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My Soapbox

Note: I wrote this way back in the days of 9th grade. I found it a while ago, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. My opinions have changed since then, as they tend to do, and I know most of it is basically regurgitated bullshit...but I think it's worth reading...even if it's just to criticize or laugh at it. I want feedback...however, it's really long so bless you if you actually take the time to read through it. You are my idol!

Punk In My View

I wanna start of by saying that I don’t believe that I have the proper authority to criticize a subculture that I have such little experience in, but I’m doing this anyway…1) because I have nothing better to do and 2) because, for the longest time, I have wanted to collaborate my thoughts and observations on something that has had such a profound impact on my life and attempt to record them in a manifesto. Yeah, I borrowed many of the ideas I am about to discuss from things I have heard people say, but I incorporated those thoughts into my own philosophy, because that’s how you establish your opinions, right? Also, I know that no matter what, when you try to comment on a subculture that you’ve adopted, there is no way that you are not going to sound hypocritical. So here I go. I got into punk rock in the most embarrassing way a punker can- through “manufactured” radio punk. My roots are pop. Everything I had known before then was based on the idea of conformity and living by the doctrines of a closed minded society. The punk scene was totally different than anything I had previously been exposed to; it was unique, it was intriguing. So, like any newcomer, I allowed myself to take on the identity of what most punks would call a wannabe in order to part of an amazing subculture. Pretty soon, punk became a pseudo dogma for me, and I began to live my life according to the punk philosophies. For the first time in my life, I didn’t give a shit what the populace thought about me, and I was able to be the person I was without social influence. I thoroughly enjoy the punk scene, and I am grateful for the positive effect it has had on my life, but as I was adopting the scene, I began to notice that certain aspects of the punk philosophy seemed to contradict each other. See, like any subculture, punk has its enemies (namely the preps, jocks, posers, hicks, hippies, the police, and any other form of authority), its principles (which I will explore later), and its flaws. However, I began to see that the basis of these flaws was the same as the basis of its principles. I realized that Punk- the movement and the entity- could never truly die, but the scene and its followers were slowly drowning in their own words and actions. This brings me to the point of my rant: Why I think the punk scene is dead.

The punk scene died the day it became defined. It started out as a theory based on being different and resisting (not fighting, necessarily) all forms of authority. Punks were the ones that told the hippies to fuck off because they needed to make way for a new movement that preached extreme values, thrived on the angst and oppression of the restless youth, and had a music that rocked harder, stronger, and faster than any other underground form of music. However, soon the scene began to crumble as the values it preached became corrupt as the scene expanded. Punks were the ones who slaughtered the idea of conformity; they were the ones who were different- the social outcasts. It was becoming evident, though, that the futile attempts of the new punkers to achieve the desired “different” look were killing the scene. Punks were wearing their “differences” as a uniform, which is conformity in end of itself- the same concept that punks were meant to destroy. Next came the destruction of the Punk ideals. From the time that the Punk scene was just developing, Anarchy was pretty much “Punk law”. The dictionary defines Anarchy as the “Absence of any form of political authority.” To punks, Anarchy meant no restrictions, which went along with the anti-authority attitude that most punks carried. Also, Anarchy meant no government, no government meant no system, no system meant no regulations, not regulations meant total chaos, total chaos meant a prospect that excited the rebellious minds of the young punks. However, Anarchy itself was a paradox. See, for Anarchy to truly work, everyone would have to take part in this colossal principle, therefore forming some kind of system. With everyone working together for a principle that preached no structure, Anarchy would die in its enactment. There are various other reasons why Anarchy why this “system of chaos” so to speak, would never work, but that’s a different rant. Back to this one. The Punk subculture, through its manifesting flaws, charged on. More and more people were being introduced to this scene. This acted as a catalyst for the divisions of the scene. In the mid-eighties, when Minor Threat began to rock the punk clubs, front man Ian MacKaye started a movement within the Punk movement that shocked the critics of Punk- a concept that made people view the punk scene in a new light. Before this, society attributed violence, drugs, and other negations to the punk scene. The straight edge movement preached no drugs, no casual sex, no alcohol, no violence and no unnecessary medications. Other divisions were formed as well- Skinheads, Regan Punks, Nazi Punks, and Hardcore Punks were among the many different types of punk rockers, creating an elite attitude among the followers of the scene. The subculture was collapsing. This caused one of the saddest events in Punk history to occur. Punkers began to judge the so-called “punkness” of others. Comments like, “he’s not punk enough”, “those clothes aren’t punk”, and my personal favorite “that kid is such a poser”, became part of a mantra that each punk division chanted as they felt that they had achieved a certain “punk status” which allowed them to pass a judgment on the punkness of others. Has the scene grown that aristocratic? Doesn’t that make us just as bad as the elitist members of society who make it their business to decide the latest trends for their brainwashed overly self-conscious followers? It’s sickening. Pretty soon punks started caring so much about labeling punkers that they forgot about what being punk us all about. While rebellion, anti-establishment, and subversiveness are a major part of the movement, the root of punk will always be about the one thing that holds punk together; Punk- the movement and the entity- all boils down to the one thing that brought the oppressed youth of America together in the first place. Whether it’s Ska, Political, Street, Oi, Emo, Hardcore, Pop, or even the frowned upon Christian Punk, the one aspect of our scene that brings each punk together is the music. Punk rock allowed the so-called “freaks” to stick their middle fingers at a world that told them that they were never going to make it, to the society that denied them, and to their families that shunned them, and take all their repressed emotions and vent it out in the mosh pit. Unity through differences- that is an idea that today’s punks reject, scornfully claiming that “unity is not punk!”. However, it was unity that yielded the punk movement, for a movement is not a real movement without some form of concord. Unity through differences; unity through the music. Without punk rock music the punk scene would be nothing but a plethora of confusing ideals and contradicting beliefs. See, the actual movement took place because a group of people that shared a growing passion for a new type of music and a desire to create something so magnanimous that it would shake the underground for years to come, united. The rest is all bullshit. It’s that bullshit that causes today’s punkers to feel the need to dress and act according to the definitions of a prospect that was meant to be undefined. It’s that bullshit that causes to today’s punkers to forget the real reason the subculture evolved- the music- and take it upon themselves to label those who they feel aren’t living up to what they see as “punk standards” as posers. Its that bullshit that causes all punks to constantly call their punk values into question as they juxtapose themselves against other members of the punk scene. Its that bullshit that killed the scene.