The Breakfast Club was a John Hughes movie that debuted in the mid 1980’s about five teenagers, each a member of a different high school clique, who spend a Saturday in detention together. I’ve seen it a million times. I still love it. I mean… what’s not to love about Judd Nelson, fist pumped in the air, walking into the sunset to the strains of Don’t You (Forget About Me). Epic! It still resonates with my own high school days and the various niches to which we pigeon-holed our angsty selves. I saw the movie again last night and this time I also saw something else.
We can look back onto those formative years of trying to figure out who we were and where we belonged. As mature adults, we laugh about the subgroups into which we landed, even though at some of those high school reunions we still secretly find our emotional selves back in the vulnerability of those cliques. But that was then. This is now…and guess what?! We are still doing what we did as teenagers. We encapsulate and insulate into our own sub-groups and form our respective stereotypes about all others. That is never more evident than the America we find ourselves in at this very moment as we lob our vicious verbals assaults on other adult cliques.
We NEED our own adult version of The Breakfast Club. We need to spend a day or a lot of days with people from those other cliques to realize that we are all more than our respective stereotypes. We need to figure it out for ourselves in face to face interaction and conversation, just like those teenagers did. We can philosophize about it all we want about how our group is best or right, but until we actually spend a day with someone very different from ourselves, we will never scratch the surface of real understanding.
There is a little of all of us to be glimpsed in each of the characters of this film. After all, we are a mixed cocktail of our unique traits and upbringing…. We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all. And I’m quite sure there is a little of all us in each of the people we have lumped into those other stereotypes. Think about it.
Dear Mr. Vernon…
We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was that we did wrong. What we did WAS wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us write this essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us…in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found is that each one of us is a brain..and an athlete…and a basket case…a princess…and a criminal.
Does that answer your question?
The Breakfast Club