19 May 2008

I'll explain later

Now that I have the CM unified theory of cults, the next step is a unified theory of subcultures. I am inspired to this by an examination of hard-core Italian football supporters and their (to my mind) thought-provoking cultural similarities to "old Anonymous"* of Ebaumsworld and similar online forums. The connecting link seems to be what in Dungeons and Dragons jargon would be called a "chaotic neutral alignment" - the determination to do anything, anywhere, to anyone for a good time / the lulz - and deliberate embrace of racist, sexist, homophobic and generally offensive humour just because it gets such a satisfyingly outraged response from the cultural elite. It's carnivalesque, on other words - which leads us on to its connection to the Faction Paradox mythos and some brands of modern occultism, neopaganism or even Satanism - hell, back to the figure of Loki in the Norse mythology.

Every taboo needs its relaxation. Every cultural construct needs a "joker in the pack", someone who is going to break all the rules for the hell of it. It's a safety valve. It is not - sadly - something that destabilises the cultural systems, but on the contrary reinforces and preserves them. But on the other hand, the smug liberal social theorists who think of football fandom or Pedobear fandom as havens of social evils that need to be ostracised and if possible abolished have got it totally wrong themselves. The idea that some taboos can never, ever be relaxed is born out of the hubris of the cultural-administrator class that they can control everyone's thoughts all the time. If it worked, it would lead to totalitarianism, aka cultural stasis, the "Ghost Point". Thankfully it doesn't work.

*Not to be confused with "new Anonymous", the anti-Scientology protest movement, although there are various levels of overlap.