So when people ask me what I’m “into” regarding music, movies, books, whatever, I always struggle for a response. I’m not one of those “Oh, I like everything” type people; I definitely have strong opinions on what I like and what I don’t like. For the most part, I don’t like “mainstream” stuff. At the same time, I’m not really into pretentious art-house stuff either. Stuff I like tends to be slightly different, but not so different as to make in inaccessible to most people. The stuff I like isn’t difficult to find, either. Plus, stuff I like tends to have a large, but not enormous, fan base. So what to call it?
In the latest issue of Harper’s, Werner Herzog nails it. When the director is asked if it frustrates him that his films are not more well known, he answers, “I believe in what I call the secret mainstream”. Exactly! Secret Mainstream. That almost exactly describes what I’m into. Popular, but just out of the mainstream enough to where you still feel camaraderie with fellow fans. Subversive, but not to the point of abstract pointlessness and incomprehensibility (did I just make up a word?).
The casual reader doesn’t know who David Foster Wallace is, but almost anyone really into modern literature is at least aware of him. Same with Herzog and movies. Same with Mr. Show and comedy. Same with Dillinger Four and punk.
I finally found what I was looking for.