Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wake up Neo: Alterati's statement on counterculture and the future

"The only way out of this cycle is to create, and forget about trying to be original.

People don’t set the artistic trends by trying to set the trends. They are genuine to what really gets them in the vitals. Fight long enough and it will find its market, or you will die trying. Even if only one other person reads and really absorbs your words, you haven’t lost.

Despite popular opinion within this “counter-culture,” effective marketing is not about outright manipulation. It is about meeting people halfway. For example, Yoga was boiled down from a very demanding esoteric practice with a rich and complex ideology behind it into something any housewife can do. These housewives were looking for a lifestyle change, a way to stay healthy and feel good. This was provided to them in an effective, albeit diluted, package. They wouldn’t have been gotten into the Yoga baby-pool if it wasn’t packaged in a way that catered to their needs and beliefs. Yet, at least at the moment, those more rich and intricate ideologies behind Yoga still exist, and they can be sought out. You can approach your own work with the same mentality."

There's a lot more, some it really harsh criticism of basically all underground culture, some of it kind of dismissive of anti-capitalist trends, but in relation to creation instead of imitation it's something to think about.

Alterati doesn't have an anti-capitalist perspective and is sometimes irritatingly and ignorantly dismissive of anti-capitalist ideas, but in relation to the more counter culture part of things, especially in relation to things having to do with the occult or occulture and weirdness, it's pretty good.

Title link leads to the whole thing. The part about it being a good idea for counter culture people to actually make a living is pretty nice.

on edit: I don't think that counter culture and radical political culture are opposed. I wouldn't necessarily call them parts of the same whole but I think that they in their own ways are motivated by similar concerns. The problem starts when people focus exclusively on the counter culture and don't pay attention to the issues around them or to liberation that's anything except individual. On the other side there's always the statement of "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution", although pragmatically it's not exactly easy or expedient to organize working folks who are mainly concerned with collective issues for themselves and for their communities while mixing a love of weirdness and occult/hippy themes in with it.

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