Dear Dickheads – August 2008
I find it so interesting how Utah’s sub and countercultures so closely mimic the very mainstream culture they aim to resist and rebel against. Utah’s scenes are notoriously impossible to infiltrate, and that elitism and exclusivity is exactly what keeps the cycle going, when you’re on the outside jealously peering in, you bitterly hate on the snobs not accepting you; once on the inside yourself, you become the envied one who rejects others … and likes it.
The make-up of each subculture here holds an eerie resemblance to the Mormon culture that makes up Utah’s mainstream: there are the hard-core insiders who only associate with other scenesters and scoff and those with different beliefs as them; there are those who engage in just enough activity to be associated with the scene, but do their own thing when it suits them; and there’s the “investigator”, trying to fit in, but not really believing in it yet.
The attitude of most of the alternative social scenes here, whether conscious or otherwise, is, “This is what clothes we wear. This is what music we listen to, what people we associate with, where we socialize. If you too choose to accept all these things, not which ones are fitting for you, but all these things, then you are accepted here. It is all or nothing. If not all, you don’t belong and you are not welcome here.” This whole phenomenon gets the same reaction the Mormon community gets, those on the outside are resentful and judgmental, feeling their only choice is to join or be lonely.
There’s got to be a way out of this cycle. Sometimes I think it’s hard to meet people in Utah. But I think it’s about way more than just finding someone to go out with on the weekends. I want to feel that I belong to something that is meaningful to me. A community of people similar to myself. Where I can go and belong. It’s a strong concept. I just wonder how I can do this, and we as a community can do this, without it being at the expense and exclusion of someone else.
Dear Nellie Bottom,
I’m guessing that the reason you submitted this sad, whiney little abortion of developed rhetoric, and sent it to Dear Dickheads at SLUG Magazine, is because you couldn’t begin to believe in this black and white Venn diagram of Salt Lake City that you’ve laid out, and therefore wanted to inspire some witty rebuttal to show to your narrow-minded, dimwit friends who planted this vision in your head to begin with. First of all, who says alternative social scenes? Did you move to Salt Lake and look up ‘up and coming alternative social scenes’ on Craigslist? What did you find? ‘Fixed gear crew! We.hear-t e.e.Cu_ mm_ings!’ or ‘Proponents of Connor Oberst for President!’ Did you submit a resume for consideration? After rush week at your little urban scenester gang you probably had some head hipster honcho in tight pants and horn rimmed glasses sit you down in a worthiness interview and excommunicate you from the scene because you didn’t have Loveless on vinyl. Right? Everyone belongs to some demographic regardless of how markedly it stands out. When you start generalizing about groups you find yourself just as judgmental as those you accuse. If you want real friends, stop choosing them based on what clothes they wear, what music they listen to, what people they associate with and where they socialize.