The Oxford English Dictionary defines subculture as "a cultural group within a larger culture, often having beliefs or interests at variance with those of the larger culture." In long, a subculture is a segment of society that is in some way isolated from the mainstream, having values and practices that usually go against (and even subvert) the standards of the majority. In Tropeland, it provides an opportunity to entertain with details about language, mores and such for and about said segment.
Say what you want about predominant modern culture, it isn't everyone's bag. Some people appreciate things that skew differently than the cultural norm. Other people, like younger generations, can't seem to find a role in the culture of past generations, and so set out to create their own. Still others latch on to a new development and try to build it into something big, something that may one day reshape the norm. This is how a Subculture is created.
And therein lies the problem. The norm likes being the norm. It can't understand why people are pursuing something else. Ergo, the norm argues, the problem can't be that it just doesn't work for these people; no, there must be something weird, laughable, or even dangerous about these people. This meme then gets reused by the media, in the form of investigative reports and special episodes.
Just think of how many times the Columbine shootings were linked to violent video games or Marilyn Manson, instead of the fact that the shooters were likely the victims of bullying. Or the number of news stories that cover a comic book convention that include at least one photo of a fat man in an ill-fitting spandex costume. As screenwriter John Rogers says, one of the constants of American media is that "anyone who decides to poke their head out of the cultural world of the CBS primetime line-up is a sad, basement-dwelling loner screaming into his Hello Kitty pillow as crackling dubs of the original Spider-Man cartoon flicker on his television." This may be corrected or subverted on occasion, but it's safe to say that if a hobby or subgroup is not understood by the mainstream, it will be completely butchered in the media at one point or another.
Consider this thread the cure, or at least, a placebo. Useful Notes On Subcultures
is a sub-database for tropes surrounding subcultures in the media. It serves to both provide accurate info on subcultures while demonstrating the way in which said subculture is portrayed in the media, both accurately and... other wise redirects to this page. Some subcultures have their own Useful Notes topics to biograph their extensive histories, many facets, and other things that are usually missed out on by the media.
- BDSM ("the lifestyle")
- Gay/Lesbian/Transgender (however, No Bisexuals are portrayed on TV - except on Doctor Who)
- "Gypsies" (both Rom and IAT/Traveller/Pavee)
- The Riches deals with IAT/Travellers
- Mormon (Specifically, Underground Polygamist Mormons)
- Skater/Sk8r and fans of extreme sports in general
Japanese Subcultures have their own page.
Geeks and Nerds
Vegetarians and vegans
- Pac-Man Fever
- Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000
- Hollywood Game Design, in the case of Ascended Fanboys