The Offbeat market, summed up

Courtesy of Alexandra Dal

This web comic by Alexandra Dal pretty much summarizes a large chunk of the Offbeat Empire's readership — I love my special snowflakes, because I totally am one. As I wrote last year in my post, Are Offbeat weddings trendy?:

We are all sheeple

The trend-averse reactive response — I totally get it. It doesn't always feel good to feel like a sheep. We're all special snowflakes, aren't we? Yes, we're all snowflakes — exactly the same in our perceptions of our somehow-differentness. The truly amazing book/photo project Exactitudes pretty much nailed that discussion for me. Back in 2004, I was flipping through the book, laughing at all the "we're all different in the same way!" studies of sheeple, and then I came to this page:


The description of the set read, in its charming ESL poetry:

Children of the flouro force, creative DIY girls, running up hip outfits, spontaneous fruits in the chill-out room, spaced out on laughing gas.

I blinked. I stammered. This identity that I had worked so hard for, that I had molded and carefully tended like a bonsai tree, that I thought of as truly ME — it was summed up by some photographers in Rotterdam, describing a bunch of girls who had tended their own careful bonsai trees. These weren't my people — these were people on the other side of the planet doing the EXACT SAME FUCKING THING AS ME! I was in my late-20s when I had this realization: we're all sheep in some form or another. We are social creatures, and we are navigating through our lives in proximity to each other, and this proximity translates into cultural trends.

It's not a bad thing. I swear. Not if you're awake about it, and aware of the influences around you. One old raver friend summarized this as "scene not herd." It's not a bad thing to be part of a scene or trend — you just need to be self-aware enough to recognize it and examine it to make sure it's what you really want. You can't fall asleep at the wheel, but you don't have to pull over and get out of the car.

Read the full Are Offbeat weddings trendy? post if you haven't. It's an oldie but a goodie.

(Comic found Kate Or Die)

  1. Have to admit, the first time I heard about Exactitudes, I was strangely proud that I didn't fit in to any of the categories! Really, they just had forgotten the 'geeky girl who doesn't really care about appearance'.

    However, I do think it's maybe a coping mechanism – you never really felt like you fit in, so therefore you're a special snowflake!

    2 agree
    • Exactly that! As I said in the post, "Yes, we're all snowflakes — exactly the same in our perceptions of our somehow-differentness." :)

      4 agree
  2. Hey Ariel! I'm actually at alexandradal.tumblr.com — Kate Or Die is a completely different person/site, though we are both female cartoonists.

    1 agrees
    • Hi, Alexandra! I know you and Kate aren't the same person — She's listed as (ᔥKate Or Die) in this post as a way of showing that I found your site via her's. More about that squiggly line over here: http://www.curatorscode.org/

      That said, I can see how the placement of her name could be confusing, so I've moved it. But don't you worry, I'm VERY clear that you're not the same person!

      0 agree
      • D'oh, that's what happens when I read without my glasses – I'm just used to being mixed up with Kate Leth lately and the placement threw me off. Thanks!

        0 agree

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