There is a trend lately in the newsroom for those few of us who have the privilege to write our own columns to create lists. It’s almost become so bad I was thinking of referring these fellow column writers to freelance for cracked.com. All that aside, I have decided this week to write a list of my favorite subcultures. Subcultures are just as they sound: a culture within a culture. They live in the alleyways and in the imaginations of those who feel seperated by mainstream society and dream of other possible realities and experiences. As an anthropology minor I find these groups fascinating. So here are my top five most interesting subcultures in the world, maybe you have heard of them.
5. Beatniks: It may be hard to imagine the Beatniks today, with their ultra-free lifestyles and poetic dialogue. At one time this pre-generation to both hippies and hipsters emitted cool. Like both, they were hard to define. Were they socialist or just bourgeoisie? If you asked them they would probably just tell you they were free. And like the Bohemians before them they lived as free as society allowed, taking every criticism with pride.
4. Grunge: What American is not in some way attracted to this? Flannel, angst and rock are all parts of our identity. And like most American subcultures, it’s based in music. I still love that sound even to this day. As shortlived as it was, the grunge culture made a big impact on the world, making sure we didn’t forget to be insular and depressed every once in a while.
3. Dieselpunk: Like clockpunk, steampunk and cyberpunk before it, dieselpunk is a subculture founded in the love of a previous world. In this case, the world of early modernism and 1930s technology. Who can say no to mixing science fiction with swing music and Ernest Hemingway? Throw in some Bauhaus and we’ve got ourselves a party.
2. Southern Gothic: This is basically a culture of William Faulkner fans, which I must admit, I am. It is the Old South dying, with creepy plantation homes and southern culture from blues to zydeco. All the fading scenes of last century’s South are here, whether happy or regretful. This allows us to recreate that lost image of deep southern accents and a slow pace without all the hate and bigotry. That’s a world worth exploring.
1. Surf: This culture is purely righteous bro, without a doubt. The surf culture’s connection to nature and its strive for both pure adrenaline and serenity on the waves makes it absolutely amazing. I’m not even sure I could get on a board, but I would be just as happy hanging out, talking slang and enjoying the scenery. Surfing is a subcultural success story if there ever was one.