The Breakfast Club Redux

May 6, 2005 | 35 comments
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As my 15-year high school reunion looms dangerously close on the horizon, I’ve been thinking a lot about the classic 80′s movie of teenage sturm und drang: ‘The Breakfast Club’. For those of you who may have missed one of the 157 airings of the TBS ‘Dinner and a Movie’ versions of ‘The Breakfast Club’ (‘Twister’ is this weekend!), the story is about five teenagers all from very different backgrounds, forced to spend the day together in the school library one Saturday as punishment for various indiscretions or acts of violence perpetrated upon unsuspecting freshmen.

At first, the teens eye each other uncomfortably and pretty much keep to themselves, but then, with no other form of entertainment around to distract them, they finally start talking to each other and, of course, discover they have a lot in common. The day of detention then becomes a day of discovery and reconciliation. And, true to form for all respectable John Hughes movies, Molly Ringwald ends up with the cute, but rough around the edges, guy (Judd Nelson, for all you fans of ’80s trivia).

But everyone watching the movie knows that while they’re all happily dancing around the library now (where is the principal when all this is going on?) and sharing their innermost teenage secrets and desires, they’ll awkwardly ignore each other in the school hallways on Monday morning (completely forgetting the Simple Minds’ prescient warning ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’).

So, back to reality. Jim Faulconer has a great post up today about (among other things) how much he appreciates all of the unique people and their interesting personalities in his Ward. Which got me thinking. Are our experiences at Church like “The Breakfast Club”? Where we say hello, share a few meaningful spiritual experiences together, go home, and never make much of an effort to really get to know each other? Are we supposed to spend time outside Church activities getting to know each other as part of building a community of Zion, especially in places where there are few members? Do we have to be friends with people just because they are Mormon?

And, in our every day lives, how often do we go out of our way to acquaint ourselves, get to know, and appreciate people who are different than we are, i.e., of a lower or higher economic class, different race, religion, etc.? When we find out that someone is different in ways that we may find difficult to identify with, do we want to continue to be their friend? Say you just found out that someone at work you like and are getting to know better is gay and lives with a long-term partner. Do you continue the friendship in the same way?

How many of your friends are just like you? Do you socialize with people of different ethnic, religious and social backgrounds?

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35 Responses to The Breakfast Club Redux

  1. Mark Hansen on May 6, 2005 at 10:05 am

    Oh, heavens, no!

    That would require me to be charitable, non-judgemental, and kind. I can’t do that!

    :-)

    MRKH

  2. Sue on May 6, 2005 at 10:14 am

    And it would also require you to be an interesting person. Who on earth would want all of their friends to be “just like them?” How boring is that? What a recipe for a complete lack of growth.

  3. Kaimi on May 6, 2005 at 10:21 am

    I try not to socialize with anyone.

    :P

    Actually, many of my friends are on this blog. Well, sort of. I’ve got a lot of aspects to my personality — I like to read, chat about law, chat about Mormon stuff, talk baseball, play piano, play guitar, and so forth. Most of my Mormon friends are on this blog. My baseball-chatting friends really aren’t (except for Greg).

    (By the way, Greg, Corey and I just had a lengthy conversation about whether the Yankees were going to try to take on bad-money contracts to fix the holes in their lineup. In particular, whether it would make sense for them to offer to trade for a Cameron-Piazza package. We think it would make sense — the Yankees have infinite cash and a serious hole in center field, the Mets could very much use the financial flexibility. What do you think — too crazy of an idea?)

  4. Kaimi on May 6, 2005 at 10:25 am

    “How many of your friends are just like you? Do you socialize with people of different ethnic, religious and social backgrounds?”

    I suspect that if I limited my socializing to part-Hawaiian Mormon army-brat lawyers, my social life would be even more impoverished than it is now. :P

  5. Ivan Wolfe on May 6, 2005 at 10:29 am

    If only I had friends………….. :-(

    Seriously, it’s hard because outside of church and school, I have no social life. At church, it’s fairly easy to make friends. At school, not so much – since many fellow grad students (who are nearly uniformly far left wing socialist liberals) are convinced religious conservative are evil, unthinking and out to impose a theocracy on the rest of us.

    I think most people try to find friends like themselves, and even when they go outside ethnic/racial boundaries to do so, they still try and find ones who think like they do or hold similar political opinions. Thank goodness for the few willing to buck the trend and go not just outside social or ethnic boundaries, but ideological ones as well (there are a few at school and I count them as good friends – but most aren’t willing to do that. They say they go outside their boundaries because they have lots of minority friends, ignoring the fact all their friends are far left socialists like themselves).

    Or something.

  6. The Only True and Living Nathan on May 6, 2005 at 10:33 am

    “How many of your friends are just like you? Do you socialize with people of different ethnic, religious and social backgrounds?”

    Thanks to the God-given internet, I am able to e-socialize with people with whom my interests intersect at one given point, but with whom I may be completely divergent in other regards.

    For instance, one of my most active friendships is with a young gay uber-progressive with whom i have rip-roaring socio-political “discussions.” We met through a mutual love of bad movies.

  7. Kevin Barney on May 6, 2005 at 10:44 am

    I just wanted to take this opportunity to complain about the ending of Pretty in Pink. I think Molly should have ended up with the Duckman. Or, if not, he should have ended the evening broken and alone, not with a solace date. There, I feel better for getting that off my chest.

  8. Ivan Wolfe on May 6, 2005 at 10:50 am

    Hey wait -

    Wasn’t Breakfast Club rater R?

    Shame on you all! (Shame on me! I’m a sinner for having seen it!)

    Well, it was a good movie…… ;-)

  9. will on May 6, 2005 at 10:52 am

    Don’t even get me started on Sixteen Candles.

  10. Kaimi on May 6, 2005 at 10:55 am

    Kevin,

    With the Duck?? Bleh.

    Molly’s biggest problem was that she had two losers to choose between. Duck was a stalker, ride-by-your-house-twenty-times-a-day, complete weirdo. And Andrew McCarthy had that perpetual deer-in-headlights look about him. (He later said that he was drunk or high for most of the film).

    So the solution was that Molly needed to go to prom with — me!! That would have solved her problem of choosing between two losers. And incidentally, it would have been very therapeautic for my own huge Molly Ringwold crush.

    Alas, ’twas not to be.

  11. Katie on May 6, 2005 at 11:12 am

    In high school I had a pretty diverse group of friends. Almost all of us ran cross-country, but we had varying beliefs and backgrounds. When college came, however, this scenario fell apart. The great divider? Alcohol. In high school none of us drank whether we were Mormon or not. In college my friends discovered the joys of beer and bars. Suddenly I felt left out of the loop. I did not particularly enjoy going to bars, and people would not invite me anyway, assuming I would not go. I went to BYU, but when I returned for breaks and the summer, I noticed that my old high school nonmo friends and I drafted further and further apart, while the those friends I had in high school who were Mormon have remained my best friends. We still have something to connect around. Last year when I did Americorps I noticed the same thing. The social life of my co-volunteers revolved around bar-hopping and I was left out.

    My freshman year at BYU was kind of breakfast clubesque. While all the girls on my floor were obviously Mormon, we formed a strange and motley posse. We were all very different and yet we bonded over the fact that we were all miserable. I often remember observing the posse, and thinking, “none of these people are the kind of people I would have been friends with in high school.”

  12. Elisabeth on May 6, 2005 at 11:44 am

    I feel like a loser for pointing this out, but, yes, The Breakfast Club is rated R in the movie theater, DVD, and, for the old timers, the VHS versions. That said, an edited version of TBC can be seen many Saturday afternoons on T.V. And, if the movie were released in 2005, it would probably get a PG-13 rating (perhaps with a less liberal use of the f-word).

    To the question at hand, I’ve always been drawn to quirky people from all kinds of backgrounds, but I find it hard to build long-term, meaningful relationships with people who are fundamentally different from my own social class. For me, differences in religion, race and sexual orientation aren’t as important as differences in social class.

    For example, at one point in my life, I was hanging around with some friends from very wealthy backgrounds. After awhile, I felt really awkward about, say, flying around in their private jets, staying at their mansions, etc., since in my normal life I spent my evenings in my tiny apartment eating raisin bran for dinner and watching Ally McBeal on TV. Our lifestyles were just too different, even though they were all very interesting people and I enjoyed their company.

    And alcohol is a huge social divider. There are few things worse than spending a sober Friday night with a bunch of smelly drunk people who think they are absolutely hilarious….

  13. Kaimi on May 6, 2005 at 11:53 am

    I’ll agree that alcohol is a divider. However, I don’t know that it has to be a big divider.

    I can go to a baseball game with friends who aren’t members, and I’ll have a hot dog and coke while they have a hot dog and beer. We still have fun, even though they’re drinking and I’m not.

    Similarly, I can have a p0ker night (yikes, I’m really confessing here, aren’t I) with non-member friends. (Our p0ker games are extremely low-stakes — chips are a quarter, max bids a dollar a round, and I think the most anyone has ever won or lost is around 10 bucks). For these, they drink their beer, and sometimes smoke their cigars. I drink my coke. Everyone pounces on the chips and dip, of course. We all have fun.

    The major problem I’ve found is when your friends go “out for drinks.” That’s a pretty lame activity for a Mormon to tag along for. You sit at the bar with your coca-cola, everyone else laughs over their drinks. Sigh.

  14. Jenn on May 6, 2005 at 12:04 pm

    most of my friends are LDS. It’s just easier that way (especially when dating), b/c you have a social shorthand to rely on and no unrealistic expectations. I’ve had to deal with more ‘busy hands’ from nonmembers than from members, that’s for sure!

  15. Elisabeth on May 6, 2005 at 12:05 pm

    Kaimi-

    First, thanks for cleaning up my curly quotes – I thought I’d caught them all before I hit “Publish”.

    Second, you’re right – it’s usually no big deal when people are drinking when it’s part of another activity (other than beer pong).

    Speaking of Pretty in Pink and Ducky – did anyone notice he’s on a T.V. show now? We don’t have our TV hooked up, so I just caught a glimpse of what I thought was Ducky a week or so ago on the TV’s at the gym. It’s amazing how they are dragging back all these defunct 1980′s teen stars – first Rob Lowe, then Jason Bateman, and now Jon Cryer. I wonder what C. Thomas Howell is up to these days. Isn’t it about time for “Soul Man II”?

  16. Greg Call on May 6, 2005 at 12:08 pm

    Kaimi: The Yankees could certainly use Cameron’s defense, and with the emergence of Victor Diaz the Mets may be willing to ship him, but Piazza would just add to the glut of overpriced, past-their-prime, virtually dh-only sluggers on the bench (see Giambi, Bernie, Ruben Sierra). Piazza’s got more in the tank than those guys, but not much more.

  17. Kaimi on May 6, 2005 at 12:17 pm

    Greg,

    Yeah, the scenario we were thinking would probably have to go along these lines:

    1. Cameron and Piazza to Yankees, random minor leaguer + Giambi or Williams (with Yankees picking up 90% salary) to Mets.
    2. Spin Piazza to someone, somewhere (Kansas City, maybe) for a minor leaguer, Yankees pick up 90% of his salary.

    Result:

    Yankees add Cameron, and it costs them $30 million (which is chump change for Steinbrenner)
    Mets clear $25 million in salaries. They lose some talent, but they can easily pick up any adequate free agent replacements needed, plus make some serious upgrades, with the new financial flexibility.
    Kansas City gets Piazza, essentially for free.

  18. Ana on May 6, 2005 at 12:57 pm

    No one is answering the question about the gay co-worker. I’m interested.

    I do have a gay co-worker. We get along well at the office but do not hang out outside of work. Then again, I hang out with almost no one outside of work, besides my family and the ward YW organization. There’s just not time. I almost wish someone would give me a Saturday detention so I could get to know some people.

  19. Kaimi on May 6, 2005 at 1:04 pm

    I don’t hang out with many co-workers, gay or not. But I don’t see a problem hanging out with gay co-workers.

    One of my classmates at Columbia was gay. He had an annual Valentine’s Day party at his apartment. I went to it a few times, with my wife and sons. It was just fine. I think around half of the attendees were gay or bisexual. But we fit in fine too. We drank our soda, and chatted with the other people there. The kids had fun too.

  20. Tim on May 6, 2005 at 1:16 pm

    I had a pretty good friend who was gay. He was also a member of my singles ward. It was not public knowledge, but a few of his close friends knew. We had a great time hanging out, doing the usual LDS singles things, etc. Unfortunately, he met a nice LDS girl and got married. He now has a couple of children and, while his life is not without its struggles, he and his wife are happy and well. Sadly they moved away and I don’t see them much anymore.

  21. Ryan S. on May 6, 2005 at 1:24 pm

    “Molly’s biggest problem was that she had two losers to choose between. Duck was a stalker, ride-by-your-house-twenty-times-a-day, complete weirdo”

    I don’t think that Ducky was a complete weirdo. I think he represented the normal freaked-out-at-being-17-and-”in love” teen male. What teenage boy hasn’t rode their bike past some cute girl’s house 20x’s a day? That’s not stalking, that’s being 15 (or 17, or whatever…). Of course, if I see some teenage kid riding past my daughter’s window like that I’ll probably throw a big rock at him.

    Molly should have ended up with the Duck man.

  22. Mark B. on May 6, 2005 at 1:29 pm

    Since my 25th year law school reunion is next week, I thought this post would be about Don McNeill and The Breakfast Club, an old radio variety show that used to come on KSL just before Arthur Godfrey. I don’t think that Molly Ringworm was ever on it.

  23. Elisabeth on May 6, 2005 at 1:49 pm

    When I found out one of my favorite co-workers was gay I was shocked (What? Really?! He doesn’t act gay!). We’re still close friends, close enough for him to tell me that he was wary at first about becoming friends with me because he knew I was a Mormon.

    So, I guess it goes both ways. I wonder if people somewhere out there in blog land are blogging about whether or not they’ve ever met and become good friends with a Mormon…

  24. Travis on May 6, 2005 at 1:59 pm

    I personally try to stay as far away from Mormons as possible. They give me the heebie jeebies…

  25. Once_a_nerd... on May 6, 2005 at 3:25 pm

    What I found most realistic about the Breakfast club is:

    The Jock ended up with a Girlfriend
    The Rich Princess ended up with a Boyfriend
    The Nerd ended up in a station wagon with his mom…

  26. Jim F on May 6, 2005 at 3:33 pm

    #25: Amen

    Still-a-nerd (a.k.a. Jim F.)

  27. Bryce I on May 6, 2005 at 3:47 pm

    Kaimi–

    You’re dreaming if you think Steinbrenner is going to be very liberal with his spending to get the Yankees out of the hole they’re in. They’ve got to be a lot closer to contending to make it worth his while.

    Besides, he’s all about the Kentucky Derby these days.

  28. Mark B. on May 6, 2005 at 4:27 pm

    To complete the threadjack: Seeing the Yankees at the bottom of the AL East, tied with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, no less, is a sight so beautiful that I just want to shout hallelujah every time I see it. May their current fortunes continue! Banzai! (That’s 10,000 years, for the Korean-speakers. And that’s almost long enough for the Yankees to stay in the cellar.)

  29. Jim F on May 6, 2005 at 4:37 pm

    For Mark B and other Japanese speakers: The correct, Korean, pronunctiation is man-sei.

  30. Kingsley on May 6, 2005 at 5:58 pm

    Mark B.–

    Amen, brother. The Yankees are like one of those Hollywood horrors, e.g. Ocean’s Twelve, where too many A-list actors at once creates an F-list muddle.

  31. JA Benson on May 6, 2005 at 10:06 pm

    Getting back to the topic…. I have always been drawn to diversity. Even as a kid growing up in homogeneous Utah found myself seeking out and making friends with the only Catholic, Indian placement, handicapped kid etc.. in the class. I liked finding people different from myself.
    For me I have found Visiting Teaching a wonderful way to meet people that I would have not discovered otherwise. Like everyone else, my life is busy. I serve in the Primary (which I love) and unfortunately I don’t always make the time to get to know the sisters in my ward. Because of Visiting Teaching I can truthfully say that my best friends are a Cherokee Great Grandmother and an African American Grandmother. We have discovered that we have a lot in common despite our obvious differences. I have observed other members raising their eyebrows at the three of us and our obvious affection for one another. We frequently get together just to socialize because we enjoy each other’s company. I probably would not have gotten to know these two wonderful women to the degree that I have without the initial obligation of Visiting Teaching which for me is now one of the highlights of my month.

  32. alamojag on May 7, 2005 at 8:04 am

    One of my favorite quotes from “Joan of Arcadia” is from Will, the father: “Friends. I think we had them once. As I remember, it was nice.”

  33. JA Benson on May 7, 2005 at 8:37 am

    Dear Alamojag,

    I read your posting from the _I Love my Ward_ post.
    My words are so inadequate, but I understand where you are coming from. On a much smaller scale I too have watched loved ones and even myself suffer because of spiritual abuse in the Church (not anywhere to the extent you and your wife have suffered).
    When you suffer Spiritual Abuse from leaders and even members of the ward, because so much of our relationship with God and His Son is tied up in the Church, it is like someone has put their big heavy foot on your conduit to the Lord. As unfair as this is; you are the only ones who can remove that foot. It’s tough and the more severe the abuse is, the harder it is to remove that big ole’ foot. For me I had to get a low profile calling and to be careful about who I trusted. I do not talk about the spiritual abuse because there is big denial in the Church that it goes on. Nobody understands unless they have been there themselves.
    My only advice to you is continue to attend your Sunday Meetings, continue to read the scriptures and pray, put you and your wife’s name on the Temple Roll, and time heals the wounds somewhat. Do not let your relationship and covenants with the Lord become damaged because of others. It will be difficult to stand before the Lord and explain to Him that you broke your promises to Him because of evil men and uncharitable souls.
    Take heart you are not alone and God will be with you and give you strength, comfort and guidance. Good Luck and God Bless.

  34. Kim Siever on May 7, 2005 at 11:35 pm

    “Wasn’t Breakfast Club rater R?”

    Not in Canada.

    “The Nerd ended up in a station wagon with his mom…”

    Actually, the Nerd ended up with a nuclear missile in his bedroom and a bra on his head. And three years later ended up as a jock having sex with his coach’s wife.

  35. Miranda PJ on May 7, 2005 at 11:53 pm

    My friends are quite a lot like me, but none of them live nearby any more.

    What I like about the breakfast club is how the sorrow and hardship of the dominant male is so very contrived.

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