Johnny was a.. republican??
March 7, 2004 1:35 PM   Subscribe

Grand Old Punks The Sunday Times reported on Johnny Ramone's conservative beliefs today As he grew up he realised that for all his guitar thrashing, he was a conservative at heart. He opposes abortion and gay marriage and thinks welfare benefits are too generous. “Everyone in America can succeed to at least the middle-class level if they work hard enough,” he said. Do these people have a point or do they just not get it?
posted by maggie (51 comments total)

 
Oops, that second link should have been this
posted by maggie at 1:37 PM on March 7, 2004


that was then. This is now. Read today that evenx-rays are sent to India for readings and then sent back...NY Times suggests jobs as waiters are much safer here than many other "positions." Will funeral "directors" be the next to send goods out of the country and then, prepared, have them sent back?
posted by Postroad at 1:45 PM on March 7, 2004


We want to revitalize the Republican party with a the energy of a younger generation that doesn’t see conforming to the ‘image’ of a Republican as necessary.

that's pretty fuckin' punk. count me in!
posted by mcsweetie at 1:45 PM on March 7, 2004


That's not so strange.

A lot of skinheads are just a single issue or two away from full Limbaugh lovin' dittohead-ness.
posted by milovoo at 1:55 PM on March 7, 2004


and thinks welfare benefits are too generous.

Too generous? So should now 6 months be the lifetime limit to claim welfare benefits instead of 2 years?

This is like a that genre of movies where people go to sleep in the 1960s and wake up 20 years later, except that in this case, Johnny Ramone went to sleep (or ceased to continue remembering anything new) in the 1980s and woke up in 2004, not realizing that we had won the Cold War, welfare reform that borders on the draconian got passed, states gained wide latitude to restrict abortion, and the Republicans took over both houses of Congress.

That said, there's supposed to be something anarchic, if not anti-ideological, about being punk. There's nothing less "punk rock" than starting a web site based around the idolization of Reagan and Bush (or, for that matter, Clinton). Not to mention the fact that someone seriously needs to tell Mr. gopunk.com that Punk is dead!
posted by deanc at 2:03 PM on March 7, 2004


What has someone's image got to do with their beliefs?
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:11 PM on March 7, 2004


My friend Bren wrote this on his website (he plays in a fairly well known punk band)

"Conservative Punk Rockers?” I said, befuddled. “Well shit, Toby. It must really just be all about the clothes and the belts at this point, huh. I mean, if some kid can listen to a top ten pop song that sounds just like the other 9 top ten pop songs, support the regime occupying the white house, comb his gentleman’s Mohawk down into a respectable hairdo when it’s time for school and still call himself a punk, then it really has nothing at all to do with the ideas and ideals that got me into this whole thing when I was a kid. You know what Toby. Let’s give those fucking Simple Plan listening, Paul Wolfowitz supporting, spiky belt wearing conservative kids the word “punk”. It’s pretty useless at this point anyway, and I think that we could come up with a much better and less saleable word for a community based around songs inspired by anger and frustration and played by untalented musicians. Don’t you think, Toby?”

There was also a pretty substantial discussion on punknews.org about this influx of (astroturfing?) conservative punk sites.
posted by aubin at 2:13 PM on March 7, 2004 [1 favorite]


the energy of a younger generation
He's freakin' 55 years old. How many years ago did he make his first million? Of course, to me, much of "punk music" (and The Ramones in particular) was simply lazy, stupid and artless, so the current philosophy of the Republican Party seems to fit him pretty well. And comparing skinheads to dittoheads seems rather unfair and insulting to Rushbo. On the other hand, I don't like Henry Rollins' music either, and he's on my list of "celebrities who make me reconsider my opinion whenever I learn he agrees with me".

You want a spokesman for "the younger generation"? Try "the MeFite whose name we dare not speak but starts with q"; he's just turned 50...
posted by wendell at 2:14 PM on March 7, 2004


"the MeFite whose name we dare not speak but starts with q"; he's just turned 50...

qonolia?

he's on my list of "celebrities who make me reconsider my opinion whenever I learn he agrees with me".

Hmmm. Maybe I need a list of these.

Do these people have a point or do they just not get it?

Here we have it: the pure, boiled-down, ultimate binomial.
posted by namespan at 2:25 PM on March 7, 2004


>And comparing skinheads to dittoheads seems rather unfair and insulting to Rushbo.

huh? why? I know there is some overlap so certainly they can't all be offended.
They both like that America number 1 groove, and neither is all that enthused about gays or foreigners.

(BTW, we are talking about real-life skinheads, not the generic movie villians, just to be on the same page)
posted by milovoo at 2:46 PM on March 7, 2004


'nuff said

But, hey, punks can be conservatives if they wanna (geez, just look at the little hardcore / sXe pricks). Bet their music is shithouse though. And they never stick at it long.

It should be noted, as well, that not all members of the Ramones felt / feel the say way as ol' Johnny.
posted by Jimbob at 3:02 PM on March 7, 2004


Voting; now that, my friend, is fighting the establishment...

Then again, looking at Sum 41, Simple Plan, Good Charlotte, and Blink 182, I guess "punk" doesn't mean anything anymore, so it's pretty moot.

*sigh* Conversative punk. In my day, that meant A NORMIE!!!
posted by Dark Messiah at 3:03 PM on March 7, 2004


No, conservativepunk.com doesn't have a point, at least with regards to their (paraphrased) contention that 'punk rock' is a monolithic anarcho-communist view of the world. Like milovoo pointed out, a lot of oi bands, even the SHARP-style ones, are pretty damned conservative, when they leave the safe haven of singing about drinking with the boys. The entire christian straight edge scene is full of social conservatives. White power/white pride bands number in the thousands, and they certainly do their thing from a far right standpoint.

Like any subculture that has spawned countless sub-subcultures, 'punk rock' has a full spectrum of opinions about everything.
posted by cmonkey at 3:07 PM on March 7, 2004


Dark Messiah , I reckon punk still means something, because (despite the genre Sony or Warner decides to write on the box) those aren't punk bands, they're melodic pop bands with distorted guitars. There is still "punk" out there, and a lot of it's very good, but it just isn't played on the radio. Simple as that. Maybe it does need a new name, as aubin's friend sarcastically suggested.
posted by Jimbob at 3:08 PM on March 7, 2004


I thought punk was just another name for prison bitch. Who knew they had political leanings?
posted by destro at 3:08 PM on March 7, 2004




Eh, good music and good politics have always had very little to do with eachother. Politically speaking, Johnny Ramone is your basic armchair right-winger. Dosen't mean you can have my copy of Rocket To Russia. Same with Ted Nugent, Guns & Roses, or any other rightward-leaning rockers.

Conversely, there's people like Natalie Merchant, Utah Phillips, Ian Mackaye, and Midnight Oil. I admire their commitment and their integrity. But I wont buy their records because I personally find their music dull and pedestrian.

The ramones music was rarely political anyway and tolerance of diversity means tolerance of diversity of opinion, too.
posted by jonmc at 3:39 PM on March 7, 2004


You see more kids with moussed out uber mohawks and zippered plaid pants than kids with long hair or any other tokens of granola cultural affiliation on the streets of Capitol Hill. Hippie was ten years old when punk was born--and that was 25 years ago ! At least hippies don't identify themselves as hippies--let alone whine about weekend hippies--anymore. I think you can safely call punk the far more conservative pattern of subcultural self-identification through the purchase, display and consumption of the proper commodities.
posted by y2karl at 3:46 PM on March 7, 2004


"A GOPunk is a person with strong conservative values, most likely a member of the Republican party, who proudly professes his or her loyalty to the GOP, but doesn’t fit the mold often applied to GOP members."

... now there's a Freudian slip.
posted by arha at 3:58 PM on March 7, 2004


What has someone's image got to do with their beliefs?

Quite a bit in my experience. I suppose it depends on whether or not you consider "punk" an image or a way of life. Which is a personal thing.

The original premise of punk was "breaking rules", which quickly got turned into "except our rules", so in a way I suppose it's not that surprising that at heart so many alternative types turn out to be conservatives. But there's conservative and there's supporting GW Bush and his cronies. They're the personification of elitism and keeping the poor that way, the very things punk is supposed to be "against".
posted by maggie at 4:18 PM on March 7, 2004


y2karl, well put. When every suburban mall has a Hot Topic which caters to your "sub-culture", guess what? Its over and probably been over for a long time.
posted by skallas at 4:22 PM on March 7, 2004


On the other hand, there's Punk Voter, created by Fat Mike of NoFX.
posted by subgenius at 4:32 PM on March 7, 2004


Trying to tie musical and fashion styles into political paradigms is difficult and, probably, unfruitful business. That said, punk always seemed self-centered, anti-intellectial and based upon consumerist "anti-consumerism." It was a style. It was a bunch of children playing dress-up. And now that they are grown they are still self-centered, anti-intellectial and consumerist. Why is anyone surprised to see "Johnny Rotten" pandering on a reality show when he became famous for pandering in the first place?
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:58 PM on March 7, 2004


punk always seemed self-centered, anti-intellectial and based upon consumerist "anti-consumerism." It was a style. It was a bunch of children playing dress-up. And now that they are grown they are still self-centered, anti-intellectial and consumerist.

That's an oversimplification. Punk has been around for three decades, and it encompasses dozens of genres. It may be based on fashion or style for some bands and their fans, but there just as many people for whom it's a way of making, producing, and selling music. Just because John Lydon continues to prove he's in it for nothing more than John Lydon doesn't mean, for example, that Ian MacKaye is in it to get rich or Bad Religion makes party music for the mall crowd.

Anyway, the Ramones were never a polical band, so is it surprising that the guitar player would turn conservative years after he stopped being relevant and started concentrating on his investments? I don't find that any more surprising than the fact labels and political parties are trying to use punk as a marketing gimmick. But that doesn't make them punk.
posted by subgenius at 5:17 PM on March 7, 2004


"The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle" was not ironic.
posted by wendell at 5:30 PM on March 7, 2004


Well, Johnny's always been conservative. In a Ramones bio, I read Johnny recalls jeering anti-war protesters while Joey recalls marching with them.

Punk, ultimately to me anyway, meant a musical style- simple, basic direct verse/chorus/verse guitar based rock and roll. The surrounding styles and politics are often interesting to some degree, but that stuff always changes with time. What we're left with is what's in the grooves of the wax. And the Ramones were among the best ever.

Although, ironically, enough "Bonzo Goes To Bitburg" is one of the best protest songs ever. So go figure.

doesn't mean, ... Bad Religion makes party music for the mall crowd.

Hey, even punks gotta party. Some of the best punk (the Dickies, the Undertones, the whole bloody corpus of 60's garage) was all about having fun. Ain't nothin wrong with that....
posted by jonmc at 5:32 PM on March 7, 2004


arha... erm, not quite.

mold and mould are usually regarded as interchangeable ways of spelling the same word.
posted by cheaily at 5:53 PM on March 7, 2004


much of "punk music" (and The Ramones in particular) was simply lazy, stupid and artless, so the current philosophy of the Republican Party seems to fit him pretty well

Ouch. I agree completely.

When I was in college I was introduced to straight-edge culture and music, and was simply astounded that people so young and full of energy and anger could also be so conservative. Tattoos and piercings galore, but don't dare smoke a cigarette around 'em.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:11 PM on March 7, 2004


Civil_Disobedient, take it from somebody who knows, getting drunk and getting high has absolutely zero to do with how free-thinking one is.
posted by jonmc at 6:19 PM on March 7, 2004


jonmc:

You missed the song that still makes me misty-eyed for day gone by -

TV Party Tonight
posted by skyscraper at 7:08 PM on March 7, 2004


Well, that site must be made out of Kleenex.

TV Party Tonight
posted by skyscraper at 7:17 PM on March 7, 2004


That Joey, he's such a hunk! Now that I think about it, Joey never really said much about how great trashing a school and general anti-authoritarianism is good in that flick. Course, he didn't say much. :)
posted by infowar at 8:17 PM on March 7, 2004


i'll tell you what - check with some of the peeps here ... and see what they have to say ... maggie - better yet, ask them in person.
posted by specialk420 at 8:39 PM on March 7, 2004


an old guy with lotsa money is mad that the world isn't like it was when he was a kid. conservative!
posted by mcsweetie at 8:40 PM on March 7, 2004


specialk420, you are a rock star. I just finished reading these anecdotes about First Avenue, so I'm in the midst of listening to a new 'Mats bootleg and feeling some nostalgia for the Twin Cities. I will check that site out.
posted by subgenius at 10:32 PM on March 7, 2004


On the other hand, there's Punk Voter, created by Fat Mike of NoFX

I went to college with Fat Mike back when he was skinny. We used to call him Mr. Congeniality, 'cause he was so surly.

Ahh...good times.

/derail
posted by echolalia67 at 12:04 AM on March 8, 2004


I can report that tonight's Melvins/Mudhoney/ show at the Showbox was sooopacharged! The sold out show was only dissapointing when the surprisingly large contingent of overripe yups finding their inner durst showed their disdain at the actual vs. tv ways of enjoying a rock concert. The highlight was the chick who clambered up on stage between songs to announce that she lost her "black" purse in the pit and could everyone look for it. It seems to be a two way phenomena of earlyadopter punk tastemakers becoming successful combined with midlifers trying to get the stamp in the cool whuffie passport. Despite the yokel Herb invaders, there were many Seattle rock luminaries in the house enjoying the kickass show. And lest ye fear for the youth not getting punk, let me point to the excellent DEK, who I saw two nights ago opening to a full house for the Presidents of the United States of America. Nonbelievers, Bret will kick your ass!
posted by roboto at 4:39 AM on March 8, 2004


Hey Roboto--> FUCK OFF!



(now that's :::punk:::)
.
posted by sic at 5:52 AM on March 8, 2004


It seems to be a two way phenomena of earlyadopter punk tastemakers becoming successful combined with midlifers trying to get the stamp in the cool whuffie passport. Despite the yokel Herb invaders, there were many Seattle rock luminaries in the house enjoying the kickass show.

You work in marketing, don't you?
posted by jonmc at 7:20 AM on March 8, 2004


A bunch of my idiot friends voted for Bush in 2000 under the theory that as a national regime becomes more repressive, the better the music gets. Look at Reagan. Nixon. Etc...

Now THOSE are GOPunks....
posted by ph00dz at 7:25 AM on March 8, 2004


Scene: the UNC bookstore, fall of 1984. Two freshmen women looking at college sweatshirts. One says "I like this one, because it's kinda punk." An officially-sanctioned UNC sweatshirt, "kinda punk."

"Kinda punk," thus, became a favorite phrase of my group of ne'er-do-wells.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:38 AM on March 8, 2004


Hippie was ten years old when punk was born--and that was 25 years ago !

The Ramones
was released in May of 1976-- meaning punk is 28 Freakin years old and counting! I was in London in 1977 and saw my first real live punks on the street...Oooooh I was scared. Who knew I would grow up and get engaged to an old punker.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:12 PM on March 8, 2004


heh, YOU SUCK! No jonmc, a bartender. I guess my brain was hemorrhaging sticky words from the stuff I've been reading. Tastemakers was dropped frequently by Russell Simmons in his autobiography, using early adopter means I read too much slashdot, and whuffie comes from Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. Being a Herb is a hiphop phrase yo. Anyway, this all seems inevitable as art forms age. Look at the many veins of jazz today. I'm strictly a bop lover and it would be easy for me to point around at the many horrific ways the form is handled these days and say Jazz is dead. But I would be wrong because the real does exist in small pockets of traditional practitioners. With popularity, what was a lone shining standout becomes obfuscated by all the degraded copies.
posted by roboto at 2:12 PM on March 8, 2004


A bunch of my idiot friends voted for Bush in 2000 under the theory that as a national regime becomes more repressive, the better the music gets. Look at Reagan. Nixon. Etc...

I have to agree with their method in theory (but only in theory). Cities like Indianapolis and Salt Lake City have much more devoted "scenes" than somewhere like NYC or SF. Four or five regulars hanging out in a basement to see the only decent band for miles makes for more of a community, which then encourages passion in the people with talent who create art and music with less thought for getting rich or famous. If you add an liberal or art school nearby, then it's even more fertile ground, making for somewhere like Athens or Portland, although these towns can be more subject to the pressures of fashion and have a higher turnover. Adding political issues, either local or national, can turn up the heat for malcontents and really get the punk stew cooking. This same recipe can make for plenty other interesting scenes as well, if the locals have a taste for folk, jazz, or whatever. Removing the controversies tends to make things a bit bland.
posted by milovoo at 3:02 PM on March 8, 2004


BTW, only obliquely related,
(pretty much only related because they came up on my iTunes shuffle, but speaking of the Minnesota scene...)

I've been digging Bombshell / Soviettes from Fargo, ND.
(although they're a bit more pop than punk)
posted by milovoo at 3:18 PM on March 8, 2004


Punk's not dead!

It's just voting conservative these days...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:08 PM on March 8, 2004


getting drunk and getting high has absolutely zero to do with how free-thinking one is

No, but it does seem pretty cowardly to not even try it. Just as pure experience. Seems pretty simple(and closed)-minded to say, "No, no drugs for me, never, never!" while drinking a Coke.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:52 PM on March 8, 2004


No, but it does seem pretty cowardly to not even try it. Just as pure experience. Seems pretty simple(and closed)-minded to say, "No, no drugs for me, never, never!" while drinking a Coke

Get on the clue train. Cocaine is no longer an ingredient of that product.

Yeah I know that is not what you meant. Comparing a mild, naturally occurring stimulant with mood altering substances that change perception and judgement seems all kinds of skewed. I can see getting irritated with people judging you, but you lose a lot of your righteousness turning around and doing the same. It is nobodies business what people choose to do with their bodies. As for me "No, no drugs for me, never, never! and please get me some ice water"
posted by thirteen at 3:06 PM on March 9, 2004


"Let's make one thing clear: today's Democratic Party is a vile socialist organization, thriving on hate, fear, and class-warfare."

um, excuse me? I thought hate and fear where what punks were all about? ;)

This site smells like fish to me. Or is that astroturf.
posted by terrapin at 3:28 PM on March 9, 2004


getting drunk and getting high has absolutely zero to do with how free-thinking one is

When I was younger I was straight-edge. At the time (high-school and early college) it made perfect sense to me as I saw others around me adversely affected by drugs, alcohol and the associated peer-pressures. When I got older and got an apartment of my own and a steady job, I felt that drinking or taking drugs was now something that I could try safely and without the risk of hurting anyone else.
The peer pressure to drink is quite strong when one is younger, a lot of people forget that when they get older.

Seems to have been the right decision for me, and I think there is something to be said for those who form a community of rebellious, activist kids who so something other than spend all weekend drunk. I still have a small, vestigial X tattoo on the back of my hand, but it's been years since I've met anyone who knows what it means.
posted by milovoo at 10:33 AM on March 10, 2004


Straight and Alert!
posted by roboto at 1:40 PM on March 10, 2004


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