Dean Clough

February 22, 2023

Portico Darwin: What It's Like Not Being Seen


<3 Minute Read
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As I've worked to understand the dynamics of identity politics, one thing that is obvious is the reasonable desire for people heretofore ignored (or worse) by society to be heard.  And (although I hate this Wokistan term) seen.  I believe that is a major reason people have taken to deeming themselves queer, incel, or asexual - they want an acknowledged and visible identity among the general public and want a seat at tables that matter.  Even if it requires the creation and marketing of a non-existent third gender to do so.

Although it is indeed nuanced, it's probably clear from my recent writings that I don't agree with that approach, if equality is the goal.  In fact, I say that elevating anyone for no reason apart from who they are (black, female, white, gay, etc.) doesn't level the playing field, it does the opposite - how could it not?

But you might think - because I don't agree with special treatment or silos for people - that I don't understand the pain that comes with being scorned, or worse, ignored.  Well, you'd be mistaken. 

Because the fact is, at a critical time in my life, I was one of those people.  And it is something that still comes to mind occasionally, even now, some 45 years (and a lot of fun and interpersonal success) later. 

I refer to this period as when "I was ruled out of the clan".  It is when - in the middle of puberty and in 10th grade in high school - all of my closest friends unceremoniously tossed me out of our group.  I remember it like it was yesterday.

We had all planned during the day to meet up and go to a basketball game at our high school that night.  I called everyone, and each of their parents or siblings told me "Well, Portico, they already left for the game."  But no one had called me; I got the real message anyhow. 

Suffice to say the school bus ride the very next morning was not fun, as guys that were my best pals just the day before now looked away and ignored me completely.  It was the same at school.  And that was just day one.

Indeed, I was out and in the wilderness for the next 18 months, including all of the 11th grade.  I was definitely not seen and I had no seat at any table, starting in the cafeteria. 

I write this to vividly illustrate why even I - a cisgender white man of some privilege today - can at least begin to relate with others not as fortunate or accepted.  Because not having close friends at that important time was not easy.  If it's possible without having adult responsibilities, it was, in fact, one of the worst periods of my life.

But while I bet my friends then (we reconciled early in my senior year) would handle it differently now, the whole thing was actually for the best.  I instantly, vividly and at a relatively young age experienced how awful it was not to be a part of the cool group.  That was the beginning of me trying to relate to the plight of others, although I didn't even hear the word empathy nor understand its real meaning for many more years.

As important, I realized that I was the problem - in other words, this incident was a foundation for self-awareness.  If you think I am loud and obnoxious now, you should have seen me in the 10th grade.  I was even worse with my talent for saying stupid things at the wrong time, and I paid a fairly steep price.  But it forced me - even at that age - to realize that my personality could really cause me trouble if I weren't careful. 

Fast forward to today, and many of you that know me personally are probably laughing and thinking, "You're careful now?"  

Fair enough, but I guess you'll just have to believe me when I say I would never really want to upset you or anyone, with anything I say or do.  Or write:  another reason for this piece today is because my spotlighting of The Psycho Woke could lead some to believe I don't care about those that don't look like me or share my heritage. 

Wrong.  At a formative time, I learned what it's like to be on the outside.  

And yes:  it's probably why I strive so to remain on the inside.


The response to my take on artificial intelligence was impressive: two completely different readers asked that an upcoming blog - in its entirety - be created by one or more AI engines.  

Are they trying to tell me something?  I don't think so, at least not based on the comments of the Tib/Bel stalwart André Aurich:

As always, enjoyed your blog.  I am probably not the first to suggest this, but you should let AI write one of your Portico Darwin’s, including picking the KLUF music.  See if AI can get your tone on some topic (wokeness, or more on the poor train service in the US).  

I don’t think AI will ever be able to replace you, there is only one Portico Darwin.  Keep on blogging.

I am humbled and, as we speak, putting the finishing touches on a blog that wrote and animated itself.  Preview:  it's pretty wacky.

Back to an all-too-sad reality.  While he and I don't share many political positions, Dr. Davis Fladgate sent a video that is really a must watch.  Just when you think it's just another racist dog-whistle thing, there's a surprise ending that will grab you.  It's excellent, if sad.  Many thanks to Dr. D for sharing.
NBAorNFL.mp4 2.78 MB

Thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.


Here is The Who and their easily Diamond Certified Quadrophenia

Not-so-Fun Fact:  this is arguably the last significant album The Who ever made, and it came out in October of 1973.  They produced a few fine songs subsequently, but there would be no more classic albums forthcoming after this one.

About Dean Clough