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Stay in the so-called rave scene for a while and you'll begin to notice how the composition of it changes cyclically every few years. I doubt there's been any serious sociological study of this, but it's not that difficult to figure out why it happens if you're paying attention. To keep afloat, the corporate media constantly needs new threats to sell parents via 20/20. Now and again, the rave scene is chosen as that threat, usually coinciding with a few deaths at parties, an JAMA publication condemning some drug or another, or a party busted when the police misappropriate some city's crack house laws. Fallout from this attention comes in the form of a decrease in young kids at parties, heightened difficulty for the average person of attaining drugs, and sort of an activist backlash from kids who don't use drugs and wish parties to be completely free of them.

The upshot of this is that over a few month, the mix of people at most parties goes from having too many etards and other sundry hopheads, to having too many conservatively dressed scenesters who look down their noses and rarely deign to dance. When this happened in mid 2000 to early 2001, there were enough of these people (and enough others who were pissed at them) that exaggerated differentiation came into play and they self-consciously formed their own little subgroup of the raver massive. For almost a year it was hip to think of oneself as a jaded raver; there were newsgroups formed, in-jokes told, and a popular email forward which almost anybody who had even heard of electronic music received a copy of.

Of course, these were mostly the same people that used to be druggies and wear candy, who traded that in for an alcoholic drink and an oversized shirt made by Ecko. Only, instead of being mostly open and happy with the scene, the now had an excuse to be cliquish and elitist in their opinions. The more so the better, actually, something like the way the inbred Midwest indie rock scene has been since forever. Some people, who had been perfectly content months earlier, got so fed up with the drama and bullshit that they left, seeking out the music only at home or in janky clubs. Taken as a whole it was pretty fucking sickening, speaking as somebody who has never sat in a roll pile nor looked down upon anybody who chooses to.

In any case, where I was partying people began to stop acting this way in late 2001, and by early 2002 it was considered de classe to call oneself or others a jaded raver. This has cleared the way for a more easygoing party crowd, which will in a year or two bring in a reporter or two or ten, and start the cycle over.

What's going to be interesting in future iterations of the phenomenon is the eventual movement of all of this music from conventional parties into clubs. This has already happened over the entirety of the UK and much of Europe, and in a quite a few US states beginning with Florida and Illinois. Depressingly, the powers that be seem to inevitably become convinced that dress codes and pre-dawn closing times will lead to a safer dancing environment. I'm sure it will be the jaded ravers leading the way, eagerly trading an (at least somewhat) noncommercial youth culture and temporary autonomy for expensive mixed drinks and a doorman guaranteeing only the "right" company.

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