At the high school I attended in the North of England, being called a 'loner' was a popular and powerful insult. It didn't mean 'She enjoys being alone alot', it meant 'She has no friends', and it would be chanted at you if you were EVER caught doing anything alone. I did have a (small) group of friends, but knew that if I was ever seperated from the pack for long, I risked being branded a 'loner', and possibly a witch, and end up being dunked in a pond to see if I sank. Probably the witch thing wouldn't have happened, but it was the North of England in the 90s - you never knew.
Anyway, about the book. If you have ever felt anti-social or 'faulty', just because you like being alone, I urge you to buy this book. It really makes you appreciate just how much we are still in an age of 'mob mentality', and how much pressure there is for everyone to be part of this 'mob'(as Rufus calls them). Loners really are treated like weirdos, freaks, and even worse, as potentially dangerous.
Because Loners are a misunderstood minority, the super sociable majority will always criticize, and try to 'cure' them. In the same way fundamentalist Christians try to 'cure' homosexuality. But 'The Loners' Manifesto' argues that we no longer need to hang around in tribes and clans, and spend every waking moment with others for the good of the community - 'The time when barns needed raising is over.' Rufus points out that being able to spend lots of time alone is one of the great products of thousands of years of civilization.
This book really validates the Loner, and argues so brilliantly about how great it is to be a Loner (and it is), that I feel better about myself just having read it. Not only that, it is extremely well-written, and often very funny... much of the last few days has been spent absorbed in this book, chortling happily to myself.
Contempt for 'non-loners' is quite strong in `The Loners' Manifesto', which struck me as at bit confrontational in the beginning. But now I just think it's funny, and tongue-in-cheek (like the title of the book). And besides, it's about time we fought back a bit. But obviously not together in any way. Separately like this, on the internet.
This is not a self-help book. It is a learned and entertaining collection of essays - each one about a different topic pertaining to Loners - how society percieves them, how they are portrayed, what they do, how they dress etc. Here are the chapter headings:
'village people' - Community
'listen to us' - Popular culture
'do you feel lucky?' - Film
'marlboro country' - Advertising
'i have to go now' - Friendship
'just catch me' - Love and Sex
'power surge' - Technology
'the diving bell' - Art
'singular glamour' - Literature
'jesus, mary and jennifer lopez' - Religion
'new disorder' - Sanity
'the l-word' - Crime
'bizarre as i wanna be' - Eccentricity
'the sleeve said' - Clothes
'don't go there' - Environment
'absolutely totally alone' - Solo Adventurers
'smiling bandits' - Childhood
Even if you don't buy this book, I urge to you keep an eye out for the word 'loner' in the press. You'll find that even though a loner is actually just someone who CHOOSES to be alone alot, the press will often refer to criminals as 'loners', even when they are not. A quick search on the BBC and I found two articles with the word 'loner' in the headline. Both people were clearly mentally deranged (a more likely reason for them having no friends), and one was a member of a gun club, and the Territorial Army - so not a loner then at all! Interestingly, Rufus suggests that the press is so quick to pounce on the word loner, because it appeals to society's desire to distance itself from criminals -in other words, a murderer was not a member of the army or 'one of us', he was of the other, he was a monster...A LONER.
So recognise the propaganda when you see it, and be proud of being a Loner! And amuse yourself by watching all the non-loners stick together like paperclips on a magnet, and do idiotic stuff together. I just wish I'd read this book when I was a teenager - I think it would've taken a lot of the pressure off.
NB - I'm just a jokin' about sociable-types. They aren't idiots - just different. Take the ranting in this book with a pinch of salt (as the author intends I'm sure) cos loners hating the super-sociable ones is just as bad as the other way around.