I Am NOT Charlie Hebdo
As a "cartoonist" I suppose I should weigh in on current events:
From what I've seen of Hebdo's Muhammad cartoons, they often rely on the taboo of depicting what one is not supposed to depict. Like many racist, sexist, domestic abuse, or "rape" jokes, a poorly crafted joke that is solely dependent on shock value, is usually pretty fucking weak.
I find that most political cartoons are not crafted to get a good laugh, they exist so that some 9-5 bozo sipping a morning coffee, can adjust their tie while thinking to themselves: "That's so true. It's about time somebody said it."
In my opinion, Hebdo inspires more Islamophobia than laughs.
Usually our culture praises violent responses to racism. A couple of years ago I was on stage working for DKM when a skinhead fan got on stage and started throwing nazi salutes. DKM's frontman Ken Casey, dropped his bass and walked over to punch the skinhead. A fight broke out and several members of the entourage, including two professional boxers fought the skinhead and removed him from the show. I have to assume that this guy got exactly what he wanted. He got the attention and violence he was seeking. The whole thing was caught on video and soon everyone from TMZ to the hippy dippy Brooklyn Vegan .com were praising Casey for his heroic act- violence against a racist.
Obviously, there would've been a different reaction if Casey had walked up and shot the guy in the head. But there would still be plenty of people out there singing his praises. Who hasn't heard the slogan "The only good nazi is a dead nazi."
There are some significant differences between your average racist foot soldier and the published cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo. Most "nazi" skinheads are just confused, troubled, and misguided outcasts. Most embrace and welcome violence. What they all have in common is a willingness to face intense hatred and disgust from almost every person they encounter. The racism that came from Charlie Hebdo, is far more insidious. These cartoons provoked anti-muslim sentiment that permeated throughout French culture. These comics were popularized in a country with a Muslim minority. Unlike your average neo-nazi, the racists behind these cartoons were both praised for their defiance, and rewarded with salaries.
I acknowledge that there are a lot of backwards ideologies in the Muslim world, but the Western world has a long way to go before we can comfortably judge the rest of humanity. We use the lesser behavior of others as a crutch and an excuse to neglect our own self improvement.
If you are not offended by racist caricatures which mock the value system of an entire culture, you are entitled to your opinion. The question is, where do you draw the line? Do you embrace artistic camaraderie with artists who draw racist caricatures of Jews and Blacks? I do not believe in this bogus community of cartoonists. What we have in common is that we all express ourselves through doodles. While there are tons of cartoonists that I admire, there's also cartoonists like the guy who draws Family Circus. Worse than that, there are cartoonists like A Wyatt Mann, champion of the White Aryan Resistance. If you ARE Charlie Hebdo, prepare yourself to also BE A Wyatt Mann when he gets gunned down by the New Black Panther Party.
I will not be drawing any cartoons of Muhammad. This isn't only because I have no interest, it wouldn't be relevant to my style, and I have yet to see a good opportunity for a joke... It is because people are willing to kill over this. Think about that. If you can prove that you are willing to murder me if I draw a cartoon that you don't like, you fuckin' win! I give credit where credit's due.
To be clear to all of my readers and potential NSA spies. I think that all religious extremists are despicable fools. I would never align myself with any organized religion, extreme or otherwise.
To my fellow artists: Be safe out there, but don't confuse my sentiment. Draw whatever you want to draw. Say whatever you want to say. I would no sooner tell you what not to draw than I would tell a punk not to wear death skulls or swastikas. It's your choice to do what you want to do, but you better own it, and you better brace yourself for the impact.
Unless you are gagged and bound, there is no such thing as suppression of free speech. Even if the things you say get you killed, you still got to say them. And there's only fear to stop the next person from saying those same things.
I Guess We Just Love to Fight
In my last entry I spoke about the Zimmerman case and people's reaction to the verdict. The verdict has sparked outrage and controversy that doesn't seem to be losing any steam. Nation wide protests continue and the movement grows stronger everyday. I will repeat myself in saying: why didn't anybody care about the gross negligence and cost cutting that led to 1,100 deaths in Bangledesh, or for that matter, the explosion in West, Texas that killed 14, injured 200, and destroyed 50 homes and a school? Why don't people react to tragedies that are so clear cut? The sad truth I'm coming to realize is that tragedy just isn't that interesting to people unless they can have an argument about it.
Many uninformed debates have come out of the Zimmerman/Martin case. Half of the country, is in discussion about the "Stand Your Ground" law. If you are unaware, this law was not invoked during the trial. Zimmerman got off on "Self Defense". To be clear, this is not a justification of the verdict. I am addressing the fact that somehow this case has provoked a nation wide debate over, among other questionably relevant issues, a law that did not come into play.
Speaking of "questionably relevant", let's talk about Skittles. There is not a person in this country who doesn't know that Martin had purchased Skittles brand candy shortly before his death. Why is it that there are more people who know what type of candy Martin was carrying than there are people who know the defense's actual plea in the trial? This is a result of the mainstream media subliminally tricking you into feeling a certain way about the victim. They are trying to paint a picture of a harmless, innocent, "sweet" child. The fact of the matter is, Skittles are enjoyed by all walks of life from the innocent toddler first discovering the practical function of teeth and taste buds, to the criminally insane. For all we know, the reason Zimmerman was on his way to Target, was to buy the biggest bag of Skittles they make. One thing's for sure, the good people at Wrigley probably aren't too upset about all of the free advertising.
(Let me take a moment to curb anyones fears or suspicions that I might be a Zimmerman supporter: Zimmerman believed himself to be an authority figure. He is a man who wanted to be a cop and lock people up. Therefore, murder or no murder, black, white, or hispanic, I personally wouldn't lose any sleep if he got locked up for a thousand years.)
The bigger discussion that has arisen is about race and racism in our legal system and in our country. I'm not blind, I know that racism is a huge problem in our system. I have spent most of my life speaking out against it. But no matter how much you detest racism, you have to view and discuss it in a rational way. This case has never been factually proven to be about race. The issue of race is no more than an opinion based on (among other things) a cleverly edited 911 call, and people's own preconceived notions about racial profiling and race relations. I have no doubt that profiling played a role in Zimmerman's actions but without getting inside Zimmerman's head I cannot be %100 convinced that it was RACIAL profiling.
Whether we like it or not, not all bad people are racist and not all racists are bad people- everyone has prejudices INCLUDING YOU! These prejudices can develop from a lifetime of complicated influences and experience that aren't easy for everyone to understand. They can also manifest themselves in many different ways and levels of harmfulness. So next time you talk about how you detest "racists", take a moment to think about the last time you talked about how much you hate "hipsters" for dressing like "retards".
Sidebar: If you want to prove to ME that you are anti-racist activist, start by boycotting Major League Baseball. I know this may be old news, but it doesn't change the fact that the Cleveland Indians logo is inarguably a blatantly racist cartoon. And if you're not willing to sacrifice something you love for your cause, then I guess you aren't really an activist afterall.
Thanks (in my opinion) to the media, the country is in an uproar about our racist system. Well, more specifically about the oppression of blacks. The loud and clear message I am currently receiving is that whites rule it all, blacks are next in line, and every other race can go fuck themselves. It's hard to imagine what it must have been like to be black in the 1940s. Now imagine what it must of been like to be Japanese (or any type of asian). Whatever treatment blacks were getting from whites, is the same treatment Japanese were getting from blacks AND whites. My point is that it's never been about black and white. It has always been about power which ultimately boils down to majority/minority. The majority will always have power and the way they choose to wield it and treat the minority, doesn't ever seem to change.
The media is playing us all like fools. Am I going crazy here or has racism from blacks and whites, made a massive comeback since the start of this trial? The country has latched onto this story and successfully morphed it into a racial issue because that's what the system wants. Divide and conquer while they plot their next move to oppress us all.
The Media Owns You
The Verdict is in! And the people have taken to the streets! My question is this: Where was all this anger, where was all this protest, where was all this demand for justice, when 1,100 poor workers died in the garment factory collapse in Bangledesh? Oh that's right, everyone was too busy buying Bangledeshi manufactured "Boston Strong" t-shirts and mocking my second hand shoes. The whole nation is up in arms about the verdict in a trial involving the death of one. Most people have expressed their anger and frustration with words over the internet, many have taken to the streets in the form of peaceful protest, and a small minority have lashed out with violence. There is injustice and cause for outrage in this world everyday. The mainstream media gets to decide what the people will be outraged about. This artificialy high profile case is the media's dream come true. The story has triggered an overwhelming reaction which is generating millions of dollars for all of the networks. More importantly, the backlash is of no consequence to any corporate entities. The mass protest and public outcry isn't hurting anyone's profits, so why should they care?
Yesterday the highly anticipated verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial was released. Zimmerman who was charged with 2nd degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin, was aquitted of all charges. If you are unfamiliar with this case you can read more about it here: www.everywhere.
We are all entitled to our own opinions about the case and the verdict. I have mine and you have yours. I'm not going to get into my feelings about the case itself. However, I will say that I saw a lot of people settle on their own verdict long before this case even went to trial. The fact remains that there were people on that jury who spent weeks in a courtroom watching a trial and taking notes. You were not one of them. The media wanted you to believe that you were by feeding you their own far left and far right versions of the story but the fact remains that consuming skewed news stories does not make one an expert.
For the sake of this blog, I will sit right on the fence and say this: Trayvon Martin's death was tragic and senseless. I feel deep empathy for his family and friends. And I absolutely believe that Zimmerman was an untrained overzealous wannabe vigilante who absolutely created a situation that ultimately led to Martin's death. I am also open to the possibility that Martin could have easily taken different actions to avoid this fate. When examining this case, one has to take into account that if a few minor things had gone differently in the confrontation, this could have resulted in a court case where Trayvon Martin was on trial for the murder of George Zimmerman. The only thing that I do know for sure is that I did not witness the incident and I did not sit in a courtroom and witness the trial.
I am not outraged that people are outraged. I am merely disappointed. I am disappointed in two ways: One I am disappointed in so many people's unwillingness to have a rational discussion about the case. I have read countless facebook posts by friends who essentially state that anyone who wants to argue against their point of view, should "unfriend" them. How do we expect to learn anything or have any perspective by shutting out those who have an opposing view? I have also seen/heard people talking about the case in the same way that most news outlets choose to; that is taking one side or the other and ommiting the facts that don't fully support their side of the argument.
Second I am disappointed that people have been so easily manipulated and distracted by this story. In addition to the other very similar murder cases going on right now, there are so many more big picture issues to focus on- women's reproductive rights, drone strikes, force feeding at guantanemo, the list goes on... People have taken to the streets in mass protest over one isolated incident that the media has successfully sensationalized.
At the start of this piece I bring up the factory collapse in Bangledesh. This tragedy is an example of an outrage where we all have the power to take very direct and effective action. Walmart, Gap, Target, Woolworths, and Kmart have all refused to sign legally binding agreements to improve safety standards at their factories. Where are the protests? Where are the calls to boycott? We're talking about over 1,100 people dead as a result of greed! Not arguable self defense, racism, or fear, GREED! The cynical part of me wants to think that people just aren't willing to take a stance on issues if it requires any personal sacrifice (and I'm sorry to break it to you, but expressing your outrage about the Zimmerman verdict, takes zero personal sacrifice). But ultimately, this isn't about people ignoring larger issues and injustices, it is about the media ignoring them. It's time we start ignoring the media or at least seeking out more than what they force feed us.
Do They Owe Us a Fucking Thing?
“Fuck Crass!” is the sentiment that is currently running rampant on the internet. I can respect the criticism from certain points but mostly I feel defensive. For those who don’t know the story, Crass has been called out by Anarcho-punk.net for filing complaints to Mediafire about 7 Crass records that were available for free on the site. What I optimistically assume was an attempt to simply remove the Crass catalog from the site had catastrophic results. After the complaints (allegedly from Crass) Mediafire forced Anarcho-punk.net to take down all of it’s unlicensed music. From what I can tell, the band Crass is being held accountable for the actions of what may be as few as one member. From the die hard D.I.Y. purists to the a-political punks who revel in anarchist hypocrisy, everyone is bashing Crass. Since the dawn of activist music there have been nonconstructive people focusing their energy on tearing down the activists and bands that do participate rather than contribute to activism themselves. Before you go tossing your Crass catalog into a Nazi book burning pile, consider a few things...
Crass has not been a band since 1984, this was twenty eight years ago. Everything they did as a band is just as pure, relevant, and important as it ever was. Whether or not the current criticism of the band is legitimate, nothing changes the fact that Crass not only revolutionized punk in a positive way, they changed the face of music forever! Their d.i.y. approach has been adopted by underground bands for the past thirty years. Does any of this count, or is it all tarnished now?
There’s a reason I didn’t go see “Steve Ignorant’s Crass” when they toured the States. I didn’t have to be an anarcho-punk purist to see right through the intentions of this tour. Steve Ignorant wanted to party and make some money. If the intentions of this tour were pure, if it was about sharing music and information then Steve Ignorant would have started a new band. I didn’t need to see a watered down opportunistic version of Crass. And I was cynical about this tour because like or not, in this world of aging and retired punks Crass has become quite hip. That being said, no matter how unreasonable the ticket prices for these shows were, anyone who thinks that Steve Ignorant was making more money than any of us do at our low wage retail/food service jobs has very little understanding of how tour really works.
Once the heat dies down, I think that the general consensus will be to point the finger at Steve Ignorant and Southern. You don’t have to approve of Steve Ignorant’s actions but it might give you some perspective to recognize that he was basically a teenager when he started the band. I’m not justifying or excusing his actions, I still disagree with them. All I am trying to point out is the fact that a man pushing sixty (and likely living below the poverty line) doesn’t usually care to be held accountable for the things they believed when they were twenty. I know a handful of reformed white power activists who probably feel the same. But again, this devil’s advocate does not condone Ignorant’s actions.
Bands go through line up changes all of the time. I am all too familiar with this phenomenon. Often times band members leave because they disagree with the direction that the band is taking. This is not however what happened with Crass. Crass broke up. If one considers the actions of Steve Ignorant to be the actions of Crass, that person must also believe that Axle Rose is Guns and Roses. Everyone knows that Chinese Democracy and the new G n’ R lineup are garbage but I didn’t see anyone tossing their copies of Appetite and Use Your Illusion. (note: I do recognize that to the die hard anarcho punk Crass critics, a G n’ R reference might make me seem completely lost and out of touch. I am just trying to draw a parallel.)
To label Crass as “capitalists” as many people are now saying, is completely fucking ridiculous. We’re talking a band who’s logo has likely generated millions upon millions of dollars in t-shirt, patch, and pin/badge/button sales without even knowing who made the merchandise or where the money went. I say “millions” with confidence. It could be more it could be less. It would be impossible to track all of the money generated by the popularity of Crass because none of that money has ever gone to any single entity, but this only furthers my point. Ironically by refusing to copyright their music and images, instead of going to the band millions of dollars have gone to corporations like Hot Topic or just to crummy opportunistic punk kids with a silk screen and a taste for McDonald’s.
I visited Anarcho-punk.net, where this controversy all began. In the spirit of radical/anarcho/d.i.y. punk (in the spirit of it’s reality rather than it’s ideology), I searched for hypocrisy in the organization that is Anarcho-punk.net. I didn’t have to look further than the home page of this “anti-capitalist” website to find the following corporate logos: Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover, Facebook, and Myspace. Most people would rather watch a hero fall than rise. I am anxiously waiting to hear more developments in this story but for now Crass is still my hero.
On the anniversary of G.G. Allin’s death, I feel compelled to write about G.G. Allin. I am a fan of G.G. I think his early records are amazing. Most people find his music to be horrible, offensive, and hateful. I don’t disagree, however, the music of G.G. Allin knew no biases and was without discrimination. Contempt for women and homosexuals still runs rampant in acceptable mainstream rock and hip hop culture. This is way more offensive to me than anything G.G. Allin ever did or said. G.G. expressed hatred for absolutely everyone and everything. He lived with absolute contempt for society and didn’t give a fuck how society felt about him. Plenty of people have said that he was just a performance artist and a freak show and that he wasn’t a punk. I really can’t find my way to this conclusion.
Unfortunately, for all that G.G. did to change the face of rock ‘n’ roll, in my opinion he was also rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest disappointment. He made the world a promise that he would kill himself on stage. He did not fulfill this promise. Instead he died like every other boring loser rock star- he overdosed on heroin. A rock icon who obviously didn’t value his own life had a chance to cement his legend and do something that no artist had done before and that no artist has done to this day, instead he squandered
the opportunity. Despite what every Lower East Side wannabe junkie loser rock failure has convinced themselves, heroin is the enemy of rock ‘n’ roll.
In conclusion, but with love and respect: FUCK YOU G.G.!
Smash The Technology Consumer
In order continue running this website I had to buy a new computer. My trusty laptop has simply run out of space. I got my laptop in 2006, so there is a spread of six years between my old computer and my new one. Six years doesn’t seem that long but in technology years it is about twelve life times. I was expecting that I would have to get used to some minor changes and updates on the new computer. I was not expecting that all of the important files on my laptop would not be compatible with the new system, including all of the files for this website. After spending hours jumping through hoops and seeking the help of my Dad who has been a computer programmer for my entire life, it still took us over a week to mostly solve this problem.
I have spent the last week fuming about the industry that produces these machines. It seems that the goal of the technological world is to improve through substitution rather than addition. In order to “improve” their products, the designer has decided to create an illusion that the original product is out of date and useless. This illusion is created by eliminating and replacing the “useless” version. I wondered if the actual goal is simply to drive [me] the content consumer mad with frustration. I go through a similar ordeal every time I get a new phone. The only reason I ever buy new phones is when the phone I am using stops working. I cannot come up with any other good reason to buy a new phone. But inevitably, every time a get a new phone- from the same provider, built by the same company, I have to relearn everything about using a phone. In my twenty-three blissful, pre-cell phone years of living I never once encountered this problem with a land line. In this perpetual motion rat race age of disposable technological advancements crotchety, bitter old people like myself have been left behind. If there is one expression that the computer engineers of the world need to hear it is this: “If it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it.” Maybe the new expression will go: “Well, it wasn’t broken, so we broke it and put it back together differently but it was all worth it because we added a new doodad which is totally pointless and stupid.”
After plotting some serious head smashing at the next technology producers convention I realized that they are not the problem. Like with everything else, the consumer is to blame. It’s all the iphone carrying product addicts who make it profitable for the industry to constantly churn out new crap.
There’s an old episode of The Simpsons where there’s a bunch of hype about a new Malibu Stacey doll. When Lisa points out that it’s just the same as the last Malibu Stacey but with a new hat, Smither’s responds: “But she’s got a new hat!” and the hoards race to get their hands on the “new” Malibu Stacey. This is the scene I think of every time everyone gets excited about a stupid new piece of technology. These days I can’t even answer a phone call in front of people with out facing extreme mockery of the fact that I still use a flip phone. Worst of all, the rampant overproduction of disposable bullshit technology creates a massive environmental toll. Not only does it spawn massive amounts of toxic non biodegradable waste, it devastates parts of the world where precious Earth elements have to be mined in order to produce these products. Unobtanium, anyone?
One of my first bands, Atrocious Kids said it best: FUCK THE ROBOTS!
Stab The Judge
... And if you happen to be hiding a knife up your ass, stab the jailers too! If you are unaware of the Supreme Courts most recent ruling in favor of a police state you can read the court’s ruling here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-945.pdfRead more about the story here: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-ed-strip-search-supreme-20120404,0,6507648.story
So here it is: After a routine traffic stop a man was arrested on an outstanding bench warrant. The warrant was for an unpaid fine. As it turns out, the fine had in fact been paid. The warrant remained in the police database, likely due to an error or oversight by someone in the department. During his stay in two different holding facilities, the man was twice subjected to full strip searches. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the searches were justified and a necessary safety precaution.
To call these searches a safety precaution implies that the detainee might be smuggling some sort of weapon. Is there any precedent for someone commuting with a weapon hidden in their rectum on the chance that they might be arrested at any given moment? Let’s pretend for a moment that the first search was justified. What chance would there be for the detainee to obtain and smuggle contraband from one jail to another while in police custody? Why are we more concerned about protecting the police than we are about protecting a citizen who is Innocent until proven guilty? (innocent and never proven guilty in this case.)
The Supreme Court is the end of the line, there is no higher authority. And The Supreme Court has made it legal for the police to treat anyone in cuffs like a dangerous criminal. Now, if you get arrested in this country, the police are within their rights to perform a full body cavity search on you. It doesn’t matter if the arrest is justified or not.
Big picture: The Occupy movement has not gone away. With the seasons changing and the weather getting warmer again there is a real chance that the movement may grow stronger, it could even get bigger than ever before. Occupy marches and protests have resulted in hundreds if not thousands of arrests including several mass arrests. Being arrested is never a good time. It almost always results in hours of processing, hours in a holding cell, time in court, and fines. It often includes physical and verbal abuse. But, if you believe in the cause, being arrested was a price many of us have been willing to pay. Apparently, until now the threat of arrest was simply not terrifying enough. The next time I am wearing handcuffs or a zip tie, I will be forced to wonder whether or not I will be legally stripped and humiliated.
If you ask me, this ruling is a fear tactic. The powers that be have been watching an increasingly disenfranchised public starting to fight back and the don’t like it one bit. They want to beat us into submission. Legally they can’t use batons in a holding cell (at least not if your rich and white) but they can use degradation and humiliation. They are making it more apparent than ever that we are to FEAR the police. They’ve given up on the idea that we will ever respect them.
All law men are enemy. FUCK THE POLICE! STAB THE JUDGE!
Who Does This Word Belong To?
From it’s first use in reference to human beings, the word punk has been defined as a male who plays an involuntary submissive role in a male on male sexual relationship. This definition has not really gone away. However, some time in the 70s the media used the word [punk] to describe a subculture and genre of music. So take pride punks! You’re either a sex slave or a media buzz word. But seriously, this word means so much more to so many of us. So much in fact, that many of us exhaust ourselves defining and redefining it. We also like to play the role of bouncer at the velvet rope- determining who else may or may not claim the punk title for themselves.
To my generation and the generations that follow- remember that the word and all of it’s meaning predate all of us. We can claim it but unfortunately, we do not own it. I hear and see a lot of conversations about who/what is or isn’t punk. Most of the debates I witness seem to dissect social/political views and general attitude rather than sincerity. Some crowds tend to admonish anyone with a less radical or left leaning attitude, some question the punkness of those without a predilection towards chaos and violence, some would strip the title from any bands or labels that move on from the d.i.y. or underground ethos, some deny those who don’t look the part, etc...
Again, we do not own the word. Therefore, all of the aforementioned criticisms are invalid. This [culture] isn’t about adhering to any one set of ideals, it’s about challenging mainstream society.
Whether the radical p.c. crowd likes it or not: offensive and violent apolitical punks are a threat and a challenge to the mainstream. Artists like The Meatmen and G.G. Allin might not appease the ideals of the would be anarchist revolutionaries who want to peacefully overthrow the government. But they sure scared the shit out of the Christian right and the church holds more power in this country than most.
Whether the d.i.y. crowd likes it or not: most of the pioneers of punk they came up on were on major label subsidiaries, performed on top of the pops (UK’s equivalent of TRL), and most of them book tours with contracts and percentages going out to labels, managers, booking agents, and promoters. Unless your catalog starts at Crass and ends at Crass bootlegs, I’m sorry to say you’re record collection is probably tainted.
Whether the drunken degenerate drug addict scum fuck crowd likes it or not: being straight-edge or vegan, although completely inoffensive and harmless, is still one of the most counter cultural and confrontational things a person can do in this world.
Whether the violent misogynist maniac tough guy crowd likes or not, standing up against things like sexism, racism, and homophobia (sadly in 2012) is still taking a stand against the mainstream. A lot of us lose sight of this because we have immersed ourselves in punk culture and are therefore spoiled and sheltered from the realities of mainstream attitudes.
So whether we like it or not all of these varying ideals and attitudes can all be classified as punk. Come to terms with the fact that to us, the word punk means everything. As a way to describe or define a culture, the word punk means nothing. While my judgement of “punk” or “not punk” has seldom been based on political ideologies, there are areas that some might call exceptions. I call them incidental. As much as I talk about the importance of sincerity, it can be overruled. Punk cannot be a completely open door free for all. At some level it has to be counterculture and it has to be anti-authority. So here it is. Cops and Christians are not punk and they never will be.
I won’t deny anyone the right to throw around their “punk”s and “not punk”s. I’m thirty and I still throw that stupid bullshit around all of the time. To me, what makes the “poser” is insincerity. I reject anyone who dresses or acts a certain way based on their potential for personal gain rather than their actual views or ideals. This personal gain can come in the form of fitting in/being cool, getting laid, selling records, etc... There are plenty of opportunists out there who would write lyrics that they don’t believe or live up to in order to push their band to the next level. There are plenty of insidious p.c. fucks who use radical politics to gain trust and facilitate date rape. Their are straight edge kids who lurk around shows and bars awaiting their opportunity to violently or sexually prey on drunks. Their are vegans who rather wear slogans and get in people’s faces than actually promote their cause in an unsensational and effective way.
Ideologies don’t make the punk. It’s the motivation of those ideologies. Punk is ours to claim. It is not ours to own.
... That being said, Daniel Dart is not a punk and I’m glad he’s going to prison.
A Little Cartoon Violence to Incite Some Glass Smashery
I’ve been walking around this city looking at a lot of intact McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Bank of America windows. There’s a loose brick to be found in almost every sidewalk. Do I have to do everything around here?
Punx is Hipsters
The word “hipster” means exactly nothing. Tired as I might be of explaining this, I am more tired of hearing the word. Here is the evolution of safe hate speech as I see it. Throughout the nineties, when a person saw someone else who looked or dressed differently, they would call that person a “faggot”. In the early 2000’s, the word became “Emo”. And for the past ten years we have the most loosely defined derogatory term of them all: “hipster”.
There are two school’s of hipster haters. The normaloid and the self loathing hipster. The normaloid has no understanding of and is therefore threatened by anything outside of the mainstream, while the self loathing hipster is made up of all of the subcultures of the world.
The normaloid hater of hipsters is evidence of how meaningless the word has become. For a reference to the underground to reach the lips of the mainstream it must first be diluted through a long journey of misinterpretation. Normaloids hate hipsters in much the same way they hate anything that they don’t understand. There is an episode of The Office in which Dwight refers to Jim as a “hipster jock.” To me, this was the funniest moment of the entire series. A perfect depiction of how over- and misused the word hipster has become.
The self loathing hipster is any member of a subculture or underground scene, who claims to hate hipsters. This breed plays ignorant to the fact that hipsterdom defines all underground culture. This is why people get away with using the word. If need be, it can always be followed up by a re-qualification- “Oh, I don’t hate you. I just hate those kind of hipsters...” Whatever happened to the days of being direct? What happened to the days of stepping up and making real enemies? People used to say things like, “I hate skinheads.” “I hate mods.” “I hate greasers.” “I hate goths.” “I hate crusties.” This kind of speech is now less common because non committal cowards have been rescued by the word hipster.
At a certain point, a thinking person realizes that there is social consequence to making blanket statements about a specific group of people. Eventually they will realize that their hate-claim might implicate people that they know or like. It becomes uncomfortable to claim hatred for a group of people when you realize that you will likely find yourself in the company of people who fit that description. In more drastic scenarios, one might actually have to raise their fists. But because the word hipster is so loosely defined, it affords people the luxury of claiming hate without the risk of confrontation.
Unfortunately, I defy most of my friends by saying so, but come on, get over this stupid meaningless word. Are we really going to stay trapped in this mindset of judging strangers by their appearances? Why are punks of all people, wasting their breath bashing hipsters? Whatever happened to hating cops and politicians?
If you research the word hipster the most common descriptions you will find are, tight pants and a tendency towards the underground and obscure. After four years of high school and many years beyond, I can tell you that I could go the rest of my life without ever again hearing the phrase: “Nice pants, faggot!” Personally, I can do without the word “faggot”, it’s not in my vocabulary. But at least there was the slightest bit of confrontation and conviction in it. It was a very direct assault of ignorance. The word hipster is totally safe. Everyone and no one is a hipster. If you use the word, you will rarely be met with any resistance. Why? Because everyone uses the word and all of the people who use it have convinced themselves that the word doesn’t apply to themselves or their friends. Sorry, it does.
I have been hatefully called a hipster before. Whether you know it or not, so have all of you. I was called a hipster while walking into a bar. Why? Because I don’t look like a total normaloid but my appearance cannot be easily associated with any specific subculture or tribal division. After I was called a hipster, I followed the name caller out of the bar and confronted him. I didn’t name call back. I didn’t throw any punches. I simply posed the question: “What is a hipster?”. I repeated the question over and over again as my accuser fumbled around unable to produce a definition.
Hipster is expired. I’m not saying we have to go back to the days of “faggot” but hey, let’s move on. Actually, I have a better idea. If we cannot resist the urge to judge and name call strangers, let’s judge them on behavior that actually impacts the world around us. Hows about hating thieves, liars, bullies, sociopaths, racists, sexists, rapists, and murderers. Or... just carry on basing your hatred for strangers on important things, like the frames of their glasses.
For more of my rantings about the word hipster, check out this letter I wrote in response to an article in The Phoenix a while back:http://thephoenix.com/boston/life/121181-look-at-this-fucking-hipster-wedding/