Design by Sonali Narayan

There comes a point in everyone’s lives when we get tired of trying to exist in the norm, tired of trying to fit every piece of ourselves into well-defined and popular categories. And so, we take a bite of the forbidden fruit, venturing out toward the periphery. If only for a brief moment, we become outsiders.

But who gets to decide what the “outside” really is? How might these definitions make it hostile for certain individuals to coexist in these environments, and furthermore, how might certain individuals prevent others from entering them? How can we be so certain that there aren’t several layers of “outsideness,” each with different goals and values? It seems as though the “outside” is not the glorious providence one might be made to believe.

To be obscured is to be seen less, but scrutinized more. Therefore, it might not be so surprising that, more and more often, people are accepting that it might not actually be so bad to be like everyone else. At the same time, there are so many instances of niche things becoming popular, effectively dissolving any sort of distinction between the “mainstream” and the “outside.” This B-Side isn’t meant to present any sort of delineation for these borders. By the time this comes out, the boundaries will have most certainly changed and rules will have most certainly been redefined. The best we can offer you is pointing out the absurdity of these permeable and ever-shifting social landscapes we call the “mainstream” and the “outside.” But maybe that’s enough.

Senior Arts Editor Drew Gadbois can be reached at