Rough around the edges

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It can be lonely at the edges. (Image via Austin Neill)

Things are more interesting and potentially more truthful around the edges. This applies to anyone, from politicians to musicians.

Politicians that speak the truth become outsiders. But politicians who abuse the ‘outsider’ status to pander to populist voters squander their authenticity. They can be as thoughtful as Bernie Sanders or as morally corrupt and downright offensive as Trump.

The artist also treads a fine line between a unique creative process to one that can become manufactured. Take the case of MIA; the Internet made her a star and removed her underground status along with it. Another case and point: Diplo, once a revered beat-smith from Florida, now produces hits for Justin Bieber.

The challenge for politicians and artists alike or companies like Apple, therefore, seems to be retaining their edginess despite a growth in popularity. Radiohead may be the paragon of balancing mainstream success while maintaining outsider status. By changing up their sound on each album, they’re able to appear credible to both the experimental listener and the person seeking the wisdom of crowds.

So how does a politician or artists push the boundaries without manipulating their uniqueness to the point of appearing fake? It depends on how honest they are in their approach. If the work is worth talking about, it’ll spread along with its originality.


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