eccentric is defined as a person who deviates from accepted conduct. Nonconformists have achieved greatness in
many fields, but many of us remain wary of those who seem odd, extreme, perhaps
disturbed or even dangerous.
think of eccentrics as loners. Yet a
recent news dispatch from the western state of Wyoming reported that about 400
members of what was described as a loose affiliation of eccentrics called the
Rainbow Family threw rocks and sticks at federal officers who were trying to
arrest one of the group.
a year this loose affiliation of eccentrics chooses a forest, somewhere in
America, in which to camp for a week.
This year, 7,000 eccentrics were said to have pitched tents on Forest
Service land in the Wyoming mountains.
mavericks though they may be, these Rainbow Family persons have managed to put
together a website, which begins thusly: "Some say we're the largest
non-organization of non-members in the world. We have no leaders, and no organization." Yet, the description continues, these non-members in the
non-organization do think alike about alternative lifestyles, non-violence, and
peace and love. They're in favor of
them, just as another loosely affiliated group of eccentrics called hippies
were 40 years ago.
though we are with eccentrics, Americans seem to tolerate them and sometimes
admire their idealism. Several years
ago, for instance, the refined New York Philharmonic orchestra staged a whole
festival to salute American musical nonconformists described as solitary minds
heartened by each other's work. The
festival was entitled, The American Eccentrics.