As we become young adults, often at school or college, we begin to discover our own personal identity by the manner of thinking about the world around us. We form our own independent opinions and feelings on the processes, culture, and methodology that we are subjected to. It is not uncommon to quickly find reasons to dislike an element of the society we are brought up in, as no decent society can claim perfection, with each evolution and change new issues and blind-spots arise that cause problems for some.
At first many people choose to form an objective counter opinion about at least one element of society, and will use this as a means to self-identify for a period of time. However, there tends to be a cut off point in which society insists that the way presented is the best and most virtuous path and will passively assert itself through the media and information in a continual manner. At this cut off point, an individual will choose to either accept society as the best way and drop their disquiet levels to a more viable and conformist approach via many of the official pathways available, or they will make a choice to not accept society and refuse to allow the pressure of culture to 'snip their wings'. The alternative scene offers the subcultural pathways to an emotionally involved and sociological meaningful life via validation of rule-sets and lifestyles that do not adhere to the popular trends.
The mainstream offers an official alternative scene that is dominated by a handful of magazines, radio, and television stations, and it does offer a shard of light on the subcultures that it represents however the main agenda is commercial, which creates a reflective feedback loop into more of the same, filtering out new and experimental art in favour of formula driven look-a-likes and icon grooming. The effects of the mainstream alternative scene media are noticeable in the crowds, as many will gladly accept the offerings, however there is yet another, more extreme or hardcore alternative scene participant, who will not accept ideas and opinions from anything that has a commercial agenda.
Deeming something worthy of cult status usually requires the creators to have had an element of creative genius or ingenuity that surpassed the need to spend a fortune and therefore lace the product with commercial input to make up for it. Doing something new, fresh, exciting, and without spending a lot of money is how to make a huge impact in an alternative scene, as it validates the notion that commercial interest is a spare wheel in the world of cultural expression.
The dualistic paradox is that everyone requires money to live, and apart from the communitarian ideology of a money free society which would require everyone to subscribe to and a massive change in global processes in unison without objection, some form of commercial interest has to be involved in order to sustain the output of underground non mainstream alternative media. Usually a small fan base of dedicated subscribers, listeners, or buyers ensure that the continual upkeep of the art is maintained by buying into the scene they feel a part of, and maintain their connection with the subcultural identity by doing so. Finding the balance between making a living and providing underground media and art is tough, and the choice is often in the hands of the general public.
This takes us back to the feedback loop system which creates a system of demand for a particular source of media which is supplied. The success of the media determines how far the demand reaches, and how much the supply can take place. It is a matter of finance and time, which are related to one another in the world of work. Because of this, many underground media producers make a very small living in order to remain within the acceptable norms of their field. The plus side to this equation is that the consumers expect diverse and non-consumer based material which also speaks to their personal identity and helps them to make further facets on the personal gemstone of their personality.
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