Mainstream  

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"The mainstream comes to you, but you have to go to the underground." -- Frank Zappa

Hollywood is iconic for mainstream
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Hollywood is iconic for mainstream
Mona Lisa, or La Gioconda. (La Joconde), is a 16th century oil painting by Leonardo da Vinci, and is one of the most famous paintings in the world. It has acquired an iconic status in popular culture. Today the Mona Lisa is frequently reproduced, finding its way on to everything from carpets to mouse pads.
Enlarge
Mona Lisa, or La Gioconda. (La Joconde), is a 16th century oil painting by Leonardo da Vinci, and is one of the most famous paintings in the world. It has acquired an iconic status in popular culture. Today the Mona Lisa is frequently reproduced, finding its way on to everything from carpets to mouse pads.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Mainstream is, generally, the common current of thought of the majority. It is a term most often applied in the arts (i.e., music, literature, and performance). This includes:

As such, the mainstream includes all popular culture, typically disseminated by mass media. The opposite of the mainstream are subcultures, countercultures, cult followings, underground cultures and (in fiction) genre. Additionally, Mainstream is sometimes a codeword used for one's own actual ethnocentric or subculture point of view, especially when delivered in a culture war speech. It is sometimes used as a pejorative term.

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In film

see mainstream film, blockbuster

In literature

see bestseller, potboiler

In literature, particularly in literary criticism, "mainstream" is used to designate traditional realistic or mimetic fiction, as opposed to genre fictions such as science fiction, romance novels and mysteries, as well as to experimental fiction.

In music

see hit

Musically, mainstream music denotes music that is familiar to the masses, as for example popular music, pop music, middle of the road music, rock and roll music and most modern rap music. Mainstream jazz is generally seen as an evolution of be-bop, which was originally regarded as radical.

In sociology

Mainstream pressure, through actions such as peer pressure, can force individuals to conform to the mores of the group (e.g., an obedience to the mandates of the peer group). Some have stated that they see mainstream as the antithesis of individuality.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Mainstream" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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