Geeks, mops, and sociopaths in subculture evolution, by David Chapman

Subcultures are dead. I plan to write a full obituary soon.

Subcultures were the main creative cultural force from roughly 1975 to 2000, when they stopped working. Why?

One reason—among several—is that as soon as subcultures start getting really interesting, they get invaded by muggles, who ruin them. Subcultures have a predictable lifecycle, in which popularity causes death. Eventually—around 2000—everyone understood this, and gave up hoping some subculture could somehow escape this dynamic.

(You can read very brief previews of my analysis of subculture dynamics in this table and/or this page.)

The muggles who invade and ruin subcultures come in two distinct flavors, mops and sociopaths, playing very different roles. This insight was influenced by Venkatesh Rao’s Gervais Principle, an analysis of workplace dynamics. VGR’s theory is hideous, insightful nihilism; I recommend it.

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