What do you think of when you hear the words “counterculture” or “underground?” The definition has always been a bit seedy and amorphous. But from the 1950s through the mid-’90s, to be part of the counterculture or underground meant that you were against mainstream or popular culture.
Perhaps I have a bit of a soft spot in my head for the idea or ideal of what is suggested by the very word “counterculture.” It could very well be that I’m just becoming a complainy old fart who pines for the days when television sets were square and you had to make an effort to find weird music, weird art, weird film and the weird people who made and enjoyed all the things that flew below the radar.
What is counterculture now? Where is the underground? With the dawning of the Internet age, the very idea of the underground or counterculture seemed to become more and more nebulous. Everything became increasingly fragmented, yet access to the most out-there culture became increasingly easy.
I could be completely wrong-headed in this thought, and that’s part of the reason I’m making this endeavor. But to me, it’s the difference between what you work for and what’s given to you. When you have to work hard to find the people, music and things that were interesting to you yet definitely outside the mainstream, you love it more. When it’s available with just a few clicks, the value is diminished. I’m not saying being an outsider back in the day was better. I’m just saying it’s different than being an outsider now.
It’s a complaint as old as written history– what we had that was once special is now taken for granted. It sucks and it has those of us who worked at building and maintaining a counterculture feeling a little butthurt. I think that’s OK. I think we should remember and respect our roots. I think it is our duty to teach and preserve what was once counterculture, even as it inevitably becomes pop culture. But most importantly, I think we should look for how counterculture has evolved. Has it evolved? Does it exist? Does it matter?
This is all fine, fanciful and poncey, but I also believe it deserves some degree of philosophical spelunking. Hopefully, we won’t take ourselves so seriously that you’re bored to death. In fact, I’d be happier if I made you laugh.
So welcome to my little trashcan– a digital dump site for my thoughts and interests. Yes, it’s another blog. It ain’t much, but it’s mine. If there is a glue that binds these random bits and bobs together it’s that all the contributors were involved with some subculture or another, something that set them apart from the mainstream at the time. Maybe you’ll join us in mourning a collective sense of loss for the things that once were. But hopefully, you’ll also join us in celebrating what is and what will be decidedly counterculture and poking fun at that which is not.
Stay tuned. Petite Poubelle is a work in progress.