News David McWilliams

Sunday 4 December 2016

David McWilliams: How a second-hand idea has now become a mass movement

Published 27/05/2015 | 02:30

Philip McGovern and Gary Cowen celebrate the result in the marriage referendum at Dublin Castle. The campaign reflected how a minority issue became mainstream, much like how second-hand selling is now become mainstream
Philip McGovern and Gary Cowen celebrate the result in the marriage referendum at Dublin Castle. The campaign reflected how a minority issue became mainstream, much like how second-hand selling is now become mainstream

The way in which popular movements morph from being extreme to becoming mainstream is inherently fascinating. The Marriage Referendum is an example of one such process. Not that long ago, gay people's issues were exactly that: gay people's issues.

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By last Friday, what was once a minority issue had become a national movement.

It is impossible to predict when and why certain ideas jump from being regarded as eccentric to being conventional. Take fashion. For example, I am not too sure when young, white, rugby-playing boys from South Dublin started wearing their trousers low slung down around their arses, but I know where it came from.

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