Outside the box: A must-have for this season’s fashion

I’d vote for Pedro. You probably would too, given the chance. But how many of us would have voted for him before “Napoleon Dynamite” made it acceptable to do so?

Bob Evans, a reporter on FOX 13 News, said that quotes from the movie were becoming part of the American lexicon. He even said “gosh” and “lucky” while reporting the news, just to prove his point. The movie has become so popular, in fact, that FOX 13 spent a major portion of its Tuesday-night broadcast covering scenes from it.

So what is it that makes Napoleon so popular with audiences even though he was so unpopular in school? Think about all the people you made fun of during high school (and maybe still do)-could someone make an equally successful movie featuring them? Now imagine your town’s chamber of commerce selling T-shirts by the thousands that quoted the people you ridiculed. Not likely.

So many of us have flocked to the theaters to laugh at Napoleon. Most of us would call the movie funny-a comedy. I have another word to describe it: sad.

We’re laughing at Kip who still lives with his grandmother, Napoleon who gets bullied and can’t find a date for the dance, Pedro who is misunderstood by the principal because of his ethnicity, and Deb who is painfully shy. What’s so funny about that?

America, and especially Utah, are places where individuality isn’t supported. We’re encouraged to dress alike, talk similarly and practice the same religion. In the movie, even though we laugh at Napoleon, I think we’re secretly cheering him on. We like the fact he could dance at the end of Pedro’s speech-and then get rewarded for it. We like that Pedro won the election, Deb broke out of her shell a little bit, and Kip married Lafawnduh. Perhaps some of us secretly wish we could wear moonboots or a ponytail on the side of our heads or sing., “I love technology” to our fiancs and still have a happy ending.

But the fact is many of us who do differ from the norm don’t get support from the rest of the community unless pop culture gives the green light-in other words, we wouldn’t vote for Pedro unless everyone else was doing it too. Now I wish someone would make a hit movie featuring a gay or lesbian lead actor. Or someone who isn’t white. Or someone who works in tattoo or piercing art. Maybe the reporters on FOX 13 would show up with a new eyebrow piercing or actually take the time to report on what’s happening in the LGBT community.

Until then, for those of you who do celebrate your individuality, be careful. Until those movies are made and it becomes “cool” to be something other than the norm, Pedro can’t possibly offer his protection.

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