Resist the Herd // Rebels at Large

From Josh: Dennis White is one of the most creative people I know. When he's not inventing new names to call himself (Static Revenger, D-Dub, Charm Farm, and probably some others I don't know about), he's making dancefloor-packing and chart-topping remixes and original productions, innovative videos or acting as a creative director for Rebel. Plus, he mixes a mean margarita. He's entered the blogging world with a fight and we're happy to have him here.

I'm writing from the Stanley Mosque Building, Second floor, Jury Room 253. It's 8am. I was up until 2am working. This is the BEST.

No, It's not. I'm a freelancer, self employed, have to hustle to make it happen sort of citizen. Folks like me don't have the benefit of an employer paying jury duty days, nor do we have the benefit of a fellow employee being able to step in and take over our jobs for the week. I know that right now, there are at least 500,000 people meeting this description living their lives and being left alone, not to mention the retirees.

Jury duty, as necessary as it is, should be treated like what it is- a punishment. It's the anti-lottery - get an envelope, open it - Congratulations! You LOSE! DAYS of your life. And if you are really anti-lucky, maybe even WEEKS! So, let's add 'jury duty' to every speeding ticket that's 10 miles per hour and up over the limit, and the roads will be a LOT safer.

Next in line for jury duty - citizens who's place of employment offers paid jury duty days should be called for service first. Call it 'Jury First', or something VIPish. Everyone likes being first in line. Levine can figure out how to sell that. After, and only after that entire portion of the workforce has been exploited and put to good civil use, should the independently employed be called.

I've postponed jury duty 3 times, and this is it. I'm in. Prior to my last postponement, I googled 'getting out of jury duty.' There was an article that suggested that December is the time that you will be most likely to get out of jury duty - litigators on both sides are trying to shut down for the holidays so they are more inclined to settle. That's it then. December 7 it is.

No such luck for me, and I'm called to a case that goes through Christmas. Yeah, this is JUST how I'm going to spend the holidays.

I'm called into the jury selection process - 32 of us from which there will be 12 jurors and 2 alternates. The judge offers us one last opportunity to claim 'financial hardship.' Easily half of us raise our hands. We all want out. After hearing about our 'hardships', only 2 people are excused. A poor guy and another poor guy. Fair enough. The rest of us Hollywood-type freelancers with complicated sneakers are in for it.

Here's the interesting part of this experience. Six of the 15 of us that demonstrated a desire to not serve are chosen for the first round of selection. The lawyers and judge ask questions of the potential jurors. When I know that a simple 'yes' answer will legally, fairly and squarely get the same person off the jury who just moments ago was cajoling to get the hell OUT of there, I watch them answer 'no'. And these are people that seem pretty clever. They must know this. I can't understand. Until it occurs to me (after Josh hears this story and points it out, but I'm taking the time to write it, so it's MY story now) that the desire to not feel rejected, is greater that the desire to not serve. I watch this happen with each and every juror. None of these people, who clearly have better things to do with their lives, can seem to bear the thought of being rejected, now that the process has turned into some form of reality TV elimination show.

To equal parts chagrin and delight, some of the potential jurors don't make the cut. It's my turn and I'm NOT going to blow it. I'm ready. I've got NOTES taken for my proclamations of partiality. The short version is, I do such a convincing job that I get kicked out of the courtroom. Not excused during the elimination round, like everyone else, thanked for their service to the court, have a nice day, etc. I'm told, literally, to 'GET OUT' of the judges courtroom, right in the middle of the proceedings.

The lesson to me is that most people have a MASSIVE reluctance to feeling left out or rejected, even when the best thing for them, would be to opt out, or be left out. This occurs to me every time I see these 'girls gone wild' ads on TV. You get one young drunk knucklehead to take her shirt off and kiss her sorority sister, pay a bunch of attention to her in front of otherwise perfectly sane, well behaved girls, and this instinctive need to be included, to undoubtedly regret and embarrassment, kicks in. This also explains why a long line to an entrance will exist virtually next to an entrance with no one in line.

I say, resist. Resist the herd. Resist the urge to be included. You might not even be aware of it, but tune into this and take inventory next time you find yourself feeling the desire to go along with, or be included with the group. Nothing great EVER happened from someone going along with everyone else. See if you can translate this notion to every conspicuous brand logo in the shop, or in your closet, as saying 'SUCKER'. You'll save money, and no doubt dress a lot cooler.

Dennis White, making the magic

This is Dennis' second post for Rebel - check his first post on his love (read: hatred) of the internet. Then check his music and video skills at www.staticrevenger.com and ddub.com and travelriot.com.