It's all the rage today to be an astute contrarian. Or it's absolutely not.
When I grew up, one of two things made you "alternative":
1) Not fitting in to any already defined social parameters, or
2) Being purposefully alternative, seeking out counter cultures carved out by independent free thinkers, then copying/stealing their style and attitude because not being an empty husk of a nobody without a unique thought in your head or the courage to be who you are is, like, really hard sometimes.
This is my entire identity because I saw someone else doing it.
Today, being "alternative" is what the majority seeks. But the field has grown too crowded with contrarians, to the point where there's almost nothing to rebel against. Fortunately, I have the answer!!
Welcome to this quick guide on alternative alternatives for you to alternatively alternate between, and really shake up the status quo by once again stealing cool ideas from someone to show your uniqueness.
Alternative Alternative Medicine
It seems like these days, alternative medicine is more popular than it's been since the invention of actual medicine. For the unfamiliar, "alternative medicine" is a term derived from the latin medicus, which mean "physician who heals" and the greek alternative meaning "bullshit."
"The Bantu people of Malawi do this when they have hangnails. That's why their hair is so thick."
Whether someone claims that they can fix your depression by realigning your chakras or massaging away your diabetes, these are time tested cures with roughly the same effectiveness as "hoping real hard." Alternative medicine, usually from some far off and ancient land where, to this day, people still regularly die from eye infections, is a multi-billion dollar a year industry.
Outpace the hippies and spiritualists by getting into Alternative Alternative Medicines, like giving yourself something to make you sicker, kicking your immune system into high gear! Suffering from the flu? Dose yourself with malaria to induce a body positive response to fight off that inflection! The best part...it's allllllllll natural.
Alternative Alternative Music
Alternative music was a term that popped up in the late 80's for rock that didn't fit with the mainstream, meaning it sounded more pop than it did hardcore. This music was perfect for the alternative teen, who was more whiny than they were capable of expressing themselves.
Birthing sounds from the likes of R.E.M., Pearl Jam, and Radiohead to the likes of Coldplay, Muse, and Dave Matthews Band, literally every type of complaining white male suburban middle class voice was lifted out of the 3-car garage to the main stage.
"No way dude! MY DAD was more disappointed in ME!!!"
Today, with the internet making every "band" nobody has ever heard of available to the hipsters who "knew them way before you did," if you want to stand out in the music scene, you HAVE to get into alternative alternative music.
There have been great leaps forward in artsy "music" that is mostly just noise, or the lack thereof. Simon and Garfunkel sang about the Sounds of Silence, but now, actual "bands" are just putting out 4 minute "songs" with 3 or 4 noises, claiming the "music" exists in the "quite" "spaces." There's also poop-rock (recordings of people taking dumps), animal noises set as a symphony, and traffic on a highway as nature sounds.
Get ready to roll your eyes when nobody knows who the band on your t-shirt is once you become king or queen of the Alt Alt Rock scene!
Long the true enemy of the proper and upstanding nuclear American family (see: straight and white), alternative lifestyles are what we today call "lifestyles." Non-conforming to standards for gender, sex, race, family units, or traditional seating arrangements in mid-range Americana chain restaurants is less "alternative" than it's ever been.
In this example, it's not about finding alternatives to alternative lifestyles, but recognizing that ALL LIFESTYLES MATTER!!! By shrugging off the yoke of oppression set upon us by an open and free society accepting of change, the only way to move forward is to move backward.
Pictured: InCels, circa 2021
What we need are new old boundary building lifestyles, like ardent responsibility, subsistence farming, and having a village elder prearrange marriage based on relative hip sizes. Nothing says "stick it to the man" like following everything the man tells you to do in an orderly, top-down capitalist patriarchy!
Alternative Alternative Energy
One word: The Moon. Well, that was 2 words, but the operative one was MOON. I could have just typed "Moon," but we don't really call our moon Moon. Other moons are referred to by the planet they orbit, or are given names, but ours is just Moon. So, that. Moon.
Green cheese is filled with carbs. Carbs become energy. I am energy. MOON LAWYERED!!
Stick with me here. In all the discussion about alternative energy sources, nobody brings up the Moon. We have gigantic and ever growing energy needs on this planet, and everyone dances around our big 'ol satellite, and it's because that's what Big Energy wants you to do.
Among the many alternative energy resources available, they all relate to the moon, but nobody ever tries to harness it. Tidal energy plants; where do tides get their power? The Moon.
Solar energy doesn't work at night, but guess who gets warm from the sun's rays even at sleepy time? The...Moon.
You want to harness the power of wind? What has the most affect on wind speed and direction other than the pressure-gradient force, the Coriolis force, Rossby waves, intensity of sunshine, topography, friction, certain Pokemon, temperature, and airbenders? THE MOON.
I'm saying, when it comes to Alternative Energy, how about giving that rocky, probably flat thing in the sky an even shake?
Alternative Alternative Comedy
Do you like to laugh? No? Do you like to laugh ironically at things that aren't funny, which is why you, like, get it, man? Then Alt Comedy is PERFECT for you!!
Mostly performed by discontents who want to make you feel uncomfortable for not hating everything, these brave voices are pushed the shadows of our artsy coffee bars and craft breweries due to being unable or unwilling or both (usually the former causes the latter) in front of "normies."
This is hilarious, unless you don't get it, unless you "get it" in an "ironic" way, or else you don't get it.
But alternative comedy just isn't edgy enough, and has gone mainstream, even to the point where it's being done by Swedish YouTube livestreamers. Gone are the days of the cool alt comics who screamed about THEIR dicks in a totally not comedy-club-style way.
So let's get real, real edgy with some Alt^2 Comedy, which mostly consists of pretentious middle-aged men breaking hammers with fruit, and screaming mimes, or dadaist interpretive ice carving of President Trump peeling a banana.
Being contrarian doesn't mean you have to disagree with some of the ideas put forth here. It means being against ALL THE IDEAS PUT FORTH HERE. But doing that will make you a conformist, so, maybe rethink your bright idea to rethink all of this.
I have faith in you all that even if my words have fallen on deaf ears, the ideas will not, and you can certainly find a lesser qualified person to steal original ideas from to show the world just how different and unique you are. I leave that for you.