call for you? Have you written across lines, rather than between them? Can you find lavender oil on your shelves? Do you pursue creative work?
If you answered affirmatively to several of these questions, you are quite possibly a Bohemian.
In Laren Stover’s Bohemian Manifesto: A field Guide to Living on the Edge, she suggests that there are five distinct Bohemians: Nouveau (they are the only Bohemians with money), Gypsy, Beat, Zen and the Dandy. This is a fun book to read even if you’re not the slightest bit “X.” If you recognize yourself, you can’t wait to turn the page. The illustrations by IZAK are a delight.
An archetypal book on the American class system is Paul Fussell’s Class: A Guide Through the American Status System. Go straight to Chapter IX, “The X Way Out,” and then read the rest. Fussell pokes fun at everyone and you can’t help but enjoy it—although the occasional stab can hurt a little. Learn how to tell what class a person is by how he pronounces words, what she drinks or wears, even the knickknacks found in their house (never home). Although a little dated, this book is a hoot!
Richard Florida’s book The Rise of the Creative Class, is a thought-provoking read about the revolution in the workplace and the importance of place (first, second & third). Often considered a business book, it nevertheless belongs on the shelf. For a more collegiate read try The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World by Paul H. Ray, Ph.D. and Sherry Ruth Anderson, Ph.D. It defines the cultural creative and takes an in-depth look at the serious side of this renaissance, from ecology to corporate greed. See if you agree with them from the luxury of hindsight.
Throughout contemporary history there have been people who challenge the norm: the Impressionist artists, the Flappers, Beatniks, Hippies. Today’s young adults are invigorating downtowns in cities left empty by the White Flight of the 1960s. Once again our American downtowns are becoming vibrant and yes, creative.
Going against the tide takes courage. Stover had this to say: “Bohemians have the courage to reject mainstream society; to follow an ideal and forsake praise and security; to alienate family; to be, as Jack Kerouac put it, ‘yourself at whatever cost.’” Does that describe you? If so, you just might be a Bohemian.
Bohemian Manifesto: A Field Guide to Living on the Edge by Laren Stover, Bulfinch Press, 2004.
Class: A Guide Through the American Status System by Paul Fussell, A Touchstone Book by Simon & Schuster, 1983.
The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida, Basic Books, A Member of the Perseus Books Group, 2002.
The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World by Paul H. Ray, Ph.D. and Sherry Ruth Anderson, Ph.D., Harmony Books, 2000.