> "the mainstream" was always a network of overlapping subcultures.

This too was part of my critique, that "mainstream" was just a story the dominant subculture(s) told about their own importance. Now I'm not so sure, thus the OP. Maybe the whole was more than the sum of its parts? It definitely feels to me like there was some larger layer of cultural cohesion that isn't there anymore, and I'm no longer convinced this is progress.

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