Mainstream is what? The essence of the phenomenon and the meaning of the word
The more often a foreign language concept is used in speech, the more difficult it is to grasp its meaning. It happened with the word "mainstream", which is not used only lazy. This is especially true of online discussions. “I read (watched, listened) this book (film, group) even before it became mainstream!” - often say individuals who want to seem special.
Meanwhile, older people are still wondering: "The mainstream is what?" It's time to figure it out!
Origins of the concept
It is believed that the phrase main stream has gained new meaning through the efforts of the American literary critic William Dean Howell.
This happened in the 40s of the last century. Howell, editor of The Atlantic Monthly, contrasted the so-called mainstream genre literature and intellectual prose. He believed that a realistic work can not be limited to the canons. A good book, according to Howell, should be written at the intersection of genres.The task of the author is to create a work in which the development of heroes will be seen and moral issues are touched upon. Good-quality realistic literature, interesting to many - this is the mainstream. Valuesomewhat different from the one we are used to, isn’t it? Howell’s opinion was shared by many Americans: realism in literature has become popular.
From English to Russian, the main stream is translated as “mainstream” or “mainstream”. This is a rather vague definition. English-language explanatory dictionaries offer a more detailed: widespread way of thinking. Another option - the prevailing trend, the main aspect. Thus, the meaning of the word "mainstream" can be reduced with a certain stretch to the concepts of "traditional", "generally accepted", and "correct in the mass consciousness." And for an American or a European there is nothing wrong with being part of the mainstream. In a stable and relatively prosperous society, the “mainstream” is something that is worth adhering to. It is important to note that the mainstream is not an ideology. It arises by itself, and is not imposed by spiritual or secular authorities.Initially, the concept was used in relation to culture and art, later it moved into politics, science and economics.
Mainstream is ... What does main stream in Russia mean?
An attempt to determine the meaning in which this concept is used by our compatriots is doomed to failure in advance. On the one hand, the mainstream is what's good for most. On the other hand, it is often identified with fashion, and fashion, unlike traditional values, is transient. The Soviet mainstream - socialist realism - was closely connected with political ideology, the modern one is not connected at all. Russian-speaking Internet users use this word with some disdain: “to go with the flow” among educated youth is considered indecent. But what was recently considered oppositional, tomorrow may already become “mainstream”. By the way, they even pronounce this word not in the same way as abroad, but with emphasis on the last syllable.
Mainstream: what does this concept mean to those who use it?
It is interesting that in the age of social networks, where everyone is busy with the same, each person seeks to show his exclusivity: “No, we will not go there, this is the mainstream ...”, “I don't listen to this - this is the mainstream”, etc.But when the "exceptional" is too much, they begin to turn into those who swim along the "mainstream". It would seem that more recently hipsters represented a kind of subculture, and now they are beginning to be perceived as mainstream.
However, each has its own opinion on what is generally accepted. Some criteria are difficult to select. However, the method “by contradiction” is well suited to identify the mainstream.
A bit of specifics
How to apply the above method? Let us consider the example of the "most important art". So, cinematic mainstream is what? Answer: this is all that is not an art house. Defining an art house is easier. This is a movie not for the mass audience, the author, traditionally shown in individual cinemas or special small halls. The mainstream and the arthouse are at different poles. The first one brings the creators money, the second one - a certain reputation. The mainstream in the movie, as in music, should be as accessible as possible. He contrasted with the independence of art. He is not required to arouse the thought of the viewer, but he must “knock out a tear” or make him flinch.Currently, the mainstream are films about people with supernormal abilities or any unique talents, post-apocalyptic pictures, film epics about the future, fantasy and comic book versions.
Comics in Russia, by the way, have not yet joined the mainstream. Photos of superheroes flaunt on stretch marks and billboards, but specialized stores of graphic novels have just begun to appear in large cities. Before the popularity and mass of the "ninth art" is far away.
Between pop and elite
"Refined natures" do not recognize the traditionalism and universality of the mainstream, and the marginals do not always represent what it is. Wearing sneakers, sharing demotivators and photos of kittens on social networks, listening to pop rock, running around in the morning is mainstream, but reading cheap soft paper novels and listening to chanson in a car is still not considered as such.
And yet, the mainstream - is that: fashion or consumer goods? It is too early to talk about it. The concept was included in the Russian language not so long ago and has not yet had time to acquire meaning. Perhaps time will put everything in its place.