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Contempt for every institution, except Fugazi
March 6, 2013 2:42 PM   Subscribe

Punk rocker John Roderick thinks Punk Rock is Bullshit.
posted by chrchr (181 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Getting old sucks.
posted by The Whelk at 2:43 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well, that's punk as fuck.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:48 PM on March 6, 2013 [13 favorites]


Jesus, who chipped this guy out of an ice block on Mt. Rainier?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 2:49 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Punk" has been "dead" as long as I've been alive.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:50 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm always fascinated by the incredible contempt punk rockers of a certain age have for the baby boom generation. Ironically, I think the only people share that level of disdain for the children of the '60s are hardcore republicans.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:50 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


I can't favorite this a hard enough.

Snarky commenters, it's about YOU.
posted by Argyle at 2:51 PM on March 6, 2013 [19 favorites]


Depends on what you call 'punk', since it's pretty broad as to be utterly meaningless. I love The Ramones, but they mostly wanted to be 50s rock and rollers and worked with Phil Spector. Ain't nothing anti-authoritarian about that. I go to 'folk punk' shows where guys with acoustic guitars essentially play country music and where the brightest lights of the scene include a Libertarian and a Springsteen-worshipper who might be a Creationist. I think it's about passion, about staying true to yourself and to the scene and all that bullshit. About a lack of pretension (which I guess gets rid of the Sex Pistols).

Punk-founded doubt and fear has directly spawned the cowardly culture of modern irony. Fear of being called out or targeted for enjoying art that doesn't meet the stringent criteria of punkness—a criteria too ineffable to codify, but pernicious and deadly to underestimate—has given us no outlet for the vagaries of our taste but to claim that we enjoy the things we love only out of mocking disdain for the awfulness we pre-emptively ascribe to them. The very act of loving something ironically is an admission that punk-rock groupthink has denied us our own will. Scorn has become the ouroboros, the snake eating its own tail, distancing us from joy to the point that our souls rebel. Punk has encouraged us to hate innocence until the only entertainments we can appreciate are the fake epiphanies of celebrity weight-loss porn and cynical folk-revival banjo music that borders on thoughtcrime.

See I disagree with this - I reckon the one thing punk in all its forms has is a lack of irony. Ramones loved old music. Clash believed their politics. Pop punk bands really hate being friendzoned. Etc... and that lack of irony is what draws me to it.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:52 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Punk's not dead. It's just gone to bed.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:52 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not talking about punk-rock music, because I don't believe there is such a thing. Punk music is just rock music, and the best punk is halfway decent rock. Punk rock was nothing new in 1976, and it's nothing new today. The Beatles' cover of "Roll Over Beethoven" is more punk than 90 percent of all punk rock; the Ramones were way more conservative—musically and socially—than Sha Na Na; the Sex Pistols were just dumb David Bowie; The Clash was a world-music band and the direct antecedent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. If anything, the mantle of "punk rock" was an umbrella to describe a reactionary retro-ness, a feeling that music was best played with old-fashioned dumb energy, simple to the point of being simplistic—which not coincidentally corresponded to the period of the widest proliferation of recreational drug use in world history. It was music to validate being too wasted to think.

Alright ignoring the horrible slander on The Clash (I don't trust a modern band that doesn't name-drop The Clash) this is still a valuable thing, and gets more valuable the more complicated music gets. It's why there's an underground explosion of garage rock wherever kids gather.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:55 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ah, reading (well, scanning) down to the end, I see that what the considers punk is not what I consider punk. Me, I'm fine with that. I get the impression he wouldn't be. How punk.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:56 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, whether punk is bullshit or not, this is a really well-written piece. This guy's metaphors are punk as fuck.
posted by GuyZero at 2:56 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Save us, touring member of Harvey Danger!
posted by klangklangston at 2:58 PM on March 6, 2013 [22 favorites]


"See I disagree with this - I reckon the one thing punk in all its forms has is a lack of irony. Ramones loved old music. Clash believed their politics. Pop punk bands really hate being friendzoned. Etc... and that lack of irony is what draws me to it."

That's a failure to recognize both punk and irony. Rudy Can't Fail is a pretty ironic song. Sheena Is A Punk Rocker is a pretty ironic song.
posted by klangklangston at 3:00 PM on March 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


But basically, this is a long rant with no clear definition of punk that blames it for everything — the only thing this essay demonstrates is that self-loathing is pretty punk rock, and ergo, this essay is punk rawk. \mm/
posted by klangklangston at 3:01 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


MeFi's Own!
posted by mathowie at 3:06 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, this guy is full of shit, but not for the reasons he might suspect he is. Take this:

Picture an 18-year-old Siouxsie Sioux in a topless Gestapo uniform festooned with swastikas, spitting at bands as a form of applause and compulsively posing for cameras. That's as much sense as punk ever made, as intelligible as the message ever was

But the message is very clear; the message is: "I'm eighteen and I'm a knockout and I don't give a fuck and look at me, fucking look at me! Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii" and that's fine, because she's a kid. What I mean to say is that it's situational and context-specific. When you are a young and artistic person in a staid, conservative environment, you let fly the flag of freak. This is very easy to understand and the way of madness lies in trying to make more of it than that. The way of madness lies in holding onto this too tightly as the context changes -- as you get older, sure, that's a thing, but also your society evolves for good or ill. The problem is not a guiding ethos that works for an eighteen-year-old trying desperately to establish themselves. The problem is that what works for an eighteen-year-old in 1978 is not built to work for a fifty-three-year-old in 2013. It can't work. That doesn't make it bad, it just makes it the wrong tool for the job. This is not ungrokable, you guys.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:09 PM on March 6, 2013 [47 favorites]


"Look, just because I don't believe in anything that punk's about doesn't mean I'm not punk rock, dammit!"
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:10 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Punk-founded doubt and fear has directly spawned the cowardly culture of modern irony.

Urrrrrrgh. This again? Never mind the constant We dragged out in chains and manacles to prop up one I's flimsy impressions of the zeitgeist, the epoch, the generation, and other fantasies.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:10 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Urrrrrrgh. This again? Never mind the constant We dragged out in chains and manacles to prop up one I's flimsy impressions of the zeitgeist, the epoch, the generation, and other fantasies.

But irony is the corrosive culture of the modern age, and only a sustained scream can defeat it.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:11 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now I love John Roderick, especially in podcast form, and think he's a very wise and insightful guy.

That said, the actual argument here seems to be something along the lines of "stupid people are stupid," which, while unassailable, doesn't say a lot, despite all the spilled spit and vinegar.
posted by TonyRobots at 3:11 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


> Both Radiohead and Wilco endured the production of feature-length documentaries about themselves in which the sole discernible narrative was "We hate being looked at, leave us alone."

I haven't seen the Wilco doc, but nobody comes off particularly well in Meeting People Is Easy, the Cocksucker Blues of the late '90s.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:13 PM on March 6, 2013


Kittens for breakfast nailed it, I think.
posted by TonyRobots at 3:13 PM on March 6, 2013


I reckon the one thing punk in all its forms has is a lack of irony.

We mean it, man.
posted by escabeche at 3:14 PM on March 6, 2013 [15 favorites]


Damn. That was a surprisingly interesting piece that looked at punk culture from an angle that was not quite as bile-laden was I was expecting from the name. I think he has a point.

No shit punk music is negative and angry and crude and dedicated to being "against" things. It is angry music written by people who decided it was okay to be angry about things. And the music itself became more and more opposed to everything – polish, melody, clarity – as punk went on because, well, there were still more things to reject! In some ways punk's endpoint is something like Merzbow and noise music, not that many punks would accept something so self-consciously formal as a form of punk rock. It was a useful movement akin to the Deconstruction movement in the arts – punk for its own sake is no kind of endpoint, but it's a useful approach to breaking down assumptions and givens and looking for what remains when you break everything down.

That "punk" started turning corporate from literally the inception of punk is no surprise, just as it's no surprise that some punks think the point of being punk is to hate everything, reject sell-outs, etc. It's very hard to be relentlessly dedicated to nothingness and negativity without burning out or dying, so what remains finds some place where it can draw the line and start building up again. Like Alfred Jarry said of Dada, "We shall not have succeeded in demolishing everything unless we demolish the ruins as well. But the only way I can see of doing that is to use them to put up a lot of fine, well-designed buildings." Different groups start building up at different times, and different other groups start breaking them down again.

All in all, my impression is that over the last century this "destroy-rebuild" cycle became more and more prevalent in our thinking. This is a WAY out-there hunch, but I feel like it makes sense that this mentality rose along with the rise of industrialism, of systems which explicitly defined the way that people lived their lives yet which were obviously not perfect or even that good. In any event, I know that throughout my entire life this habit of breaking things down, examining and criticizing everything from ridiculous angles, has become more and more prevalent. And it always goes hand-in-hand with people saying, No, let's start making something new and positive. The New Sincerity I've heard it called, which itself is such a dumb title I want to spit in its face. It's like a see-saw. And what this guy is pointing out is that the idea of "punk" itself has become an institution, one to be blindly followed and therefore one which deserves to be torn down.

Charlemagne in Sweatpants, I could not disagree with you more about punk not being ironic. I don't think it's possible to be a punk without some irony, whether you're conscious of it or not; the irony is that the sort of freedom and sincerity you're searching for is impossible, because ultimately everything is a construct, everything follows rules, nothing is exempt from this. The Sex Pistols were very clearly ironic; God Save The Queen is tongue-in-cheek as fuck. There's a contemporary-ish philosopher I enjoy a lot, Richard Rorty, who makes a good argument that irony in some ways is what defines self-awareness; being aware of the artifice in everything is what allows you to model your behaviors more around the artifice you can't escape, rather than unconsciously adhering to it or trying, in futility, to reject it. That's an element that I think you can find in all punk, and that's what I think you're calling sincerity, but sincerity is too simple a word to describe it.

I agree with the author here that there's a difference between that kind of irony and the sort of irony that exists as a kind of cushion, or an excuse for ignorance. To me it seemed he was pretty clearly calling out the latter, and accusing punk of being an institution which supported it; obviously his argument doesn't extend to everything ever called punk or carried out in punk's name, but it certainly is something worth addressing and he addresses it quite nicely.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:14 PM on March 6, 2013 [10 favorites]


Seattle bands—even as the world flocked to laud them, shower them with untold wealth and influence, and anoint them as keepers of a hallowed flame—almost universally rejected the opportunity to celebrate and rejoice at their good fortune out of a fear of what Calvin Johnson might think.

Now there's his problem. I've seen Calvin Johnson twice and there's something swarmy about him, a kind of ironic used car salesman sheen.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:15 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


The era of twee undersinging and clean, complicated, plinky guitars was an expression of the belief that even loudness and energy were egotistical excesses.

This here is a thing that I think a lot about, cuz the music of my youth was loud and brash. I am thinking principally of Sonic Youth and Nirvana and such. And I'm completely bewildered that popular music among rock or indie or whatever we're calling it these days has turned to the likes of Death Cab for Cutie and Mumford and Sons and stuff like that. Any sense of danger, rebellion, anything exciting has been abandoned in favor of super earnest mumbling about life's mild disappointments. I'm not sure that punk is to blame for that, and I'm not sure it's even an awful thing, but I find it exceedingly strange. Kids these days.
posted by chrchr at 3:16 PM on March 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


Punk rocker John Roderick
(I love John Roderick’s music, but I’m not sure I’d call it punk rock.)
posted by sidesh0w at 3:17 PM on March 6, 2013


This here is a thing that I think a lot about, cuz the music of my youth was loud and brash. I am thinking principally of Sonic Youth and Nirvana and such. And I'm completely bewildered that popular music among rock or indie or whatever we're calling it these days has turned to the likes of Death Cab for Cutie and Mumford and Sons and stuff like that. Any sense of danger, rebellion, anything exciting has been abandoned in favor of super earnest mumbling about life's mild disappointments. I'm not sure that punk is to blame for that, and I'm not sure it's even an awful thing, but I find it exceedingly strange. Kids these days.

It's all cyclical, though. Kurt Cobain had a K Records tattoo. "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" could be turned into a twee song without much effort.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:18 PM on March 6, 2013


Watching people rail against this essay is like watching moths unable to stop repeatedly flying directly into a light bulb.
posted by Argyle at 3:20 PM on March 6, 2013 [15 favorites]


Fugazi thinks I'd make a great cop! Swell!
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:21 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" could be turned into a twee song without much effort.

Leaving it as it is requires no effort.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:22 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Any sense of danger, rebellion, anything exciting has been abandoned in favor of super earnest mumbling about life's mild disappointments. I'm not sure that punk is to blame for that, and I'm not sure it's even an awful thing, but I find it exceedingly strange. Kids these days.

This might just be your looking at the music of youth culture from a particular skewed perspective. There's plenty of music that's angry and disappointed and hurt and brash, but it exists in about seven dozen different forms and different people are aware of different kinds of it. I mean, wasn't it just the other day that people were making fun of Fallout Boy? There's a guy singing about how much he hates shit or something, I don't know, I don't listen to Fallout Boy. But I listened to System of a Down back in the day and they were aggressively, obnoxiously political. And I listened to ska, not the smoke weed everyday ska but the sort that was people singing about fatalism and how much things sucked and what people could do about them. (Okay, and I also listened to the Aquabats but they were subversive in a whole different way).

That's just scratching the surface, and all of those are pretty silly examples, but honestly, Sonic Youth and Nirvana were fucking silly bands too. When I learned the lyrics to Nirvana's one song by playing Rock Band I was pretty impressed by how dumb they were. And nowadays it's even harder to pin down what kids listen to, because they're seriously all over. Is Skrillex un-dangerous? Wasn't Lady Gaga dangerous to young teens for about three months? All hope is not lost, it's just that 2013 is a fucking weird year and it's hard to figure out just what the hell is going on.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:22 PM on March 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


Does anyone remember what episode of RotL he spoke about this in? Seems like it was the genesis for this piece.
posted by OwlBoy at 3:22 PM on March 6, 2013


"But irony is the corrosive culture of the modern age, and only a sustained scream can defeat it."

Oh, bullshit. Just because you don't know what irony is or how it functions doesn't make it a philosophical boogeyman.
posted by klangklangston at 3:22 PM on March 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


The issue I've always had is the difference between "punk" as a descriptor vs. an identifer. It's really useful to describe things, music, attitudes, etc., but once people identify with it, and invest themselves in living up to some definition of it, that's when you end up with the kind of conformity and repressive, restrictive attitudes and ideologies this guy is calling out.
posted by anazgnos at 3:22 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Watching people rail against this essay is like watching moths unable to stop repeatedly flying directly into a light bulb."

Just because the essay's an ostensibly anti-nihilism rant that basically concludes with a desire to negate a poorly defined "punk"? Or does he get a pass because he disclaimed irony?
posted by klangklangston at 3:26 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Something bugs me about this. The examples that are brought up are Ramones who aren't slagged, The Clash denigrated to a college fun/funk band (yes, it's a reductionist statement, but it ignores The Clash's politics), the Pistols are wanna-be's, and Siouxsie's a clotheshorse.

What about CRASS, Conflict, Subhumans, Icons of Filth, or Flux of Pink Indians? What about the way they taught me to question things, to try to look at different ways of living? What about the article that I read in Open Road (the anarchist monthly from the UK) that had thousands of protesters walking across a border to picket a nuclear plant with a bad record at dumping waste? There were so many people that the border guard couldn't stop them, and the protesters were told that if they didn't stop picketing, the waste trucks couldn't leave and the plant wasn't allowed to store waste and it'd get shut down... and sure enough, it was closed. Victory.

Punk could never be a huge force that would turn the system around and set everyone free: It was all about self-empowerment and grass-roots change. Killing the censor in your head and thinking for yourself and being nice to people and making that spread through the community. That is something that can't really be attacked, and making people think doesn't suck. Complaining that punk de-volved into fuck bands like the Mentors or GG Allin might be valid, but it's not really getting anywhere and isn't entirely correct.
posted by Zack_Replica at 3:28 PM on March 6, 2013 [14 favorites]


I'm reading the piece in the voice of Gil Scott-Heron.
posted by drezdn at 3:29 PM on March 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


Anyway, pluralistic post-modernism (which has its own problems) pretty much makes this anti-punk punk just another identity that can be tried on for fun at parties without any real repercussions for Roderick or any punk's life.

Being against punk is the one thing that can connect aging punk rockers and tweens on Tumblr.
posted by klangklangston at 3:29 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


... and my grating viral Facebook article to "shit, this is going to be an FPP" ratio hits a solid, sustained 1:1

Also, I grew up punk, and have no idea what this guy is going on about.
posted by ryanshepard at 3:32 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


What about CRASS, Conflict, Subhumans, Icons of Filth, or Flux of Pink Indians? What about the way they taught me to question things, to try to look at different ways of living?

I feel like Chumbawumba's start in that scene and their subsequent one-hit wonder status says SOMETHING, but I'm not sure what. All I know is I keep going to punk shows in little venues and record stores, and the kids are still alright.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:33 PM on March 6, 2013


Punk Was
posted by NiteMayr at 3:33 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


This essay reminded me of joining bike rights groups, which always had mailing lists, and those mailing lists were hot kettles about to boil at any moment. Usually it would start with one person making a statement and then saying how proud they were of it, before the entire list would descend on that person, pointing out how wrong they were, how they did things better their own way, after which someone would pipe up to say they took it a step further, until I wanted to unsubscribe because every discussion turned into a self-righteousness dick measuring contest.

That's everything I hate about "punk" too.
posted by mathowie at 3:34 PM on March 6, 2013 [17 favorites]


I need to get home and toss the popcorn into the microwave for this.

Klang is getting revved up! This is going to be fun!

(this is about as much excitement that 45 year old Gen X fathers like me get on a weekday)
posted by Argyle at 3:34 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really feel like only people from seattle would get this, but this is exactly the kind of article i'd expect to see in the weekly.

For the uninitiated, seattle has two "alternative" rags. the stranger, and the weekly. the weekly has, honestly, always been desperate to be the stranger, regardless of which one actually came first. It's a "me-too!" fest, full of mostly garbage and try-hard BS.

The fact that anything good was in this is pure monkeys bashing on typewriters, and a lot of it really strikes me as "get off my lawn" type shit. at a glance it seems like a pretty damning take down, but when you look at it from a distance it really just comes off as pretty damn bitter.

The weird thing is though, i agree with a lot of what's being said. it's complete dissonance. where it's being said, and how it's being said bothers me. but the actual message has some truth to it.

And i think what bothers me is that it seems like he's desperate searching for there to be some point, as if punk needed a reason to exist, or needs to have accomplished something not be "bullshit". He even bring up the point other people mentioned ot him in the article, and then dismisses it a few sentences later... which is, you know, what if there was never supposed to be a point?

It's bullshit, and i agree with some of his point by point reasons, but his general thesis of why it's bullshit comes off as being far from the mark.

And i see a bunch of that weird attitude right here in this thread too, as if this article is pulling down the pants to expose some inarguable truth wherein any disagreement with or discussion of is, in and of itself, somehow bitter and butthurt. Ugh.
posted by emptythought at 3:34 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


There's plenty of music that's angry and disappointed and hurt and brash, but it exists in about seven dozen different forms and different people are aware of different kinds of it.

That's totally right, Rory. I guess what I mean is that this is what people who are my contemporaries listen to, who used to listen to the loud kind of indie rock. Like the kind of person who I think of as a cool music tastemaker type. The pitchfork set. The music scenesters. And I guess the thing is that I used to sorta be one of those people. Now I'm the uncool one cuz I think Bon Iver is totally boring.

So that's my secret inner turmoil. I should write an earnest midtempo ballad about it and maybe record it in an old barn or something.
posted by chrchr at 3:35 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's pretty funny seeing old punks decry punk.

I go to 'folk punk' shows where guys with acoustic guitars essentially play country music and where the brightest lights of the scene include a Libertarian and a Springsteen-worshipper who might be a Creationist.

I'm really curious who you might mean. If we're thinking of the same Springsteen-worshipper (a friend-of-a-friend), then I'm pretty sure he's not a creationist. I don't know of any libertarians (unless you mean the anarchist social libertarian sense) who wouldn't get laughed out of a show.
posted by wayland at 3:35 PM on March 6, 2013


Bon Iver is punk in the sense that the very existence of his music makes people more likely to commit homicide against him.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:38 PM on March 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


So that's my secret inner turmoil. I should write an earnest midtempo ballad about it and maybe record it in an old barn or something.

The Pitchforky types, for what it's worth, also like Death Grips, which are pretty much the opposite of earnest midtempo balladry.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:38 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


What I wish was the lasting legacy of punk, after everything else fades away: the idea that as soon as something becomes establishment, it's already dead, move on to the next thing already

What is probably going to be the lasting legacy of punk, after everything else fades away: people flipping off the camera in photos
posted by furiousthought at 3:40 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know if it's a "disease of the soul" like he writes, but yeah, a lot of people made it into a far bigger thing than it was, for far longer than they should have (e.g. all the way into adulthood). They really fooled themselves into thinking that somehow, simply recognizing that shit was fucked up and bullshit was good enough. It reminds me of someone intending to improve their health going out and buying some Healthy Choice frozen dinners and leaving it at that.

Certainly, punk is not the only thing that lets people do this, though. There's a lot of righteous political commentators and columnists that seem pretty satisfied with themselves in the same way.
posted by ignignokt at 3:43 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've seen Calvin Johnson twice and there's something swarmy about him, a kind of ironic used car salesman sheen.

Apparently he's sleazy IRL around young girls. Probably true for a lot of aging "credible" musicians.
posted by scose at 3:44 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


He dissed the Pistols. He is dead to me.
posted by shockingbluamp at 3:44 PM on March 6, 2013


I was punk before you were punk, punk
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 3:45 PM on March 6, 2013


Heh. Punk was born sold out, selling out is punk as fuck.
posted by Artw at 3:49 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Whelk: "Getting old sucks."

I'll take your word on it.

* huffs ether, drives off in golf cart *
posted by boo_radley at 3:50 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Certainly, punk is not the only thing that lets people do this, though. There's a lot of righteous political commentators and columnists that seem pretty satisfied with themselves in the same way.

"Un homme en pantoufles de peau verte, quelque peu marqué de petite vérole et coiffé d’un bonnet de velours à gland d’or, se chauffait le dos contre la cheminée. Sa figure n’exprimait rien que la satisfaction de soi-même, et il avait l’air aussi calme dans la vie que le chardonneret suspendu au-dessus de sa tête, dans une cage d’osier : c’était le pharmacien."

- introduction to the villain Homais from Part II of Madame Bovary. Emphases mine.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:50 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The boomers got a few things right: cut your hair, get a job, make money, have fun, fit in, cultivate yourself. Then, if you still have the strength, passion and courage, help build a better world.
posted by No Robots at 3:51 PM on March 6, 2013


I bet this guys name is going on ze list.
posted by Artw at 3:57 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The boomers got a few things right: cut your hair, get a job, make money, have fun, fit in, cultivate yourself.

Vote for Reagan...
posted by Artw at 3:58 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Klang is getting revved up! This is going to be fun!"

Heh. Sorry, I just see his complaints as fundamentally silly, and am treating him the same way I treat anyone who says silly things in a serious voice.

"Now I'm the uncool one cuz I think Bon Iver is totally boring."

Bon Iver is totally boring.

It's OK, dude, you can make fun of people who read Paste and listen to NPR.

There's a lot of fun music being made, some of it is punk. There's a lot of boring, self-important music being made too, and some of that is punk. (See: The SXSW NPR post below.) And hey, some of that music would probably be more interesting if there weren't 900 other mid-tempo AOR bands doing the same thing.
posted by klangklangston at 3:59 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Sex Pistols are pure awesome pop and his implication otherwise can fuck off, that's for sure.
posted by Artw at 4:12 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Vote for Reagan...

and also
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:16 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Klang, don't be sorry. ;)

I love reading your views, since they are often contrary to mine, they help me get out of my thought space and try to look at things from another direction.
posted by Argyle at 4:21 PM on March 6, 2013


People love to cite DIY as an example of punk philosophy in practice, but DIY is just a standard business model. It's the primitive form of capitalism that every new business adopts. Punk didn't invent DIY, it's just too stupid and spoiled to realize that doing it yourself isn't an innovation.

DIY culture is wider than punk, but in terms of music scenes, it is fairly synonymous with punk mostly because it inspires kids to get up in front of an audience and do whatever they want regardless of their skill level, and it inspires alternative venues and performance spaces.

I grew up in Ann Arbor in the early to mid-90s, and the few local punk houses that put on basement shows were a haven for under-age music geeks who couldn't get in to any proper venues yet. In a time with no internet, we were somehow getting Dischord bands, Green Day, and other bands from around the country playing shows in our friends' basements! Our particular scene spawned Wolf Eyes, Andrew WK, and a bunch of equally great but lesser known acts.

So while he's right that a DIY methodology is nothing new, I don't think underground culture was claiming (or even trying to clam) ownership of DIY as their own innovation, but rather using it as a tool to create an entire music subculture than doesn't require much money and flies under the radar so as to sidestep the rules and legalities of society. These subcultures can grow organically without punk, but the punk approach to music is practically synonmyous with DIY philosophy, so it's no surprise that underground punk scenes started popping up all over America. And if they were anything like my local scene, they're an excellent introduction to creative thinking and artistic culture for a lot of kids.
posted by p3t3 at 4:23 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Not sure what it means that the Misfits "Last Caress" popped into my head while reading this:

I've got something to say
I killed your baby today
And it doesn't matter much to me
As long as it's dead
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 4:33 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I want to take this guy to a Bronx show. Or a Fucked Up show (though maybe touring with Foo Fighters will make him hate them). Or La Dispute or Touché Amore or Smith Street Band or Title Fight or a teenage metalcore show or a local garage gig like Straight Arrows or Pissed Jeans overseas.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:34 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


When I learned the lyrics to Nirvana's one song by playing Rock Band

trololololol

I was pretty impressed by how dumb they were.

afaik Kurt was pretty up-front about stringing words together more for the sound and to have something to sing than for the meaning (and mumbling the lyrics on purpose), right? at least in "Teen Spirit."
posted by en forme de poire at 4:35 PM on March 6, 2013


Hey... that's John Roderick of the Long Winters, the band that does the theme song to My Brother, My Brother, and Me!

I'll have to read the piece at some point... that just cracked me up...
posted by ph00dz at 4:35 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Heh.
posted by Artw at 4:42 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


*checks OED definitions for 'punk' as an adjective*

Ok so here's the thing. Punk as a descriptor for a long time pretty much just meant something that was "thuggish, cowardly, inexperienced, raw" (quoting OED). Punk subculture co-opted that idea, in my opinion, to wonderful effect. I suppose that on the surface you can view punk as merely "thuggish" negativity, this disease on the soul that makes people all self-loathing and shit, but come on! Who is actualy doing that? I guess Mr. Roderick is. Feels a bit like a strawman to me.

But I think the great thing about "punk" --as a subculture, an idea, an aesthetic, whatever-- is the idea of having an extremely low barrier of entry to participating in your world. That anarchic bent is alluring and powerful when it's used to bring down the self-appointed gatekeepers. That's a good thing.

I mean if you're just using it tell like some logo tshirts or some shit, that's a bummer, but I think the idea of 'punk' still has a lot of currency.
posted by Doleful Creature at 4:42 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


1 - the baby boomers invented punk music

2 - it was fun until 1979

3 - many of us never took it all that seriously - as a musician, it was a change in pace one could throw in, but never what i wanted to do

4 - new wave

5 - i love peter gabriel era genesis

6 - most of my former punk rock loving buddies are now into metal or country

7 - all this talk about punk rock and not one word about modern metal?

8 - new wave
posted by pyramid termite at 4:42 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay so he's got some points and I love his writing so I'll give him that.

But I got the distinct feeling from this piece that he's been so long at or near the center of Punk as a scene that he can't meaningfully see the difference between the scene and the aesthetic.

I've no doubt that the scene became toxic and useless - scenes tend to do that. They use music and fashion and youth to get people to rally around a platonic ideal of an identity and if there's any self-righteousness in the politics at all then they will collapse on themselves as everyone tries to one-up everyone else in search of that platonic form. And yeah, that's bullshit, and well past it's prime bullshit at that.

But the aesthetic is far from valueless, and for all of Roderick's talk about how remote the Pacific Northwest was, it was still a place where something was happening in this regard. Most of those kids in the rest of the country still got this second-hand and weren't in competition to better embody every element of the Ian MacKaye gospel. Most were just happy to have any manna in the desert at all.

Punk didn't need to invent DIY to have it be important, for instance. Sure, Nike and Microsoft started by people doing it themselves. It doesn't matter. The kids listening to Black Flag had very little overlap with the folks at a Tony Robbins seminar. Moreover, at least in my experience (Houston and Oklahoma in the nineties), far from anti-intellectualism and proud ignorance, DIY and the punk aesthetic surrounding it encapsulated a very clear sort of autodidacticism. I'm sure there was a time and a place where punk meant rejecting middle-class values with a sneer and a middle finger but where I was the rejection came with knowing more than the other guy.

Anyway, as I said I like the way he writes and I see some of what he's getting at but it seemed a bit to me like somebody saying that cooking with chili peppers is bullshit because those dudes who eat the ghost pepper are just trying for some sado-masochistic award of manliness that doesn't exist and killing their tastebuds in the process. That might be true, but it doesn't have a hell of a lot to do with how must people cook with chilis.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:43 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


The boomers got a few things right: cut your hair, get a job, make money, have fun, fit in, cultivate yourself. Then, if you still have the strength, passion and courage, help build a better world.

I'm no particularly great fan of the boomers, or of these overarching generational narratives that people like to use, but that's the most insanely ass-backwards telling of the post WWII generation that I have ever read.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:48 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Rory I gotta say, that Rock Band line gets funnier every time I read it. It is so off the cuff and yet so perfectly calculated to make a certain type of person shit an actual brick. Please to write many articles about music for my delectation.
posted by en forme de poire at 4:49 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


My “Punk Rock is Bullshit” piece in Seattle Weekly currently has 87 comments, AND I’M NOT READING ANY OF THEM!

I call bullshit on that, because he'll probably talk about it for 45 minutes on the next episode of Roderick on the Line. Taken as another in a long line of rambling, curmudgeonly diatribes by John Roderick this was highly entertaining. I've never even heard The Long Winters, but boy can he talk some trash.
posted by Lorin at 4:51 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


And actually, anazgnos said what I said much more simply before I did.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:51 PM on March 6, 2013


There's not a thing new in music since 1980 or so, except for hip-hop, if you really think about it. Three minute songs about how much your love life sucks, verse, chorus, verse. Loud "experimental" minimalism, with or without synths. Quirky, lovable folk-rock. Slick R&B booty grinders. Alt country. Neo-traditionalist jazz as well as the free improvisation stuff. All been done before.

I am serious. I literally cannot think of one other major new force to emerge, in 30 years, but hip-hop.
posted by thelonius at 4:56 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow... love the bitterness. Back in the day, I was also saved by punk rock. Maybe. (That's dubious.) Certainly, punk rock taught me a high degree of appreciation for good old fashioned mayhem, as well as a healthy distrust for authority. I guess the Bay Area quasi intellectuals could never get past their own sense of humor to fully embrace unironic leftism, but there seemed like plenty of that around to make fun of.

When I go through the list of my pals, all of whom saw some pretty ridiculous punk rock shows with me, we all turned out pretty well. While we run the range in terms of occupations, we've all been pretty successful: we're starting to run organizations and become parents, have a real impact on the world. The lessons we learned aren't totally gone, we just brought them to the workplace and they got absorbed. I found a picture of myself from 1993 recently, was shocked to see I'm dressed almost exactly the same, despite the vast adventure I've had: loose fitting shorts and a longsleeve t-shirt.

Here's what I'm saying -- I work for a well known internet company and I saw a guy wandering around my office in a horsehead mask today. That's punk as fuck.

Punk rock... it won. Everyone is DIY now, distributes their own stuff and self publishes. The pastiche iconography is everywhere, part of the general culture. Those of us who were into 'zines back in 1995, we're the programmers who help you put yourself online.

Is the internet not punk? Do the kids still debate about selling out?
posted by ph00dz at 4:57 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Punk rock was nothing new in 1976, and it's nothing new today. The Beatles' cover of "Roll Over Beethoven" is more punk than 90 percent of all punk rock; the Ramones were way more conservative—musically and socially—than Sha Na Na; the Sex Pistols were just dumb David Bowie; The Clash was a world-music band and the direct antecedent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. If anything, the mantle of "punk rock" was an umbrella to describe a reactionary retro-ness, a feeling that music was best played with old-fashioned dumb energy, simple to the point of being simplistic—which not coincidentally corresponded to the period of the widest proliferation of recreational drug use in world history. It was music to validate being too wasted to think.

The thing that always seemed funny to me about punk rock is that this stylistic dictum co-existed with a deep obsession with canon. The drive to collect a bunch of obscure LPs in a genre where obscurity directly, rather than inversely, correlates with homogeneity started to seem like a cruel joke to me after not too long. A bird's-eye view of punk would have you thinking that it willingly demoted the value of the musical object in favor of more visceral concerns, but in fact the widespread collector's impulse would seem to contradict that. I never could wrap my head around that dissonance.
posted by invitapriore at 4:57 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


He's at least right about the music. I've never understood the way people act like the Ramones were anything new. They sound like early Beach Boys (who were themselves ripping off Chuck Berry), just sped up and with distortion. This was a conservative approach to rock music. Buddy Holly was more radical — he came up with chord progressions people wouldn't have expected before.
posted by John Cohen at 4:58 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Came to mind
posted by nímwunnan at 4:58 PM on March 6, 2013


Read the piece, thinking "uh huh... okay.... whatever.... WHAT THE HELL DID YOU JUST SAY ABOUT THE CLASH.... right.. hmmmm" until I got down to the end and then saw that he was going to go on like that for another four pages.

I'm his target audience, his shared demographic, a former paid up member of the punk rock scene, etc., and I found this nearly... too tiring to read. The only thing sadder than people who won't let go of "punk" as an ethos are those who still think it's worth fighting about. I don't disavow it, and my commitment to bohemia is lifelong, but if you're going to dissect West Coast punk and rail at it for letting you down, you might want to look up at the near-empty stands you are screaming at and think about broadening your focus.
posted by jokeefe at 5:00 PM on March 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


Why would anyone fuck with punk? Punk just is.

Nobody wrote a fuckin' manifesto that punks follow. There are no rules. Nobody gives a shit what anyone fucking thinks. You just do what you want to fucking do.

I foster the local music scene a little bit. Loan out equipment, mentor, and these kids are punk as fuck. One example, kid lives with Mom, has a dead beat dad...collects cans, saves for beater pawnshop guitar, rides the city bus to shows, gets on guest lists and so on, etc. That is fuckin' punk.

To speak so eloquently or intellectually while calling PUNK bullshit is bullshit. It totally discounts the accessibility, the inspiration, the means it so easily provides to help transform kids from being nameless, no-future, losers to having some self-worth and confidence to move on and up in a world in which they have already been discounted.

It's not like you have to be poor either, though. Think about Milo Aukerman. He's responsible for some very recognizably SoCal punk and is a fuckin' scientist. Great inspiration.

"It's what you make it, man."
D. Boone from Pedro
posted by snsranch at 5:07 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's not a thing new in music since 1980 or so, except for hip-hop,

To a point yes. I'd argue that there is a groundbreaking idea behind some electronic music including dubstep, ie. that at points it's no longer a focus on the notes but the filtering of the notes.
posted by drezdn at 5:11 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Punk rock was bullshit, sure, at least the cultural superstructure that accreted around it. But it could also be (and still can be, in whatever garages and basements and abandoned warehouse gigs the spirit still stirs) spectacular and powerful and gripping and necessary.

Nothing is only one thing. Everything includes some element of its opposite.

Even when I was young, and I was coming into a love of music at the same time as punk itself was arguably reaching a peak (the late 70s and very early 80s), I knew that punk was bullshit, even though I loved the music, the energy, and the fury. You're fucked up Ronnie!

It don't think that I disagree with the author on those things at all. Once he gets to specifically Seattle stuff, he loses me a bit, but he's writing for a Seattle publication, so that gets a pass from me.

Punk as a Thing (rather than a subgenre of rock and roll), just like nihilism as a Thing, is the province of the young and the possibly dumb, part of the process of individuation and youthful rebellion. And that's just fine, and can be pure in its way. But you need bullshit to grow flowers, and True Believers and Eternal Children can ruin almost anything by binding it into an intellectual cage and never letting the childish parts go.

This is a pretty excellent piece of writing, I reckon. And sometimes making an argument in a long essay like this and keeping it consistent means jettisoning a bit of nuance in favour of hammering home your thesis with memorable language. All good.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:13 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The sacred cow status of The Clash is so tiresome, and has got to go. It totally does their music a disservice to treat them as this avatar of Total Untouchable Sincerity or whatever and have people just lose their shit every time anybody looks at them sideways. This guy was pretty much right on in his assessment.
posted by anazgnos at 5:17 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hardcore kids were hating on The Clash as early as 83'.
posted by cazoo at 5:27 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I loved this.

I grew up in So Cal in the 70s/80s and punk was a big part of the gravitational field that held my misfit friends together. I saw the Clash at my first concert, was a huge Dead Kennedy's fan, got roughed up at a Social Distortion concert, played horrible guitar, my little brother ran an mail-order cut & pasted punk fanzine called 1984 before it was actually 1984. Good times. Punk was part of what made those teen years vibrant and urgent and safe, despite living in an otherwise uninspiring suburb of San Diego.

I moved to Seattle in the early 90s just before grunge blew up: "The whole city suffered from the pimple-faced inferiority complex of an untalented kid making a lopsided pencil holder in woodshop." I lived through the hipification of Seattle and have observed a lot of what Roderick writes about here.

For me the essence of this wonderful screed is that:

The presumption of my generation—a presumption that spread around the world to a willing audience of disaffected suburbanites looking for an edgy trend, then passed down to the generation of emasculated indie rockers who followed—was that a punk-rock attitude kept us honest in a world made of lies.

It was this sense of punk that was so important to my teenage self. It was about having integrity, man. That the punk-ethos could become as doctrinaire as the things we were united in opposition against was part of my 15 year old brain.
posted by donovan at 5:30 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was once chastised for playing at a private Microsoft function by a guy who worked there...

One of these things is less punk than the others.
posted by jonp72 at 5:41 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


"NOT part of my 15 year old brain."

Stupid 40something year old brain.
posted by donovan at 5:49 PM on March 6, 2013


I thought this would be about the new Assassin's Creed: Black Flag.

And the bands I'm into tend to worship The Clash, sometimes quite literally, sometimes less so.

It's pretty dogmatic, and I'm not sure it's good.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:49 PM on March 6, 2013


Man oh man, I do love me some Green Day.
posted by Cookiebastard at 5:51 PM on March 6, 2013


'American Idiot' wasn't subtle, but it charted during the Bush Administration and it was exactly what was needed then.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:52 PM on March 6, 2013


Punk rock was bullshit, sure, at least the cultural superstructure that accreted around it.

And that can be said about any cultural superstructure around rock and roll, heavy metal, hip hop, trance, etc, as well as things outside of music, like being "really" Scottish or something.

I remember in high school all the supposed hard core punks looked the same, acted the same, and pretty much said the same thing and I thought to myself, just more people trying to find an identity for themselves by defining themselves against other people and ending up without a personal identity. Same was true of the metal heads who thought we were "gay" because we had haircuts and listened to the Velvet Underground and The Smiths while they listened to Judas Priest, fronted by a man who was obviously gay but they didn't believe us. Then there were the rockers who would say we must of heard them talking about the Doors or Led Zeppelin when we talked about them because we couldn't possibly actually listen to them because we listened to stuff after 1973 or whatever the date was.

But this is all high school and that's what high schoolers often do. When you're younger you're seeking to define yourself and sometimes it's all about the Bruce Lee t-shirt, your hair, or the Doc Martens you wear. Then you grow up and just wear and listen to what you like and don't give a fuck about that aspect of the culture. If you don't, it can be a little absurd, hence we have the goth father down the road, or the hippie whose lost so much hair by clings on to strands to still make a statement. But having said that, perhaps I just feel that all I can do is be who I am with a close group of friends and family, and any chance of making an impact on the world is a dream long forgotten.
posted by juiceCake at 6:04 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


This was Jaime Hernandez' position on the matter back in 1984.

Of course, if you don't agree with him, you might as well just go ahead and poke your eyes out.

Me? I'll be over here, mourning a hero.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:08 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


What I'm talking about is "punk rock" as a political stance

I feel like this guy needs to clarify himself better. When he says this, is he bitching about the willfully stupid, I don't give a shit attitude that a lot of punks adopt? That's what it sounds like he's saying things like 'I have friends in their mid-40s who don't even have a savings account because "saving money" never seemed punk rock.' Is he complaining about the actual political statements? Because yeah, the Sex Pistols were pretty dumb on the anti-authoritarian stuff, but the herein maligned Clash and Barney Greenway-era Napalm Death were always pretty damn smart.

Did it even produce good art beyond a few unintentionally hilarious 'zines and the first-rate performance art of Courtney Love's 25-year disintegration into a caricature of the exact kind of drug-addled, silicon- and Botox-enhanced, vacuous and babbling rich housewife that riot grrrls hated most? No. Unequivocally no.

Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man. Punk produced the Offspring and Green Day, Converge and fucking Shellac. And that's not just from the musical side, but the cultural side. It's as good or as bad as you want it to be.
posted by Existential Dread at 6:08 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


And that can be said about any cultural superstructure around rock and roll, heavy metal, hip hop, trance, etc, as well as things outside of music, like being "really" Scottish or something.

Of course, yes.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:08 PM on March 6, 2013


Punk rock was nothing new in 1976, and it's nothing new today.

And what the fuck would you know about that? You were 8 years old in 1976. What were you rebelling against, your mom's choice in breakfast cereals?

I remember when I first heard punk music, in 1976. It was on the Today Show with Jane Pauley. One morning they did a little video segment sneering at this new band called the Sex Pistols. I wasn't really paying attention until they played about 5 seconds of video from a live performance, and then I was like "holy shit what the FUCK was that? I need more of that." When their album was released in the US, I bought it immediately. I remember the moment I dropped the stylus into the groove. I sat down to listen. Then I couldn't sit still. I was up out of my chair like a rocket. I was bouncing off the walls. This was what I needed, and finally I got some.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:14 PM on March 6, 2013 [9 favorites]


Did it even produce good art beyond a few unintentionally hilarious 'zines and the first-rate performance art of Courtney Love's 25-year disintegration into a caricature of the exact kind of drug-addled, silicon- and Botox-enhanced, vacuous and babbling rich housewife that riot grrrls hated most? No. Unequivocally no.

Minutemen, "Double Nickels On The Dime".

*drops mic*
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:25 PM on March 6, 2013 [24 favorites]


I'm really curious who you might mean. If we're thinking of the same Springsteen-worshipper (a friend-of-a-friend), then I'm pretty sure he's not a creationist. I don't know of any libertarians (unless you mean the anarchist social libertarian sense) who wouldn't get laughed out of a show.

I'm guessing Frank Turner and Brian Fallon?
posted by inigo2 at 6:29 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


This was what I needed, and finally I got some.

Sure, and that's fine. Others got it much earlier with the Stooges for example, but what the fuck, apparently, would you know about that? Best belittle someone for being of a certain age at that time. I mean, no one who was 8 at a certain time can look back on history, musical or otherwise, and make a judgement. You had to be there man!
posted by juiceCake at 6:36 PM on March 6, 2013


'American Idiot' wasn't subtle, but it charted during the Bush Administration and it was exactly what was needed then.

Shame it didn't convince people to vote Kerry.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:39 PM on March 6, 2013


My generation is full of lost children, most of them now in their 40s and 50s, who were presumably living hellish suburban lives hearing their drunk parents fight through the wall, huffing Revell modeling glue and listening to Genesis 8-tracks until punk rock arrived to rescue them from their mullet-wearing, Camaro-driving futures.

Wow, his peers had a lot nicer childhoods than the group of punks I ran with as a teen. Our lost children were wards of the state, runaways, the severely abused, and the homeless teens. We had a reason to be fuckin' angry.


But, this article... angry punk rocker is angry.

Of course it's ridiculous when 40 - 50 years olds cling to youth culture*. It's weirder still when everyone in your countey does. Americans of all sorts these days are clinging to some youth culture appropriated and corporatized for easy delivery by Amazon. I thought I was going to be the only ridiculous one in my 40s but the internets changed that.
posted by _paegan_ at 6:41 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like that Carl Wilson called punk rock "anger schmaltz" in his terrific book exploring why people would spend so much energy hating Celine Dion.
posted by umbú at 6:48 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I mean, no one who was 8 at a certain time can look back on history, musical or otherwise, and make a judgement."

Come on. The judgment was that it was nothing new, which is kinda ahistorical bullshit. Which there's been a fair amount of in this thread — the Ramones weren't new because they were singing Beach Boys songs with more distortion, faster? I musta missed Dennis's glue huffing phase. Especially compared to the idea that Buddy Holly was the true radical because he came up with new chord progressions?

I mean, at least let's hold ourselves to the standard set by Greil Marcus and declare it all derivative of The Inkspots.
posted by klangklangston at 6:51 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Punk is a lot like straight edge: if you're not now, you never were.
posted by kendrak at 6:52 PM on March 6, 2013


"'American Idiot' wasn't subtle, but it charted during the Bush Administration and it was exactly what was needed then."

LOL WUT

The best lasting legacy of punk rock is it finally showed young people that the answers to political problems don't come from music. They shoulda learned that after the '60s, but it took a while for the message to set in.
posted by klangklangston at 6:52 PM on March 6, 2013


No, Gen-X punk is realizing you are going to be fucked over forever by forces beyond your understanding or control. You will never have the demographics to make a good goddamned bit of difference, written off as slacker lackwits by the boomers and as luddite plods by Gen Y and the Millenials, and expected to bear the brunt of whatever get-rich-quick scheme they demand we buy into as a society this week. Whatever.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:53 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The very last punk gig I went to was about eight years ago, almost exactly twenty years after the first and I remember looking around and thinking
nothing has changed here in twenty years except the beer prices
Not the colour by numbers music, not the ideas being pushed on the same scrappy leaflets shoved on table at the back. I could didn't which was worse: to be still standing there after twenty years with a swollen waist and a receding hairline, or to be actually twenty and enthralled to something that had been ossifying for longer than your lifetime for all its promises of radicalism and rebellion.

Perhaps it is not punk's fault that we never noticed the No Exit sign posted on the door, maybe there never could be a way out except and act of self-immolation. But I can't help feeling it was some kind of failure for a movement whose founding mythology was so thoroughly based on a parricidal rejection of a previous generation's youthful rebellion turned cynical opportunism not to have successfully sowed the seeds of its own destruction in an attempt to show the way out. The act of destruction that is also an act of creation. Punks fatal flaw was surely that the act of clinging so firmly to its ideas necessarily prevented the one path that could have preserved their truth -- the act of slaughtering ones own sacred cows, Hegel's aufheben, the necessity of negating something in order to preserve it.

Punk is dead.
posted by tallus at 7:09 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Does it matter if you make a huge difference? I get that a lot of punks grow disillusioned with the system or just let it all go, stop caring, and become fairly normal people with normal lives, joining the PTA and HOA board and all that. It's human nature.

There are also a lot of idiots out there who think making stupid life decisions is "punk".

There's also a pretty wide middle ground where people live true to a lot of the punk ideas of inclusion, equality, being wary of "the system", and, yes, DIY. These aren't uniquely punk ideas, but that's where a lot of us learned them.

Every time I hear old punks bitching about punk being bullshit, I think a couple of things. They're either pissed they didn't make it rich like their friends, or they're pissed a lot of punk icons have become so mainstream that they feel old. It's all good fodder to help young punks distrust old people. Circle of life. Hakuna Matata. Seriously, go to an all ages show and see the kids... they haven't changed at all. It's really encouraging. It might not be a full revolution, but it helps (young) people articulate their uneasiness with the world.

So yeah... good on that guy.
posted by kendrak at 7:11 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Aw hell, he's just mad that he wasn't on the cover of Punk & Disorderly.
posted by mrzer0 at 7:25 PM on March 6, 2013


But I can't help feeling it was some kind of failure for a movement whose founding mythology was so thoroughly based on a parricidal rejection of a previous generation's youthful rebellion turned cynical opportunism not to have successfully sowed the seeds of its own destruction in an attempt to show the way out.

Oh, it's worse than that. Op Ivy. Fugazi. Green Day. No Religion. Gen-X punk? It was all '70s nostalgia bullshit. We were never punks. Ever. We were just expected to be, and so went along with it, because, hey, whatever. TLC's "Waterfalls" is more punk than anything by a '90s punk band.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:31 PM on March 6, 2013


Lets get sushi and not pay

That was a good bit, liked that bit.
posted by bendybendy at 7:35 PM on March 6, 2013


this article sums up almost exactly the thought process i went through when i decided to stop being a punk rocker ~age 17.
posted by messiahwannabe at 7:35 PM on March 6, 2013


OK, late on this thread, and late on punk...I'm sixty years old.

But: in 1980 or so, the DIY (sorry, not a term then) applied to all the art forms, and it was good.
I was in art co-ops which were open to performance artists, installation artists, collage artists and more. It was a great time. (In my art co-op, I was the only jazz guy: everybody else was into punk, and I would do performance art in between punk music acts sometimes, to mixed receptions.)

The political intent was clear, although there seem to be some arguments about this above.

Strange, though, isn't it, that the term PUNK has such a different meaning in prison and in much colloquial dialect (very derogatory) than it does in the artsy world of us MeFites?
posted by kozad at 7:42 PM on March 6, 2013


(Yeah, we got old, grew up and became our parents. Everyone becomes the person they most despise (apropos of nothing)).
posted by tallus at 7:46 PM on March 6, 2013


Punk originally meant someone who sucks cocks in prison.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:46 PM on March 6, 2013


Is this a history of punk or an intellectual / aesthetic autobiography?

At very least it seems very locational - it doesn't seem to jibe with my own highly anecdotal experiences of punk stuff going on in the UK or Europe. Here, after the fashionistas and the profit-gougers got bored with it, the real punks realised that they and the real hippies (after the fashionistas and profit-gougers got bored with them) were actually the same people, and formed an alliance, which is ongoing. I haven't been really able to tell the difference in a long time.

Also, there is an elephant in the room here, which is called 'Occupy'. Punk can be as dead as you like, but the rotting corpse still seems to be spawning political activism, rotten from birth though such activities may seem to be. No, it's not punk any more. No, there isn't really a 'music' or 'youth culture' central component as such. Yes, it's also problematic and not necessarily all that successful as such.

But we should all be so lucky as to enjoy such a death.
posted by motty at 7:53 PM on March 6, 2013


Every time I hear old punks bitching about punk being bullshit, I think a couple of things. They're either pissed they didn't make it rich like their friends, or they're pissed a lot of punk icons have become so mainstream that they feel old.

This guy just strikes me as having bought into bourgeois values and being annoyed at people who refuse to.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:07 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think in terms of an evolving form of music, it's no surprise that rebellious youth music never progressed much beyond punk. In the generations leading up to punk, it seems like the music of teen rebellion got progressively faster, louder, and less concerned with musical structure i.e. simpler. So where do you go in that direction beyond punk? Noise, grindcore, ..? I think punk as a musical deconstruction/rebellion against pop/rock pretty much marks the boundary of aesthetic appeal, even for angsty teenagers.

I think you'd have to deconstruct genres other than rock to find anything "new". For example techno/raves were a similar musical deconstruction/simplification and DIY subculture that grew out of dance genres.

I don't know what hip hop has spawned. Lil B? But then again, hip hop was already something teens could recreate without having to simplify it any further. Once you remove the live instruments, it's easy to reproduce.
posted by p3t3 at 8:24 PM on March 6, 2013


so...who is Roderick writing this for? i don't know too many people under the age of 40 who'd be too ruffled by the statement that "punk rock is bullshit." sure, punk influences abound in 2013, but culture has moved on! punk culture is really not that big a thing anymore! and besides, people have been challenging the strictures of punk culture since...1977? i don't know, this seems a bit like saying "structuralism is bullshit!" or something like that.

also, i'm a little disturbed by how he's glossed over what i think of as the net good of punk culture: challenging (however incompletely!) the heteronormative boys' club of rock music. i have to agree with Pope Guilty here re: bourgeois values, and not in a "john roderick is a sellout" way either. the whole "we rebelled and nothing really changed so why bother?" mentality i'm detecting here is what seems toxic to me.
posted by tealsocks at 8:33 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


* cues "Your Blessened", doesn't care *
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 8:33 PM on March 6, 2013


also, i can't even verbalize how tired i am of the idea that nothing new is happening in music. you're looking in the wrong places.
posted by tealsocks at 8:37 PM on March 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


so...who is Roderick writing this for?

If he's anything like me, for himself.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:55 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


For someone who knew punk was 'bullshit' in 1978, he sure took his time before writing this article.
posted by quarsan at 8:56 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


This guy just strikes me as having bought into bourgeois values and being annoyed at people who refuse to.

This reminds me of an anecdote somebody told me recently: They were in college and tried to bond with somebody in their dorm who was wearing an OpIvy shirt. It must have been around 1991 or so. "You like Operation Ivy? Cool. So do I." "Oh, this is an old shirt. They're not cool anymore." My friend was hurt and dejected, but later found out the person wearing the shirt is now super bourgeois. (Big house, big car, suburban dream.) My friend was a little smug about it how it all turned out, but then again they're also squarely bourgeois. (They also were annoyed that upon hearing this tale I immediately asked if they moved on to Downfall. Never forget Downfall!)

So I think the whole "It's cool and legit until I say it isn't" thing is central to this article, and something a lot of people don't want to admit. This is a problem of any part of youth culture, not just punk. (I know people say the same stuff about hip-hop.) Working at a college radio station for over a decade and hanging out in the scene for almost two decades, I've seen the ebb and flow of trends. I've also seen that in a lot of ways it's evergreen. Maybe not just like when I was a kid, but not too far off. It's when people feel like things ought to be done a certain way, like you're supposed to age into liking Wilco (shudder), that gets annoying.
posted by kendrak at 9:11 PM on March 6, 2013


It's obvious that this guy needs to listen to more Minutemen and less Sex Pistols.
posted by whir at 9:27 PM on March 6, 2013


It's obvious that this guy needs to listen to more Minutemen and less Sex Pistols.

"Punk is whatever we made it to be." --Dennes Dale Boon, 1958-1985
posted by stannate at 10:04 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, kind of funny, mostly true article except;

1. It’s 20 something years too late (I actually checked the date in the middle of reading it)
2. He’s just now getting to this and still cares?
3. He was evidently around a LOT more of a political scene than I was.
4. ELO does not, and did not, suck.

Punk showed up late where I lived, but I remember distinctly remember in the late 80’s and early 90’s being amazed and confused that people were still doing the full on Punk thing. I went to a lot of Punk show and was pretty into it early on, but by that time it seemed to have run it’s course. I didn’t understand at that time nothing would really change after the early 90’s.
posted by bongo_x at 11:33 PM on March 6, 2013


He's at least right about the music. I've never understood the way people act like the Ramones were anything new. They sound like early Beach Boys (who were themselves ripping off Chuck Berry), just sped up and with distortion. This was a conservative approach to rock music. Buddy Holly was more radical — he came up with chord progressions people wouldn't have expected before.

Yeah, that's great, but the Ramones were singing about being a gay prostitute and killing a john, which, I'm sorry - Buddy Holly wouldn't have done. Peggy Sue Got Married and wah wah wah. If only you knew. Just because something appears to sound the same, doesn't make it similar.

I think it also speaks some volume that performing an entire song that was about a minute long was something new, and the song was about being fucking bored. Like even being able to get that gig was something new. That you weren't covered some stadium rock crap was innovative. The times they were a changing - the times they started in were actually what was conservative.
posted by alex_skazat at 12:17 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


A lot of adults analyzing punk now view it as a cultural product to be evaluated like all the rest, but I feel that's completely the wrong approach. It's also inappropriate to judge Sesame Street with the same critical tools one uses to judge [edgy acclaimed HBO program for adults].

I don't mean for that to come off as condescending or dismissive. I stumbled into punk rock shy and mumbly and too terrorized to make eye contact with anybody, had my first meaningful social interactions and received some of my first validation there (partly because I was a semi-competent musician, but partly as a "person" too), and came out with a certain mutant confidence that I would probably never have otherwise developed. I never thought I was good at anything until I learned I could play punk shows. Nowadays, even though I take on arguably a more marginal social role than I did as a kid, the basic lessons in confidence learned from watching a more-or-less "DIY" community in action, and realizing I could participate in that community, live on. I don't know where I'd be without that experience... parents' basement? Jail? Bored out of my skull?

Punk persists because it's uniquely suited to the needs of people at a certain developmental stage. Some people move from that world to involvement in "real" politics, but the rebellion and revolution bandied around in the scene was plainly so resonant because it's all inward and Jungian. Yeah, it's juvenile ego-play about liberating oneself from parents (although some of them were so genuinely nasty that this liberation was a matter of survival) and "social expectations", but really those are very reasonable goals.

To adults not directly involved in the subculture, the musical byproduct is the only thing to hook on to and judge -- but the music is not the most important product, no matter how many genuinely good and universal bands get started via the DIY infrastructure. The 'product' was the self-contained social realm itself. I don't know how my experience maps onto that of others involved, particularly because I wasn't subject to racism or sexism that may have poisoned the scene for some participants. But I came in as a kid with real problems, some small and some big, and left knowing I had what it took to make friends and organize things. My problems didn't necessarily go away but at least I gained some tools to hack at them with.

Course, it's meaningless to me now and looks embarrassing whenever I see it in action nowadays. It should be meaningless to John Roderick too. Punk music sounds like aural fan fiction. The zines are heavy-handed and awkward and my natural inclination is to make fun of them. But for a window of a few years, even when punk was past its prime, the sense of a self-made realm was exactly what I needed - I hope it stays static and goofy and uncool so that other people can have that experience too. It's basically a social program. I may feel embarrassed, but I don't feel taken advantage of. That's kind of rare.
posted by metaman livingblog at 12:33 AM on March 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


Ex-punk rocker Decani thinks Fugazi are bullshit. Yes, are. Ex-punk rocker Decani is British.

And yes, punk was coughing up blood in 1978 and dead by 1979. That stuff that was going on in the early eighties in America? Fuck knows what that was, but it sure as shit wasn't punk. It seemed to be a bunch of folks who played basic rock music competently and fast, which has about as much to do with punk as Air Supply.
posted by Decani at 3:10 AM on March 7, 2013


alex_skazat, I just got up at 4am because this was bothering me. Thank you. I read a lot in here about the regressive message of the Ramones because apparently a lot of folks never listened to their lyrics. The Ramones spoke to the ugly weird kids. The kid who's Dad was a shitbag alcoholic. Sitting here in Queens, eating refried beans, gulping down thorazines. Sit the fuck back down you popular pretty people, we're gonna show you what rock is all about. Yes this message was important to me. So was the message of The Pistols, The Clash, Jonathan Richman, The NY Dolls, Dead Boys, The Damned and lots of other awesome bands.
I get that this music doesn't speak to a Seattle Literatti music nerd. I get that this is old people music, and I'm old. Punk Rock was important not because of Revolution, or some fucking nonsense about being against this or that, but because it said, all you fuckers who've never been included, you're included. The Ramones specifically used lines from Todd Brownings "Freaks" to say this.
So punk rock isn't and never was important? To whom? It spoke volumes to me.
The kids are doing whatever it is there doing and calling it whatever they want. They never needed permission to do this and never will. I don't get some of the crazy boring folky shit the kids listen to. But why should I? They're not doing it for me.
posted by evilDoug at 3:17 AM on March 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


Punk originally meant someone who sucks cocks in prison.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:46 AM on March 7


Ahem.

But yes, you did actually nail the intended spirit of the word. Punk was about self-abuse, self-denigration. You were worthless. A reject. You were fucked over by society and the establishment. No future. Blank Generation. Metaphorically speaking you were, indeed, sucking cocks in prison. So you dressed like a worthless piece of shit and called yourself a punk.

Also, this comment made me LOL. Pre-fucking-cisely, charliedontsurf. If you weren't there you really have no idea just how shocking and energising the first wave of punk was, and would be well advised to hold your peace.
posted by Decani at 3:19 AM on March 7, 2013


I love how punk made such a point of rejecting prog -- to the extent that a punk slagging punk in 2013 still needs to also throw in jibes about Genesis -- but it was the hybridization of punk and prog that essentially created metal a few years later. Heck, from my listening, one of the more fruitful sources of change in pop continues to be infusing prog -- there's good evidence that every day is another day a 25-year-old songwriter to hear The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway for the first time. I do feel bad that the death of physical formats have deprived those singer-songwriters of the ability to discover a wine-and-weed-stained copy of the gatefold LP on the shelves of an older friend or family member...
posted by MattD at 5:08 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wasn't really paying attention until they played about 5 seconds of video from a live performance, and then I was like "holy shit what the FUCK was that? I need more of that." When their album was released in the US, I bought it immediately. I remember the moment I dropped the stylus into the groove. I sat down to listen. Then I couldn't sit still. I was up out of my chair like a rocket. I was bouncing off the walls. This was what I needed, and finally I got some.

This is an awesome, heart-swelling, wonderful story that could apply to the first time other people heard Brahms, Hank Williams, Marvin Gaye, Public Enemy, Ella Fitzgerald, or Leonard Bernstein. You could write similar stories about the first time people read Flannery O'Connor or Ta-Nehisi Coates or Pauline Kael.

This is not the story of punk; it is the story of connection between you and an artist, and I think that Roderick would not deny anyone this story. He would only deny that the aesthetic that grew up around it contains as full an answer to everything -- and is as different from everything that came before -- as some of its adherents believe it to be.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 5:27 AM on March 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


it was the hybridization of punk and prog that essentially created metal a few years later.

What? Metal's not descended from punk, metal predates punk. Punk had a huge influence on the development of metal in the 80's, but suggesting that metal is descended from punk is silly.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:29 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pre-fucking-cisely, charliedontsurf. If you weren't there you really have no idea just how shocking and energising the first wave of punk was, and would be well advised to hold your peace.

I was there, technically, and I disagree with your assessment.
The first time I heard The Sex Pistols in the late 1980s I was all like: WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?
Because I was only used to punk at a Kenny Everett/Goodies/strange person on the street parody, and I hadn't actually heard the music. Pop Clash don't count.

Punk had a huge influence on the development of metal in the 80's, but suggesting that metal is descended from punk is silly.

I'm not so sure, depending... speed metal certainly seems to have been born of punk, according to a book I read. I'm not so much of a fan of Discord or speed metal, but it rang true.
posted by Mezentian at 6:10 AM on March 7, 2013


Punk rock was stillborn, and proud of it.
posted by Cookiebastard at 6:26 AM on March 7, 2013


the Sex Pistols were just dumb David Bowie

So, which of these two performers hasn't he actually ever heard?
posted by snottydick at 6:58 AM on March 7, 2013 [8 favorites]


"Punk is whatever we made it to be." d.boon



and with that one statement Boon made, that whole rambling essay is moot.


ba dum dum.
posted by gcbv at 7:07 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


That stuff that was going on in the early eighties in America? Fuck knows what that was, but it sure as shit wasn't punk.

Listening to people debate about 'what is and isn't punk' is the most soul suckingly vacuous and deadening of all possible popular music discussions
posted by anazgnos at 7:14 AM on March 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


B - b - but
shit . . . HATE . . . shit . . . HATE . . . not organizing, just hating . . . they all hated disco . . . doing something with all that hate . . . taking on EVERYBODY . . . Punk saved the world.
Don't you remember? How punk saved the world®?

You know, with all that shitting and hating?
posted by Herodios at 8:21 AM on March 7, 2013


Listening to people debate about 'what is and isn't punk' is the most soul suckingly vacuous and deadening of all possible popular music discussions


Yes, but it's very punk.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:22 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


"And yes, punk was coughing up blood in 1978 and dead by 1979. That stuff that was going on in the early eighties in America? Fuck knows what that was, but it sure as shit wasn't punk. It seemed to be a bunch of folks who played basic rock music competently and fast, which has about as much to do with punk as Air Supply."

Played rock music competently and fast?

Jail Guitar Doors, I Wanna Be Sedated, California Uber Alles, Group Sex, Suburban Home, They Saved Hitler's Cock, Nervous Breakdown.

C'mon, tell me more about this Punk Scotsman.
posted by klangklangston at 8:43 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Why celebrate whiny millionaires and indie-snob Robespierres?"

I so desperately wanted this to read "Why not celebrate The Raspberries?" Because that would have been a lot better than this shit.
posted by blucevalo at 8:57 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd argue Bob Dylan was the first punk rocker the day he plugged in his guitar.
posted by Renoroc at 9:04 AM on March 7, 2013


"Did it even produce good art beyond a few unintentionally hilarious 'zines and the first-rate performance art of Courtney Love's 25-year disintegration into a caricature of the exact kind of drug-addled, silicon- and Botox-enhanced, vacuous and babbling rich housewife that riot grrrls hated most? No. Unequivocally no."

Oh, like, non-musical art?

Winston Smith


Gary Panter


Raymond Pettibon


Jamie Reid

Robbie Conal

The Decline of Western Civilization

Flipside fanzine


Punk explained that we'd always hated the Eagles

I hate the fucking Eagles, man.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:08 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd argue Bob Dylan was the first punk rocker the day he plugged in his guitar.

I tried to argue with him too, but then his goons pulled me down off his coffee table...
posted by bongo_x at 9:29 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Curious what the author thinks of Greil Marcus' Lipstick Traces which postulates that punk was just another in a long line of people sitting up and saying "No, YOU'RE wrong, FUCK YOU." Before it became a fashion statement, anyway, as Jello Biafra himself recognized.
posted by waraw at 10:37 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


> Apparently he's sleazy IRL around young girls

Calvin and I were friends, very much part of the same scene, and I never heard anything like that -- and gossiping about Calvin was one of the most popular sports in Olympia.


I have friends in their mid-40s who don't even have a savings account because "saving money" never seemed punk rock.

A friend and I recently were talking about how she didn't have car insurance for years because it was too bourgeois.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:19 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


who is Roderick writing this for?
Me! That article cheered me right up.
posted by ZipRibbons at 11:34 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Don't you remember? How punk saved the world®?
> You know, with all that shitting and hating?


I'm in love. What's that song?
I'm in love with that song

posted by benito.strauss at 11:59 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not into punk, but I've spent enough time around Goths to recognize that call of "Everyone's invited and there are no rules! We are the outcast, the isle of misfit toys! Reject society and let's have fun!" which contradicts very harshly with the impenetrable wall of rules, exclusivity, seniority, dress codes, and rebellion-by-numbers that the whole thing has come to mean in the interim.

I admit I could also be biased, because I live in the DC area, where "punk" seems to mean "I'm a late 30s/early 40s contrarian, Libertarian, gun fanatic, but with a Dead Kennedy's sticker on my Acura" nowadays.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:57 PM on March 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


I love how punk made such a point of rejecting prog -- to the extent that a punk slagging punk in 2013 still needs to also throw in jibes about Genesis -- but it was the hybridization of punk and prog that essentially created metal a few years later. Heck, from my listening, one of the more fruitful sources of change in pop continues to be infusing prog -- there's good evidence that every day is another day a 25-year-old songwriter to hear The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway for the first time.

Also, nearly every theory of punk that's been offered here so far can be found in embryonic form as a thematic element or direct statement in Back in N.Y.C.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:43 PM on March 7, 2013


This guy is so wrong it's painful. I spent a long time writing out something in response but in the end I'll post a reaction I saw a friend post: "Squares, man. What are you gonna do?".
posted by josher71 at 3:13 PM on March 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


Odd. I think of the fashion and "statement"-based punk crap as...well...crap. I remember hanging out a few years ago with a bunch of the DIY folk punk people (from No Idea records and Planet X records, etc.), and all were dressed super normal, and none really drank or smoked...they were just traveling the country, staying with fans & friends, having fun and making music. To me, that is punk as fuck. As soon as you start dressing punk, you're on the same spectrum as Hot Topic.
posted by whatgorilla at 3:14 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yet another last gasp for punk, another nail in its sadass coffin:

BLEECKER BOB’S IS CLOSING: LEGENDARY RECORD STORE TO BE REPLACED BY FROZEN YOGURT CHAIN STORE
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:19 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


As soon as you start dressing punk, you're on the same spectrum as Hot Topic.

In the last five years or so Hot Topic has become a great signifier of "My stereotypes are old" because anymore they just carry pop culture t-shirts and mainstream rock/metal stuff. I was in one a couple of months back buying a gift certificate and I couldn't see any connection to the mallgoth stereotypes the place used to embody.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:32 PM on March 7, 2013


You know you're old when even Hot Topic has sold out.
posted by GuyZero at 8:21 PM on March 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


This response, The Jazz Age is Bullshit, is pretty awesome.
posted by anoirmarie at 4:23 PM on March 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


You know you're old when even Hot Topic has sold out.

You assume you're ancient when you don't even know what Hot Topic is.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:31 PM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


You assume you're ancient when you don't even know what Hot Topic is.

Hot Topic got started in the late 90's carrying a blend of mallgoth, metal, punk, and the occasional actually acceptably goth bit of clothing, along with various trinkets and toys and such. Some also carried CDs. Nowadays Hot Topic pretty much just carries shirts with pop-culture licenses and mailstream metal/rock t-shirts. I still stop in once in awhile because they do rarely have something cool (I got a pretty cool Bauhaus shirt there last year), but it's pretty much abandoned the countercultural merchandise they used to sell.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:57 AM on March 13, 2013


Oh, also, if you've ever seen the South Park episode where the goth kids are horrified by the vampire kids? That's exactly right, if ten years late.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:58 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


"...the Sex Pistols were just dumb David Bowie..."

I'll echo snottydick here; does anybody know what the above might mean?
posted by dr. zoom at 11:21 PM on March 15, 2013


It means shitting on the sex pistols is an easy way to seem like you're hardcore. See also calling them a "boy band" despite that they wrote and performed all their own music and lyrics.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:24 PM on March 15, 2013


They *were* a boy band! An AWESOME boy band!
posted by Artw at 11:36 PM on March 15, 2013


Other than having been put together by somebody else, I don't see it. The defining characteristic of a boy band is that they're models pretending to sing, and the Sex Pistols weren't that at all.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:44 AM on March 16, 2013



"...the Sex Pistols were just dumb David Bowie..."
I'll echo snottydick here; does anybody know what the above might mean?


I suspect it's a reference to part of UK punk's glam roots, indicating that punk was dumbed down glam without makeup.

I can follow the logic, I just don't agree with with.

Do you get the feeling we've been conned trolled?
posted by Mezentian at 3:26 AM on March 16, 2013


Hot Topic was sold out of the box.
posted by Mezentian at 3:27 AM on March 16, 2013


The defining characteristic of a boy band is that they're models pretending to sing, and the Sex Pistols weren't that at all.

Just for the sake of quibbling, I'll say that the Sex Pistols were models for some people, and that one of the points of punk is that there need be no difference between pretending to sing and singing.

Yeah, I haven't even convinced myself, but I do love the idea of thinking about the Sex Pistols as a boy band, just for a different audience.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:48 AM on March 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


the Sex Pistols were models for some people

Those people being Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm MacLaren.
posted by Artw at 12:52 PM on March 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I now wish to see a new mockumentary/dramedy, a mash-up of Hard Core Logo and Boyzvoiced, discussing the earliest days of the Sex Pistols.
posted by Mezentian at 7:08 PM on March 16, 2013


I see it as being like Black Books but set in the clothes store.
posted by Artw at 9:33 PM on March 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sid is the Kramer character.
posted by Artw at 9:33 PM on March 16, 2013


I don't think any punk or counterculture satire can touch The Young Ones, and it's still relevant today.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:21 PM on March 17, 2013


Im so bummed I missed out on this fight :C
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:25 PM on March 25, 2013


Punk rock is Nicht Tod Nicked off
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:26 PM on March 25, 2013


Oh yeah, well you know who doesn't think punk rock is bullshit? Uh, well, for some reason, I guess it's uh, Chris Brown?

What did they say about Marx? "Their ideas of freedom are just oppression now."
posted by whir at 12:05 PM on March 26, 2013


I mean, at least let's hold ourselves to the standard set by Greil Marcus and declare it all derivative of The Inkspots.

Go ahead, that's not my thing, but if it's yours, go for it.

Music, like all the arts, builds on itself and I have no problem with the nothing new statement. Fact is structurally, music like the Pistols was around before. This does not mean the Pistols are shit, no more than it means the Stones are crap because they built their music on a blues foundation (which of course is also the foundation of the Stooges). I find the best artists are the ones who take conventions and do it better than everyone else or very well (see Shakespeare). The Strokes for example, are often dismissed as nothing new, and that's fine, but they're a great rock band. To pretend that stuff like what the Pistols or the Ramones were doing didn't exist and you're full of shit for saying so is not something I agree with. You see it differently, that's fine.
posted by juiceCake at 11:36 AM on March 29, 2013


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