Something that I wrote up for http://podcoast.wordpress.com. Podcoast kicks ass, and it’s totally something you should spend some time checking out.
Anyway, enjoy the post.
As the human race slogs its way into another wonderful and exciting year, it faces many challenges. I’m sure all of those challenges are important and all, but the one that seems to be on my mind the most in this brutally shitty Alberta January, is the issue of whether or not punk is actually dead.
Normally, my give a fuck level about the state of punk is way down in the basement. Yet, something about turning 26, and burning slowly towards 30, has made me think long and hard about things like attitude, morals, and who I am as person. I am no longer 17, regardless of how often I act like it. The world and the way it works is no longer a big, throbbing mystery. I know things, I read about things, and in generally I seem to be way more pissed off about everything. The youthful exuberance I once had is now gone, replaced by a desire to punch holes in the walls.
It’s not that I’m unhappy. I’m fucking way happy. I just seem to look at this hellish ball of shit that we call North American society, with nothing but contempt. Not the good parts mind you, I love all the good, hard-working, awesome parts of this thing that we call society. It’s everything else that makes my blood fucking curdle: judges giving embarrassing sentences to murderous drunk drivers, Orwellian government surveillance, in-excusable gender inequality and civil rights abuses in a so called first-world country (and tragically so on and so forth). It’s enough to make a guy stay in bed, and not something I can feel better about after looking at whatever shitty, “10 Things Puppies Do When They’re Just Too Darn Cute” list BuzzFeed has vomited up.
And here’s where that punk attitude would come in damn handy. But of course it’s all fucked up.
I was not a, “punk” growing up. I dug the Ramones, but I was a long way off from carving the Black Flag bars into my arm and looking like I fucked a Value Village and a bag of safety pins after a long night of menthol cigarettes and cheap beer. I just couldn’t get into the attitude. I felt I wasn’t cool enough. Of course, I now realize that the, “attitude” of punk coincides in zero ways with ones appearance. That whole vibe is as shallow as a puddle of piss in a parking lot. And the whole thing was just so un-inclusive: If your hair was wrong, if you didn’t call everyone a cunt, if you didn’t drink the right beer, if you liked the wrong bands, if you didn’t like the right bands enough. Any and all of these things being major problems is the reason that punk died a lonely death in the eyes of everyone that mattered. It’s not something you could feasibly continue past your teenage years, and anyone that did, is that embarrassing 30 year old dude in a Casualties T-shirt sitting at the bar making sure his receding hairline hasn’t completely fucked his Mohawk up.
It’s enough to make anyone say, “ditch this bullshit.” The good music from the genre remains the good music, and you can continue to love it all you want, because most of it fucking rocks, but the whole dick measuring contest vibe can ride off into the sunset.
But is that what punk is really about? More importantly, is it what it should be about? I sense a missed opportunity here.
Henry Rollins once said, “if you want to shock people, do it with your intelligence, not with your six foot green Mohawk.” I couldn’t put it any better myself. The punk attitude, or what the punk attitude should be, is one that tells you to say a good, hearty, “fuck you” to the injustices of the world, to the bullshit that seems to be drowning everything cool, to the commercialist agenda, to things that you don’t think should be.
Now, this “Fuck you” isn’t meant with ignorance. It’s an educated “Fuck you.” It’s a “Fuck you” with backed up sources that delivers an argument that slams down ignorant misinformation and bullshit. Nothing could be more punk than living the life the way that you want to live it, and not letting anyone come in and tell you otherwise. And when you see something happening in the world that makes you sick, or pisses you off, don’t just go to sleep about it and watch cat videos and forget about all the bad things, stand the fuck up, and be pissed off. Feel alive in fury. Nothing could be more punk than a boiling wellspring of rage that keeps you from accepting truths that should not be so.
This is how I’ve decided to live my life for the last few years, and it’s how I plan to continue living it through 2014 and beyond. Punk isn’t dead. I’m keeping it alive by being pissed off every day. Incubating it with my own personal fury, and an occasional spin of a Clash record.
Be pissed off. Be more punk. The good kind.