These were the questions we tried to answer in our book “Free in the Time of Flappers”—but it was too long to be published without interruption. One hundred and fifty pages of notes, diagrams, drawings, and photographs of the life of one very particular flapper family. And we were quite right—it was a life lived, in a certain way, on the edges, and, on a certain level, by the freaks.
Famous for what?
“Free in the Time of Flappers.” What did her parents do?
They were the very kind of people that had the freedom to express themselves. Her parents were immigrants. Their first generation came from the Bronx, where her father worked in a furniture factory—a factory made of canvas. These immigrants were not so interested in the factory. They came because they believed that society was moving ahead, that the world was changing, and that, on the margins, the world might, perhaps, have a better chance, or a better chance, of being better.
The first generation were freaked out by this change—but, after the second generation had come, they started to see that the freaks were part of the change, too.
And so, as the first generation turned into the second generation, the second generation turned into the third generation. The freaks were getting used to the lifestyle now.
And so, this time, not all of those freaks would die on the way, they could go and live very, very long lives. So, it’s the transition from the margins to the center—from the freaks who became part of the mainstream, to the freaks, the middle class freaks, and then to the elite freaks.
How is it possible now to live a full life outside of the boundaries of the mainstream and the fringe?
What we have to do is to understand the ways that freaks are becoming mainstream people and are becoming part of the mainstream. How is it possible? You have to look at some specific cases.
What are some specific cases of freaks going into mainstream society?
I can tell you one case of a freak’s moving into mainstream social life. It’s called the case of the freaks who moved from the margins to the mainstream. That’s why I call them the “murdered freaks,” and because of that, one can call them, say, “the freaks in between.”
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