Recently at an airport while waiting for a flight, I saw a man among a group of bikers who was not actually achondroplastic but of the same physical stature as an achondroplastic. He was dressed in the same fashion as his friends: leather and steel, with ironmongery through his nose and aggressive tattoos on his forearms. I was seized by sorrow: not only for him, but for all of us, with our contradictory and simultaneous need to belong to a group and yet to mark ourselves out from others, resolved (in this case) by absurd mimicry of a self-consciously brutalist fashion. Such is the human condition, especially nowadays, when the need to be an individual is felt more urgently and yet is more difficult to achieve than ever before.
– Theodore Dalrymple,“A Freak Show Called Generosity.” Read the whole thing.