Let me preface this by saying that I love metal, have so for the last 20+ years. With that on the table, I've always been perturbed by the prevailing attitude in 'metaldom' that says that the metal crowd is somehow "elite" and that it's head and shoulders above the typical 'citizen John Q Public'. Sure, metal folk seem/appear to be more philosophically inclined, but perhaps that's simply because they can afford to be: they have the free-time (what, with being isolated so much). Johnny Boy cruising town in his shiny SUV is busy, can't be bothered with thought. Many metal people often claim "I hate the mainstream....they all follow the crowd, show no originality, etc., where the same clothes, etc...". Meanwile, the metal crowd has adopted it's own standard uniform. It's the same theory: follow the crowd. Only difference is that this crowd is smaller. Big deal. The theory - and the practice - are the same. Long hair? Again, big deal. The other 85,374,384 metal people wear there's long, as well. No different than any mall-rat following typical mall-rat trends. At the end of the day, the "mainstream" is simply seeking happiness. As is the metal crowd - albeit through different methods. Are metal folk weaker, stronger, or, most likely, simply the same? I think the answer is obvious. Are you really any freer than they? Really? Feel free to rip this thread to shreds. Opine as you like....praise these thoughts...or piss on them. But be honest.