Are you mainstream?
Or are you alternative?
These categories have been with me sort of automatically as a way of thinking since growing up in the 90s, when it was alternative rock against mainstream pop, and it became this statement of identity to be alternative.
Another word was indie.
Are you mainstream or indie?
So it became the statement of “I am alternative.
I am not like the mainstream.
I think for myself.
I’m I’m part of this different thing.”
Sidestream, you might call call it, adjacent to the mainstream.
And I always felt a little bit uncomfortable with this division, because on the one hand, I love being an eccentric original, so I clearly don’t feel allegiance to the mainstream, and I always enjoy hearing from people that are just completely different and see things in different ways, rather than just saying “Oh, that’s weird.
Just be normal.”
That to me is very boring, to just say “Just be normal.”
So I feel that attraction to the alternative view.
But then, meeting a lot of these alternative indie people, they have their own kind of club of particular beliefs that make them- that they see as correct, and so it becomes almost like its own mainstream.
It’s like, you know, these are the good bands, and these bands are sellouts.
So you can’t like those.
You have to like these bands.
And these ones, you know, that’s just mainstream.
So it becomes almost like this kind of shadow mainstream, where you have this particular set of things that are now considered to be normal and correct, and things that are outside that are just as weird and bad as the mainstream people might see the alternative people.
So yeah, I’m sort of left out, just being an eccentric original, and that’s OK.
I know there’s others of you out there, eccentric originals who just try to think in their own way and don’t necessarily fit into either mainstream or alternative.
Because some things about mainstream I think are actually good.
I mean, there’s a reason.
Like a lot of mainstream pop music, it sounds good.
Because just because a lot of people like it, there’s a chance that sometimes a lot of people are right.
And doing normal things: a lot of things that are “normal”
are normal for a good reason, because they work, and they’re basically good.
So it’s OK to be mainstream sometimes, and it’s OK to be alternative sometimes.
Certainly sometimes they get it right too.
So this whole division, I wonder how much it’s still a thing now, but I think this is something that comes back every generation, possibly with some different terminology.
But you certainly see it now to a big degree with the whole issue of news and current events.
I’ve been using the example of music, but with current events we see this sort of mainstream consensus, and then you have alternative.
So I have this same issue of being stuck in between, because mainstream news telling us certain stories in a certain way with a certain narrative, and a lot of it I find is clearly mistaken or not the right way to look at things, and so I object to the mainstream.
So then I’m a drawn to the alternative but then what do you get in the alternative?
So many different views, some of which are I think like completely wrong.
So you have some people will just say “Oh, you don’t believe this particular theory?
Oh, that must be because you’re just mainstream.
You just follow the propaganda.
You’ve been brainwashed, and that’s why you don’t believe this correct alternative theory.”
So it’s like you see all these alternative viewpoints where they’re kind of reconstructing their own kind of mainstream “propaganda”, you could say, of finding the “correct way to look at things, just their alternative version of it.
And of course you see that with the C word and the V word with the current situation, Covid and vaccines.
So you see the mainstream will say that the vaccines are 100% safe, it’s absolutely sure, and that clearly anybody that disagrees with that view is denying science.
OK, then I mean that’s clearly a very simplified line.
It could be described as propaganda, since it’s clearly trying to encourage people to get vaccinated by telling them a simplified picture of “It’s all settled.
It’s all fine.”
So I immediately challenge that.
I immediately stand against that, and so like I’m alternative, I’m not mainstream there.
But then I see some of the anti-vaxxers, and I think anti-vax is a dead end, and there’s no point.
I have some sympathy for the the choice to not take the vaccine, and I appreciate that it’s a break from the standard line of everything’s perfect.
But at the same time, I think it’s not actually helpful, and it’s probably more useful for most people to get the vaccine.
So I am stuck in no man’s land once again when it comes to these views.
So I’d be curious to hear what you think about this.
Where do you stand on alternative versus mainstream?
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