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R.J.

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So far, most of the time I've spent online was spent reading. As I had been a teenager -- fourteen -- when I first found Nifty, I mostly stuck with the high school and young friends section. That mostly changed now of course. I've made some observations from the stories I read, and I found that almost all of them -- most being American, Canadian, British, and the rare Australian -- are very consistent in what they tell of their reality that I have come to believe them. Of course, maybe they're all exaggerations.

The most consistent "fact" is the high school cliques -- jocks, cheerleaders, preppies, geeks, punks, blah, blah, blah. When I first read one of those high school stories, I thought, are these guys for real? And then, I found that there's more of them. In fact, I can't remember reading a high school story that didn't have these cliques. I just kept reading these stories that soon, I began to believe that that's the status quo in the Western Hemisphere (I'm not sure if Australia is a part of which hemisphere). Sure, there are those rare best friends from different cliques, but they had to have known each other since kinder, or had been neighbors most of their lives.

That's why I wonder, if I write a high school story where there are none of these usual cliques, would anyone believe me? If all these different people mingle with each other, would it be okay? Would it not spark disbelief in others? These cliques add conflict, I know. But, I've never known these cliques, not once, in my short high school career. The only cliques I've known are the guys clique and the girls clique, and you can't really call those cliques.

There are no cliques in Philippine high schools, at least, not in the birds-of-the-same-feather sense. There are the jocks, geeks, punks, etc., but you would rarely see them grouping together. Who you'll mostly find grouped together are those who have sat with each other on the first day of classes, or those who are neighbors. Even gays, as in the stereotypical Hollywood gay, can be found in one of these groups. I could be wrong, but as far as I know, there's no such thing as a pecking order in high schools here.

As far as bullies go, they are an undying species, though I've never really seen one at his worst. So I think bullies here can be classified as sissy bullies. At least, the high school ones. Now, the slum areas are a different story. You'll find your classic bully there. Only, he's uneducated and very much used to getting his way by flashing his guns.

It's perplexing to think how people in the same planet could end up so differently in the way they live. If what I read of high schools abroad are true, I think it's very sad. I think the adults, claiming to be the "more responsible ones" should think of a way to change this.

And they could start with the cafeteria. From the movies I watched where there are high schoolers, the cafeteria tables abroad are round/square ones that can probably sit up to ten students. Probably, the reason why I found none of these social cliques -- that could very often lead to social discrimination -- is the fact that we use looooong tables here, the ones that can sit up to thirty students or more.

That's my theory, anyway: long tables that would force people to eat together. Wouldn't that be sweet?

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Interesting post.Australia is a western style democracy with a very multi-cultural population, however we are rooted in our Westminster system style of government.We're severely influenced by Hollywood movies and American TV. We have pockets of many cultures from different lands all living together somewhat in harmony. One Muslim woman said to me a year or two ago that she wished her homeland (in the Middle East) could learn to live in peace with their neighbours as we do in Australia. She said she saw Australia as an example of cultural diversity, peacefully living together without attacking each other. I think we are changing lately to a more intolerant society, but still cling to our own pragmatic view of encouraging everyone to "live and let live". I would put us in the same group of nations as Canada, UK, and US where personal freedom to express thoughts and where to freely dissent from the beliefs and views of others is not a crime. As to highschool cliques, I don't think we have them as they are represented in the Nifty stories to which you refer. It isn't that we don't have such things as jocks and nerds, but rather that they don't form exclusive groups as depicted in the stories.We do however have a predominant pecking order of sorts. Sport plays a big part in Australian society and schools.My own congenital dislike of competitive sport meant I was doomed to be an outsider at highschool, but the outsiders never really formed a group or clique of their own. You were a sports fanatic who excelled at sport, a sports fanatic who excelled at school work, or you were a student who excelled at school work and loved sport. I didn't belong to any of these. Even so socially, it was only possible to divide the school population into groups who attended different schools. The rich went to private (mainly Christian) schools. The poorer families sent their teens to the public state run schools to be taught to be slaves for the kids who would graduate from the private schools. A few would escape slavery however and become masters despite their attending public highschools.School bullies were everywhere; both as teachers and students. We did have groups of kids by culture of origin, but eventually even they seem to be absorbed into the school structure to become good Aussie sports fanatics.Socially outside the school there were more divisions. In the 1950s we had Bodgies and their female companions, Widgies. Then we had Rock and Rollers. The sixties brought Peacenics and surfers and in the seventies, we had Punks. In addition today, there are Skaters, Goths, etc., oh, and of course Gays. The gay community has the largest number of cliques. Everything from the Bears through to drag queens, not to mention the closeted. As to your question as to whether anyone would believe you if you wrote a story that didn't highlight the cliques we see so often in Nifty (and other) stories, I hope you can see from what I have written, that I certainly would.In fact I implore you to throw out these cliched cliques and concentrate on showing us human characters with human problems regardless of the social allegiances. Your story would be a breath of fresh air.I think the stories which feature cliques have become a fashion, an easy way for lazy authors to bypass the intricacies of character building which give good stories their interest and strength, while lumping the characters into either of the two most horrifyingly overused cliques: the bad guys and the good guys.You might be right about long tables, but I have always favoured round tables with lots of very handsome knights, but they are another clique altogether. :icon_rabbit:

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The gay community has the largest number of cliques. Everything from the Bears through to drag queens, not to mention the closeted.
:icon_rabbit::wink::lol: You crack me up, Des. Every time. :lol:I wasn't just talking about stories from Nifty though. All high school stories I've read so far, even movies I saw -- though I could be just having some memory gaps -- have these cliques. So like I said above, I started to believe them. My question on whether anyone would believe a story without these cliques is actually more of me wondering about it. I wish I have a plot in mind for a story though, but most of the stories in my head seem to stay away from school.
You might be right about long tables, but I have always favoured round tables with lots of very handsome knights, but they are another clique altogether.
That's right. Remind me of a childhood fantasy. :lol:
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Very interesting and provocative essay, Rad.My opinion is we have to be cautious if we take what we read in fiction or see in movies as fact. Both media show just a tiny part of the whole, and generally enhance that for dramatic effect. You see only what they show you, and then, in your mind, you extrapolate. Because you don't have the whole picture to extrapolate from, what your mind suggests to you is frequently skewed from reality.Yes, there are cliques in high school here. But they're not generally formed as exclusive, restricted-membership-only sorts of groups. They form more because kids, like everyone else, are more comfortable around others with whom they share common interests. If you're a football player with an IQ of 92, it's quite likely that football and girls are the two most important things in your life, and you enjoy being around others like you who won't challenge your intelligence and will also want to talk about playing football and chasing girls.But see, in real life, outside of fiction, there are shades and nuances that go way beyond what we get from our entertainment. There are football players with IQs of 126 who are very interested in economics, or art, and who don't generally hang with their 92-IQ brethren because they find them terminally boring. They might eat lunch with a group of those guys occasionally, but are just as likely to eat with others that share their common interests.Goths want to spend time with other Goths, as they think other Goths are the only ones who understand them. The may be right about that.But my point is, you can easily get the idea that a person can only be one thing, and being in a clique automatically restrains him from associating with kids from another clique. Yet in real life, this rigidity for the most part doesn't exist. A lot of kids are friendly with kids in various cliques. The clique doesn't determine who kids are, and aren't their sole support structure.Write your story. Frequently, stories about kids that aren't like everyone else are the most interesting, and it sound like yours might be that.I am very surprised that you don't have cliques in the Philippines. I'm surprised because I'd think people all over, of all ages, would naturally tend to congregate along some lines of commonality, be it religion, race, sports interest, art interest, education, economic circumstances, or something else that makes them comfortable with each other. I don't really understand how kids you grew up with avoided this. To me, even if you grew up next door to someone, and played with them as a child, if they developed into an intellectual who loved to read all the time, and you became consumed with playing video games, you two wouldn't have much in common and probably wouldn't want to hang with each other much. But you both would want to hang with people who shared your interests. Which is what cliques ultimately are all about.

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At the risk of being accused of being self-promoting, have you read my story Everything a Boy could Want at my hosted pages at Codey's World? Much of this story takes place in highschool and I didn't use any of the cliques as part of the plot line except for the "ever present" bullies.Seriously RJ I don't think the cliques need be used to make a story readable at all. If the story is about people the cliques will arise only if needed.

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That's my theory, anyway: long tables that would force people to eat together. Wouldn't that be sweet?
Sweet? I went to a boarding school, and that's exactly what we had. Long house tables. I found you can scowl across a long table just as easily as you can across a square or a round one. :icon_rabbit:
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To me, even if you grew up next door to someone, and played with them as a child, if they developed into an intellectual who loved to read all the time, and you became consumed with playing video games, you two wouldn't have much in common and probably wouldn't want to hang with each other much. But you both would want to hang with people who shared your interests. Which is what cliques ultimately are all about.
And that's my point... We grew up different from each other - different tastes in music, movies, etc., but we didn't gravitate towards those with similar interests. These interests, from my point of view, became secondary stuff to us.We watch movies we don't like for a friend. We listen to music we think is crap for a friend... I don't know how this happened. This guy couldn't play basketball, but we still force him to play with us and it's alright with him. And the best thing about this is that you get to talk trash about their music, movies, interests, etc., and it's OK, as long as you don't mind the same being done to you. Maybe it's an effect of the family-orientedness of Asians. Anyway, if food makes a clique, then I guess that should be it. The gang I hang out with, we LOVE to eat! But don't get a picture of overweight guys around the dinner table, because we're not. :icon_rabbit: (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)Anyway, I'm not sure if that ^ made much sense.
At the risk of being accused of being self-promoting, have you read my story Everything a Boy could Want at my hosted pages at Codey's World? Much of this story takes place in highschool and I didn't use any of the cliques as part of the plot line except for the "ever present" bullies.
I haven't read it yet, Des. But I will. :)
Seriously RJ I don't think the cliques need be used to make a story readable at all. If the story is about people the cliques will arise only if needed.
Actually Des, my point is, if I write a story where these cliques don't exist, I hope no one thinks that it's too much of a fictional story and that it's too idealistic to be real. Again, here's hoping a plot pops up in my head. :D
Sweet? I went to a boarding school, and that's exactly what we had. Long house tables. I found you can scowl across a long table just as easily as you can across a square or a round one.
:wink: I'm sticking to my theory, Camy.If it doesn't work, there's really not much left but character adjustment.
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To me it sounds like you guys are FRIENDS, and not just guys going to the same school. If there really aren't any clique barriers or tendencies, it is because you all don't want there to be. I guess my only 'concern' is that you may be living in a situation that is not the norm, and that in other locations there is not such broad acceptance and camaraderie. I don't think lack of cliques in a school story would be distracting at all.

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