Citizens who were Originally Generic (COG) – Noun; A member of a formerly populous but now increasingly rare demographic. COGs are remarkable in their ability to keep civilization going merely by behaving themselves. Their main proclivities; pulling their own weight and not acting like chimps, were formerly so commonplace as to be “default behavior”, hence the term “Originally Generic”. Most successful societies have had some COGs within their populace. Societies without COGs tend to fade, sometimes slowly, (see: Roman Republic) or decay into anarchy (see: Easter Island, Mad Max, Detroit).
America should rue the loss of COGs. COGs are the shrinking demographic of people who are simultaneously unremarkable yet pillars of our society. They quietly hold down jobs, are the best parent and spouse they can be, and generally want nothing more than to be left alone. They’re unsettled by our society’s growing population of Jerry Springer freakshow wanna-bes. They believe that society can handle only so many “high maintenance” people and events seem to be bearing that out.
COGs quietly wonder if “high maintenance” people in sufficient numbers are unsustainable; especially in relation to making or maintaining the things that make civilized life pleasant. Their concern is that “high maintenance” people displace people who actually get things done. When the world is overrun with vegan community organizers who is going to fix the transmission on a Chevy? When Kansas focuses too much on snake handling and interpretive dance, who will make corn flakes? If you harnessed the efforts of a thousand lawyers, could they make a functioning septic system? If every yoga instructor on earth worked together, could they get the lawn mowed?
They are concerned that the number of average schmucks who keep the lights on is approaching a dangerous minimum. They like civilization. They want it to continue.
Today’s post is the first in a multi-part a salute to that long ignored, often hassled, demographic of Citizens who were Originally considered Generic. They once formed thundering herds which spread unremarkable stability throughout their world. Increasingly hassled and hunted to near extinction they’ve since become rare; even extirpated from some locations (see: San Fransisco, Boulder, Madison, large swaths of Europe). These habitats have become “too weird” for COGs to survive.
I hate to see COGs go. Without them, we’re in for a hell of a ride.