20 votes

What’s a subculture you’re part of, and what insights can you give to outsiders about it?

What’s a subculture you’re part of, and what insights can you give to outsiders about it?

What’s important that people outside the subculture know? What are some common misconceptions they have?

How and why did you get involved with it? In what ways is it meaningful to you?

28 comments

  1. [3]
    knocklessmonster
    Link
    Algorave/livecoding. I'm not as active as I was when I started, but like to think I'm a peripheral member of this culture. I still play with it regularly as I do other instruments/methods of...

    Algorave/livecoding. I'm not as active as I was when I started, but like to think I'm a peripheral member of this culture. I still play with it regularly as I do other instruments/methods of music.

    It's one of the coolest things I've ever heard of or done. You're performing a piece of art live, but it's being executed by something else. Most people use a code environment like SuperCollider, or built on top of it like Tidalcycles, FoxDot, iXi, ChucK, or SonicPi, some people write their own custom systems, and others have their own esoteric methods of doing things. One person was pulling YouTube videos in windows to make a piece of music out of them all in a particularly memorable stream.

    I guess the important thing is it's about the art. There are many initiatives, internationally, to draw people from all backgrounds into the fold with specific focuses on groups that are underrepresented in technology (Women, LGBT+, BIPOC in regions they're underrepresented, etc) and a celebration of international cultures. Events are "hosted" from various countries for all sorts of uniquely culturally-connected events, and even then each of these is open to all comers.

    I'm more of a fly on the wall, watching streams, making music in my own little corner, sharing what I know when people ask questions if I stumble into a thread somewhere about something I know, but I came into this because it looked cool. I think this was the first video I ever saw of Benoit and the Mandelbrots, a Dutch group who worked with Supercollider, and it blew my mind. I watched videos, but didn't ask any questions thinking it was just developer stuff, it's way over my head. A few years later I learned about Sonic Pi, by Sam Aaron at University of Cambridge, written for the Raspberry Pi to teach programming through music, which was my first foray into it. I decided I wanted to finally get the hang of Supercollider itself, and Sean Cotterill wrote this badass guide on how he does it, which got me up and running in pure Supercollider + JITLib (the library in Supercollider that facilitates livecoding), and eventually moved to Tidalcycles, a Haskell-based language that is built to represent time as "cycles."

    My major misconception was you had to be a god-tier programmer to do this. You don't have to be technically inclined to do it, you just have to be willing to learn a little, like any instrument. If you pick and stick with a system you'll be quite proficient in it in a surprisingly short time. If all else fails you can duct tape some cool parts together to customize a system and do cool stuff with it.

    I think this scene and hobby is great for the reasons Sean Cotterill described in his guide here, and particularly loved that it was all free software. I sort of stumbled into it trying to write my own generative music in Renoise, so found the notion of being able to do randomly performed pieces in a tool like Sonic Pi was great when I started, and everything grew from there. It is a liberating way of making music and nobody cares if what you make isn't objectively "good," because the goal is to experiment and make some noise.

    11 votes
    1. [2]
      vektor
      Link Parent
      Oh wow. It's super interesting there's an entire subculture to it. I've seen a website once where you enter code and it plays it back to you. That is, you fill a function playback(time t){} with...

      Oh wow. It's super interesting there's an entire subculture to it. I've seen a website once where you enter code and it plays it back to you. That is, you fill a function playback(time t){} with code, and it produces and plays a waveform from it. So if you put playback(t){return sin(440 * 2 * pi *t), you'll get a 440hz tone. I guess it's the most bare bones form of livecoding. Sadly, I've lost the website. I've tried to build my own version, but to little success. If anyone knows of such a thing, let me know.

      1 vote
      1. knocklessmonster
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Might it have been Gibber? It's the only fully fleshed out browser-based environment I can think of. And yeah, it grew quite a bit as I was getting into it, and seems to be growing steadily, if...

        Might it have been Gibber? It's the only fully fleshed out browser-based environment I can think of.

        And yeah, it grew quite a bit as I was getting into it, and seems to be growing steadily, if slowly.

        1 vote
  2. [16]
    FishFingus
    (edited )
    Link
    Uhhhhhh...gay...BDSM and.....furry? Can't really claim to have been part of much else of note. As for what's insightful about any of that, no idea unless someone thinks the answer they get is...

    Uhhhhhh...gay...BDSM and.....furry? Can't really claim to have been part of much else of note. As for what's insightful about any of that, no idea unless someone thinks the answer they get is insightful. AMA, I guess.

    Edit: Ohhhh wait, no, I think I was loosely a part of the 'New Atheist' subculture that blossomed on YT in the late 2000s and early 2010s. I forget how or when I dropped out of following that, but looking back I probably dodged an alt-right bullet.

    9 votes
    1. [11]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      I've always been a bit curious about the whole "community" part of BDSM. I get being kinky and seeing a lot of the same people when indulging in them, but I don't think I would have thought of it...

      I've always been a bit curious about the whole "community" part of BDSM. I get being kinky and seeing a lot of the same people when indulging in them, but I don't think I would have thought of it as a community.

      So like, if you were to take your BDSM community friends over to Starbucks for some coffee, what do you talk about? Or if you go to a house party, is it going to be assumed to be filled with sensuality?

      And more specifically, you bring these three communities up together in a single sentence; so just for clarification, are you talking about three broad communities or one extremely specific community? And if it is just one niche community, how do you find eachother?

      6 votes
      1. [4]
        MimicSquid
        Link Parent
        Think of BDSM like any other sport/hobby. My wife is a cyclist. She goes riding on the weekends with friends. To that end, she has a bicycle, bicycle maintenance gear, cycling specific clothing...

        Think of BDSM like any other sport/hobby. My wife is a cyclist. She goes riding on the weekends with friends. To that end, she has a bicycle, bicycle maintenance gear, cycling specific clothing and protective equipment, space in the home to store the bicycle, maintenance gear, etc. When she's not cycling, she also hangs out with people who are also cyclists. They have something in common, they're used to spending time together in other contexts, they already know each other. Even when they aren't cycling the same social forces encourage them to be, in general, in the same social circles. Now replace bicycles with sex toys. Or motorcycles. Or rock climbing gear. Or whatever. The very fact of having the hobby in common is an effective social glue, even setting aside the warm fuzzies that come from BDSM.

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          FishFingus
          Link Parent
          This is quite a decent analogy. I usually describe it like adding condiments and seasoning to a dish. The umbrella of BDSM is wider than most ppl probably realize - they'd probably be surprised to...

          This is quite a decent analogy. I usually describe it like adding condiments and seasoning to a dish. The umbrella of BDSM is wider than most ppl probably realize - they'd probably be surprised to know that it can be partaken in without any equipment, and just behaviour.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            MimicSquid
            Link Parent
            Oh, certainly. BDSM is not all about the gear, and the gear can certainly be a distraction from the core of the experience. The thing I think I failed to express above is the way all that physical...

            Oh, certainly. BDSM is not all about the gear, and the gear can certainly be a distraction from the core of the experience. The thing I think I failed to express above is the way all that physical stuff and activities together create a lot of things to talk about. How was that latest experience? Do you prefer this brand or that brand? Have you seen the new hot thing? It's not "about" the stuff, but I've personally sat around while people debated both bicycles and paddles in incredible depth. :D

            3 votes
            1. FishFingus
              Link Parent
              Ooh, yes. I like that part. It's such a big subculture that it has subsubcultures. It's a nerd's delight!

              Ooh, yes. I like that part. It's such a big subculture that it has subsubcultures. It's a nerd's delight!

              1 vote
      2. [3]
        FishFingus
        Link Parent
        The 3 subcultures are like a venn diagram. I found it by using online groups, but for IRL meetups I'm pretty short on practice due to life getting in the way. I'd probably use the more popular...

        The 3 subcultures are like a venn diagram. I found it by using online groups, but for IRL meetups I'm pretty short on practice due to life getting in the way. I'd probably use the more popular apps, I suppose, starting with the casual ones. When it comes to BDSM hookups, I think the risk of being catfished and abused is more serious than vanilla stuff because of the damage someone can do intentionally or accidentally (through lack of experience) using implements. Jumping in the deep end is a particularly bad idea. Thankfully, nearly all the online and IRL BDSM groups I've encountered have a serious and proactive policy toward handling potential abusers, and word about those people gets passed around. Someone older than me might tell you that this is a result of the community having to look out for itself because the police and press would do the opposite. It's often advised to meet ppl in public and let a friend know where you'll be so that they can check on you. At any rate, BDSM meetups can be called "munches" (for reasons I still don't understand), and can be surprisingly casual. I attended two in a nearby city where we literally just had dinner at Wetherspoon's and chatted about shared hobbies, advice, gay venues, that kind of stuff.

        I really just mentioned the 3 at once because I discovered I was into them on the same evening...along with a bunch of other stuff. That was a busy evening.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          mtset
          Link Parent
          It's called that because of the USENET alt.sex.bondage- and BABES-affiliated "Kirk's Burger Munch," one of the first large informal, non-play party BDSM get-togethers in the US.

          At any rate, BDSM meetups can be called "munches" (for reasons I still don't understand), and can be surprisingly casual.

          It's called that because of the USENET alt.sex.bondage- and BABES-affiliated "Kirk's Burger Munch," one of the first large informal, non-play party BDSM get-togethers in the US.

          3 votes
          1. FishFingus
            Link Parent
            That is such a wonderfully strange origin story that it makes me miss the early internet.

            That is such a wonderfully strange origin story that it makes me miss the early internet.

            1 vote
      3. [3]
        lou
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I think there’s some intercession with leather subculture. They have privacy focused forums, meetings, their own rules and stuff. Not unlike any kink subculture. I do have a curiosity for this...

        I think there’s some intercession with leather subculture. They have privacy focused forums, meetings, their own rules and stuff. Not unlike any kink subculture.

        I do have a curiosity for this kind of thing, but the whole leather thing is so kitcsh...

        1. FishFingus
          Link Parent
          Yeah, but you can have latex instead of leather if you want to go real fast!

          Yeah, but you can have latex instead of leather if you want to go real fast!

          2 votes
        2. rosco
          Link Parent
          Lol, but also true.

          but the whole leather thing is so kitcsh

          Lol, but also true.

          1 vote
    2. [2]
      knocklessmonster
      Link Parent
      I was there, too, and when I noticed it peeling right I sort of just didn't follow the logic. The Internet felt more conservative and edgy then, but around then things also started shifting.

      I forget how or when I dropped out of following that, but looking back I probably dodged an alt-right bullet.

      I was there, too, and when I noticed it peeling right I sort of just didn't follow the logic. The Internet felt more conservative and edgy then, but around then things also started shifting.

      3 votes
      1. FishFingus
        Link Parent
        Ha, yeah, and although I sometimes wish I realized I was bi in school...with my brain that would've potentially made things even more tense and stressful. Instead I should probably feel lucky that...

        Ha, yeah, and although I sometimes wish I realized I was bi in school...with my brain that would've potentially made things even more tense and stressful. Instead I should probably feel lucky that I used that time to get my edgy, immature and reactionary phase out of the way relatively early, then met my BF later when I could really appreciate him.

        2 votes
    3. [2]
      Surira
      Link Parent
      I need to better understand the furry subculture bc a family member recently told me he's into it now. I tried asking questions but didn't get very far as he's not the most talkative person! He...

      I need to better understand the furry subculture bc a family member recently told me he's into it now. I tried asking questions but didn't get very far as he's not the most talkative person! He has an elaborate costume (fursonality?) and everything, and has been going to cons recently. Is there a major overlap between gay/BDSM and furry subcultures, for example? I have no idea.

      3 votes
      1. FishFingus
        Link Parent
        There's certainly an overlap, though I'm not sure how big it is. A lot of ppl are into furry stuff just for the [SFW] art and/or fursuiting, and I'm sure they don't appreciate being perceived by...

        There's certainly an overlap, though I'm not sure how big it is. A lot of ppl are into furry stuff just for the [SFW] art and/or fursuiting, and I'm sure they don't appreciate being perceived by those outside the subculture as sex-obsessed weirdos, so I try to tone down the "UwU" stuff around them because it probably makes them want to stick their head in a microwave out of social embarrassment.

        I might describe myself (and those I think are comfortable with it) with terms like "degenerate" or "morally depraved", largely because I think my brain stopped ageing shortly after 18 and some words are hilarious to me, but I also recognize that a lot of people join the subculture to feel at home and escape from language like that, so that kind of behaviour also gets curated depending on company.

        The biggest overall part of the furry fandom is the art. When you want to start out and have an idea of what you want an anthropomorphic version of yourself to look like (your fursona), you can either do a search for ready-made "adopt" posts and buy one of them, or commission a custom one from an artist. You can then partake in "YCH" (Your Character Here) art from other artists, which you'd proceed to proudly display on your page. Beyond that...there's not a whole lot to it, really, but a whole heck of a lot of art gets bought and sold. A character and its associated art can go for hundreds, depending on the cost of the individual pieces, and I know of one artist (veeery much the exception) who frequently charges thousands per piece. They're frequently criticized for it in comments whenever they post YCHs. Interestingly, I think most artists I see are Russian, and I get the impression that it's one of the most attractive (and relatively stable) options for work in the country.

        I don't know what makes me like the idea of having a fursona, and I'm not going to share mine (it would link my identity here to other accounts and bring up a fair amount of NSFW stuff). Probably an under-researched area, but when I look back, I reckon it started young with cartoons. I get the feeling that's a common origin story...and one that's shared with BDSM stuff, coincidentally. What was it with cartoons back in the day???

        1 vote
  3. [2]
    Alekhine
    Link
    Film photography. I only recently got into it and have been pleasantly consumed by it. There's been a massive resurgence of interest in the form, mainly driven by social media like YouTube and...

    Film photography. I only recently got into it and have been pleasantly consumed by it. There's been a massive resurgence of interest in the form, mainly driven by social media like YouTube and Instagram. Old cameras from the 70s and 80s are still plentiful, so getting into it is cheap, but there are ongoing costs you don't get with digital shooting. You have to keep buying film, and you have to develop it, either by sending it to a lab or doing it yourself.

    Currently there is a bit of doom and gloom in the community with the rise of film prices that have come with inflation. At this point 35mm camera film is a somewhat niche item. There are some indications though that price increases are just because of increased demand, and that Kodak is ramping up production of film again to meet it. Ideally, film becomes the next vinyl.

    7 votes
    1. TheRtRevKaiser
      Link Parent
      My sister-in-law works at a local independent film lab that does digitization and scans of film, and it's been interesting hearing her talk about their equipment. They got a couple of different...

      My sister-in-law works at a local independent film lab that does digitization and scans of film, and it's been interesting hearing her talk about their equipment. They got a couple of different film scanners that were made decades ago and apparently there's almost nobody left that knows how to work on them. Plus they've had to develop their own process to get the digital files off the machines and onto their servers since the scanners run such old software. It's a fascinating business.

      1 vote
  4. [5]
    HotPants
    Link
    Motorcyclist. We wave at each other. Except for Harley riders.

    Motorcyclist. We wave at each other. Except for Harley riders.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      mycketforvirrad
      Link Parent
      I love waving rules. There's something so trivial, combined with a little snobbish, about the etiquettes involved. Sailboats wave to other sailboats, but don't you even consider waving at someone...

      I love waving rules. There's something so trivial, combined with a little snobbish, about the etiquettes involved.

      Sailboats wave to other sailboats, but don't you even consider waving at someone in a speedboat, pfft. They might try to wave at you, but don't wave back! Unless it's children indiscriminately waving at you from a pleasure boat of course. Then it'd be considered rude not to partake a friendly wave.

      That leads me to children waving at you from the rear window of the bus as you follow it down the road. Should you wave back? Should you even be encouraging this kind of erratic behaviour in the young. And don't get me started on bus drivers waving to each other...

      8 votes
      1. CharlieConway
        Link Parent
        Jeep Wrangler owners do the same thing and you definitely don't wave at someone driving any other type of Jeep. Only Wranglers. Other types of Jeeps are for dorks.

        Sailboats wave to other sailboats, but don't you even consider waving at someone in a speedboat, pfft. They might try to wave at you, but don't wave back!

        Jeep Wrangler owners do the same thing and you definitely don't wave at someone driving any other type of Jeep. Only Wranglers. Other types of Jeeps are for dorks.

        3 votes
    2. [2]
      lou
      Link Parent
      What about Harley riders?

      What about Harley riders?

      1. HotPants
        Link Parent
        Harley riders typically don't wave back? I used to be a lot more confident about this, but recently waved to a Harley rider while I was on my e-mountain bike, and got a barely perceptible head nod...

        Harley riders typically don't wave back? I used to be a lot more confident about this, but recently waved to a Harley rider while I was on my e-mountain bike, and got a barely perceptible head nod back.

        2 votes
  5. lou
    (edited )
    Link
    That's funny, I don't think I'm part of any regular subculture. Even when I like something, I don't like it nearly enough to consider myself an integral member of anything. I'm always at the...

    That's funny, I don't think I'm part of any regular subculture. Even when I like something, I don't like it nearly enough to consider myself an integral member of anything. I'm always at the border of every group, never at the core. I'm kinda scared that my autism assessment will be negative, because I kinda feel like I fit among those like nowhere else. Regardless, I'm still ADHD (and other stuff, sadly), so I guess I'm 100% in the neurodiverse crowd. I feel oddly at ease among drug users even though I never really used anything but alcohol, and bipolars and schizophrenics are like my brothers in crime lol. Normality is unsettling.

    6 votes
  6. rosco
    Link
    Great question! I think the main subculture I identify with is rock climbing (though mostly bouldering). I also am a part of cycling/bicycle touring/MTB (Autumn, if you see this I've been admiring...

    Great question! I think the main subculture I identify with is rock climbing (though mostly bouldering). I also am a part of cycling/bicycle touring/MTB (Autumn, if you see this I've been admiring you trips from afar) and Mapping/cartography subcultures (but we'll leave those for another day).

    I've been fortunate enough to have local crags/gyms across the world and for me it's my go to way to make friends/find community when I move to a new place. I also usually try to join the setting team at my local gyms and spend 4-12 hours a week giving back to the community. It's hard to say what the local culture of an area will be, but generally if you spent time getting to know the sport, understand the etiquette, and are enthusiastic people will be incredibly welcoming. So what are some insights? There are a number of sub-sub cultures (i.e. Traddie-Daddies, Boulder Bros, Multi-pitch fiends...) that align to climbing type and identity. It's not infrequent that age or injury with shift climbers from one focus to another. There is also constant change in popular types of climbing within each type of climbing. Right now dynamic moves are very hot in Bouldering (likely because they film well and look impressive on instagram) and cracks seem to be on the rise again in the gym (likely due to more accessibility to those kind of sets).

    I think it's important for people outside of the community to recognize that there is more here than Alex Honnold and that are folks putting up routes/first ascents that to me are much much more interesting. Also, there is a really interesting inclusivity movement happening in the community. It's a very white/asian community, at least here in the US, and there are on going discussions around who should be getting highlighted and what "impressive" means. One example is the push back on people like Alex Megos, who put up amazing climbs but also come from wealth and have the trainers/personal gyms/nutritionists to get them in peak shape. The last thing to keep in mind is that climbing is not a sport with linear improvement. Fitness is a huge part and injury/time off the rock/weight gain can mean loss of climbing grades pretty quickly. I know some people who are rarely injured but anecdotally I expect a new injury about once every 6 months. In the last 2 years I've over stretched 2 ligaments in my fingers, torn one of my achilles, and separated my sacroiliac.

    I got involved with it through a friend during college. It is a really special combination of puzzling, athleticism, and social time. For me, particularly as a boulderer, a session at the gym in the middle of the week means 2-4 hours of social time with friends with about maybe 30 minutes-1 hour of that spent actually climbing. There are times that I'll do more intense training (like arc training where I'd spend 15-30 minutes on the wall at a time, 3-4 times during a session) but mostly it's social. When setting I'll usually put up about a route an hour and usually set grades V3-V8 or 5.9-5.12a. I have a few friends I have been climbing with for about 15 years and we still get together semi-regularly for weekend climb trips even though we don't live near each other any more.

    It's also been an amazing way to explore other places both in the US and Internationally. I will usually try to incorporate climbing into any vacation or work trip that come up. My partner and I even brought our climbing shoes as "essential items" on a 5 month bike tour!

    4 votes