“Birds of a feather flock together” the old saying goes. Groups of people get together in different parts of the world, either with nostalgic intentions or to feel safe. Those of us involved in the creation and dissemination of symbols tend to have symbiotic connections to these groups in various shapes and forms.
Communities with minority populations have meagre resources compared to those of the mainstream. Artists and public tellers of stories affiliated to the smaller groups usually have to compete with each other to get much needed attention, in order to survive.
For this reason, a lot of energy is expended on proving to others that one sensibility is more authentic than another. The record business was especially guilty of this in those heady days when gatekeepers and companies could take a lot more for granted.
Now that the bubble has burst in that sector, new generations of artists have come along with their own ideas about identities and communal experiences. Some folks are fortunate enough to be chosen for display and attention by those who hold the purse strings. Does this mean they are telling the best stories or creating the most striking images?
Back in the day, the gatekeepers decided what was suitable for attention. At present, anyone can make his or her own sensibility available to folks who might want a taste of that experience. Is it time to wean ourselves off the old habits we needed when we were doing our utmost to be selected by gatekeepers?