Chaotic Fringe has been around over twenty years, going from a one sheet to pamphlet to website. In that long history its message has been the same; Chaotic Fringe is the voice of one person, a GenXer talking about his life, his loves and his view of the world.
Chaotic Fringe was a response to The Real World from MTV. When people started talking about Generation X, the first few seasons of The Real World were the go to examples many pundits used to define my generation. I never felt part of that view of Generation X and I had many friends who didn’t fit that mold. You have to realize people in my generation were considered disenfranchised children of hippies or prototype Reagan Republicans dressed in yuppie clothing. In other words, if you watched Family Ties you saw those two extremes of American youth according to many at the time.
Truth be told things were a bit more complicated and with Family Ties and The Real World being the examples, many people I knew weren’t represented to the public at large. Closer to home, I didn’t see many like myself. I don’t mean the obvious educated, well-spoken black male. People see me and form a stereotype of who I am, which wasn’t true then and it’s not now. Life is much more complicated and I wanted to make sure, through Chaotic Fringe, I could put my own voice to issues I saw around me.
Our world has changed. The firebrand energy of the 80s and 90s, for a majority of my generation, has given way to mortgages, taxes, children and families. As with any generation, the idealism we had in our youth has given way to the demands of our responsibilities. We look to protect our significant other and our children. Our idealism has taken a back seat, in some cases, to what we have decided is practical. Like the Baby Boomers before us, we have lost the drive to fight, the drive to speak out because we worry about the repercussions to family and our status in society.
I have always said Chaotic Fringe is an honest and frank commentary about the world as I see it but over the years I’ve seen many like me, struggling to keep the fires burning and shine a light on those things that are wrong. Not surprisingly those feelings cross generational barriers.
As the years have gone on, I see where activism has given way to the finger clicking of social media. It could be another sign of adult responsibility stifling the fires of angry youth, but it has begun to bother me that many people feel clicking a like button on a social media website is the same as marching in the streets against injustice or by taking the time to voice your concerns in your own words. I get to speak my mind with Chaotic Fringe, and as I’ve gotten older I have tried to motivate others to use their voices for change.
I can no longer sit on the sidelines and just observe the world. I can no longer try to speak to the better nature of ourselves while I see opposing voices spew hate and stir fear in our hearts. We must face the injustice, the inaccuracies and the falsehoods head on. Chaotic Fringe will continue to be a forum for my eclectic tastes and hopefully will motivate others to become activist who not only click a link but will rise up and march for their beliefs.