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March 9, 2004
Reworked: June 18, 2006
About the "subculture",
What is the drive behind "underground"
the formation of an interchangeably
underground subculture? (except when I don't).
What were SUBCULTURE
What are This is a re-write of a discussion
we after? of a theory of the stages of
subcultural evolution presented by
erithromycin of alt.gothic, in the
I have been known to call it thread:
a "quest for enlightenment"
(with the words sticking in "You're In A Maze Of Twisty
my post-ironic throat); and Venn Diagrams, All Alike"
I've also talked about it as
"chasing your muse", but I His notion is that all
have the feeling that's all subcultures go through
just dancing around what four stages:
it's really about...
So, let's keep dancing. noun
There are many simple I have some minor
answers like the cynical disagreements about
"they're only in it for this model...
the sex and drugs" theory.
For example, it would
I'm of the opinion seem that there has to
that this doesn't be a "proto" stage,
hold... during which a quality
develops though it
hasn't yet been
In any Scene you can name, labeled with an adjective.
there's usually a lot of
hedonism going around (is e.g. There
there any reason there were punks
shouldn't be?), but the before there
mainstream has it's own was punk.
And it isn't clear why a FIRST_PUNKS Underground
hedonistic subculture would
need an overlay of style, The New York Dolls
art and/or politics.
I think you also need an STYLE_IMPAIRED
explanation for the form
that the hedonism takes.
A scene coalesces, an aesthetic
Any answer to "what were they evolves, *before* anyone even
after", runs up against the has an adjective for it.
problem "but you could find
that somewhere else": Except in rare cases,
enlightenment, meaning, where someone creates
understanding, place, a movement with an
position, belonging, sex, energetic manifesto.
drugs, kicks, fun, esteem,
ego... Possible example:
The mainstream world already has Sterling's "Cheap
it's resources in all of these Truth".
areas. That leads to nothing
but negative definitions. GENESIS_OF_THE_CYBER-PUNKS
The alternative is desirable
because it's alternative.
And to say why,
you need to Some of it is
describe the certainly a
failings of the matter of ego: Which is okay by me
straight / a need to feel (who am I to look
square / different from down on your need to
mainstream / everyone else. feel superior?).
establishment But reasons to feel superior
framework. to the common run of humanity
are not exactly in short supply.
So the failings of
the uberculture is Why pick one spurious
the key to the difference over another?
Once upon a time, CIRCULAR_MOTION
that was a question
on everyone's mind.
To say something like "it's
Oh, how could Johnny all about adolescence" is
have ever wanted to just another reductive
turn his back on our answer. Sure it *could* be
wonderful Dreamtown? that that's a big part of
it... but on the other hand
The "rebel without adolescence existed for
a cause" line was millennia before teenagers
popular because it were invented.
let everyone off
the hook, and
pointed the finger
back at those damn
And there is another
issue that needs to
be addressed: why
a culture at all?
Why not go solo?
To drop-out from
one side, must
one drop-in on
I think the answer is
The recurrent notion that a
*real* rebel, a *true* artist
must be a lone, isolated
individual is a strange
romantic ideal that bears
very little connection to the
way human beings have ever
Is the subculture a
product of the modern
When was the
Is it a reaction
to a (nearly) Once assimilation succeeds,
global culture? the only thing left is
counter-assimilation, The splintering off
attempts at self-conscious of "subcultures"
sub-division. from the main
arise only when And later, the
conditions are same impulse
so universal manifests itself
that there are when people feel
few local that their
Could it be a differences left subculture is now
product of that matter. the main culture.
wealth? Otherwise you
It may be subcultures,
necessary to live you'd have
in poverty to local cultures.
chase your muse,
but it's a much
than it once was.
Now it's more a
approbation than a
risk of death from
exposure or starvation.
Or at least, that's the
way it seems to me...
for someone living in There are indeed many
the United States. people in more dire
straights, but that
often seems like a matter
of substance abuse
and/or mental health.
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