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  1. #1
    Senior Member Viridian's Avatar
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    Default Does mainstream = bad?

    (No, this isn't a thread about hipsters.)

    I've recently read a book on movies that described certain directors as "commercial", and I began thinking... Does everything that is popular or "mainstream" - however you might define the word - by definition un-progressive, whitewashed, "dumbed down", non-inclusive, "safe", or whatnot? Does something getting popular signal the meggido of its individuality/originality/convention-defying?

    And does liking "mainstream" stuff say anything about you?

    (Sorry if this is poorly articulated, I'm eager to clarify stuff if you ask.)

  2. #2
    libtard SJW chickpea's Avatar
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    a large part of mainstream culture is really dumb or corny, but i can't stand people who completely reject it and dismiss anything mainstream without giving it a chance. it's just a form of elitism, i feel like the internet and the rising of the hipster mentality has made it more widespread. rejecting the mainstream has become kinda mainstream, at least for a lot of young people.

    but i thoroughly enjoy myself while watching jersey shore and listening to radio rap. and they aren't guilty pleasures because i'm not guilty .

  3. #3
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    I think the problem many people have with commercial 'art' is that it is not done the way it is done for artistic but for monetary reasons. While not everything is popular because it was designed to be popular, some things obviously are. If that - art being done without artistic intentions - is sufficient reason to disdain it depends on one's views on art and aesthetics in general. Those views, of course, are ultimately subjective.

  4. #4
    Senior Member jimrckhnd's Avatar
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    A lot of "mainstream" culture is dumbed/watered down to a LCD level and this is nothing new - newspapers used to have a mythical average reader that the paper was pitched to - who always seemed to be a not particularly bright milk man or something like that. Food in chain resturants is typically more restrained with seasonings. Compare Miles Davis with Kenny G. - very different audiences and very different approaches (and VERY different talent levels but I digress ). The list goes on.

    That does not always mean its "bad" (though it very often is) but it is typically less interesting (to me anyhow).
    Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups

  5. #5
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    Totes.

    /pretentious



    (I agree with nico)

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimrckhnd View Post
    That does not always mean its "bad" (though it very often is) but it is typically less interesting (to me anyhow).
    Yes. A lot of mainstream music (let's take popular christmas songs) are engineered to be easy listening and generally liked. It's like candy for your brain. But you listen to it too much and, depending on your tolerance (your brain's sweet tooth), it can start to drive you crazy. It may just be a matter of how tolerant people are to fluff. But it IS popular because our brains LIKE that kind of stuff. Just some of us can't take much of it, while others can.

    And just think, Stevie Wonder used to be a ground-breaking musician. Now he's on numerous Easy Listening radio stations. The neural pathways of the general populace have been carved out to accept and like his music. So much so that now it's brain candy. It doesn't challenge us like it used to. But would you say his music is BAD?

    I wouldn't.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Viridian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by allegorystory View Post
    Yes. A lot of mainstream music (let's take popular christmas songs) are engineered to be easy listening and generally liked. It's like candy for your brain. But you listen to it too much and, depending on your tolerance (your brain's sweet tooth), it can start to drive you crazy. It may just be a matter of how tolerant people are to fluff. But it IS popular because our brains LIKE that kind of stuff. Just some of us can't take much of it, while others can.
    Does that mean "mainstream" stuff has no artistic value?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Viridian View Post
    Does that mean "mainstream" stuff has no artistic value?
    Hmm...depends on how we're defining artistic value.

  9. #9
    Senior Member jimrckhnd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by allegorystory View Post
    Yes. A lot of mainstream music (let's take popular christmas songs) are engineered to be easy listening and generally liked. It's like candy for your brain. But you listen to it too much and, depending on your tolerance (your brain's sweet tooth), it can start to drive you crazy. It may just be a matter of how tolerant people are to fluff. But it IS popular because our brains LIKE that kind of stuff. Just some of us can't take much of it, while others can.

    And just think, Stevie Wonder used to be a ground-breaking musician. Now he's on numerous Easy Listening radio stations. The neural pathways of the general populace have been carved out to accept and like his music. So much so that now it's brain candy. It doesn't challenge us like it used to. But would you say his music is BAD?

    I wouldn't.
    I see similar trends in food. Twenty years ago sushi and jerked chicken were pretty exotic stuff. Now... you have mall sushi and Fridays has jerked stuff on the menu. Now it isn't as good as the "real" thing but it clearly shows that popular tastes can be modified and the exotic can become mainstream. All in all, at least with food, that isn't all together a bad thing. Your example of music is similar.

    And your point about fluff (or "brain candy" as I call it) is well taken. I need it sometimes but 1) not very often and 2) not in large doses. However, I'm well aware that other people's tolerance is different. Where I do get bent out of shape with it is when there seems to be such a large number of people who seem to indulge in a steady diet of the stuff.

    Moreover, tastes can be dumbed down as well as elevated. Much of the mass media is just drek at this point and people have grown to expect and accept that. Let's face it - move TV is crap and has been getting worse for decades. I don't even want to talk about the news media - too depressing.
    Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups

  10. #10
    Senior Member Santosha's Avatar
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    I used to cringe at alot of mainstream, but find it inevitable. Just about anything neat will get gobbled up by the mainstream eventually. I now cringe at the anti-mainstreamers. Originality is fucking dead. Sorry, it is. There is probably not one thought, feeling, act, or expression that hasn't been done before. So eat your sushi, and be happy to be alive. =)
    Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun - Watts

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