6/17/2008

chapter VII: destroy all humans?

this is nothing new or particularly innovative, but i figured i'd take my own stab at it.

i've been thinking a lot lately about punk's role as a counter-culture. it seems to me that during that time that i have been involved in punk and activism, both peripherally and directly, i've seen so little accomplished. the irritating part is that in a world this big, i don't think i have the perspective to understand what accomplishment really is. or what would really qualify me to be able to determine that. what i have seen is a growth of the culture on a social level: more young punks dressing and acting the part while smoking their marlboro cigarettes and supporting alcohol companies, stealing non-vegan food and calling it freegan, trashing people who dont subscribe to their culture norms even though punk is generally seen as a defiance of culture, and lately, oddly enough, wearing bright colored wayfarer sunglasses; ironically i guess (but not in the way they meant). its not just the young ones either, i see people i grew up with acting so unabashed towards their lifestyle, but thats all that it is to them: a fucking lifestyle. maybe its not the lack of action, but that attitude that bothers me; punks seem to think they have everything figured out, that they've 'acknowledged that an issue exists, which makes them feel like they've changed'. changed their sunglasses, maybe. punk to me is a medium for change, not only a great community to be involved in (if even only to feel connected), but a means to an end. for me it went (and is still going):


angry youth rebellion ==> political awareness ==> intentional living ==> ???

i've been thinking a lot about what those question marks are; what is the next best step for me, for my generation of punk? is it continued intentional living, but with all of us slowly merging with the new 'eco-friendly' crowd and ultimately watching passively as our world is destroyed in front of us? do i myself risk arrest or my own life to free captured animals, blow up factory farms, actively protest large corporations and sabotage anything that gets in the way of the freedoms of those i love? do i give up, join the proletariat and bury my head in a sea of mindless sheep... and drown like all the rest? or do i get involved in alternative education and encourage others to do the same, in the hopes to accelerate the learning and growth of the next generations of young alternative minds?

i have no idea what is next for me, for now i'm at a point where i'm forced to pay attention to myself (instead of paying attention to exclusively being social) which is a huge step for me towards being helpful to the world. which for sure makes a step i'm willing to take. i've quit or gotten fired from almost every job i've ever had, sometimes because i was too lazy to wake up in the morning, but mostly because working for others makes me feel so incredibly shitty about myself. the only jobs i've had that i was okay with was working for small recording studios/record labels, but those werent exactly helping to change the world either. i've sortof chosen a potential PR 'career path' with the hope of possibly working for an animal rights activism group and working on new ways to spread the message. we will see what happens.

what i do know is that most humans disgust me, and the more intentional i become, the worse they seem. they walk around hopelessly following worthless icons, be it jesus or nike, whats the fucking difference anyway? and i am guilty too, with my boxes of shoes i got before i was vegan but can't seem to throw away even though i don't want to wear them anymore. or my stolen $250 designer jeans... MY 12 PAIRS OF THEM. it doesn't matter that i didn't pay for them, the fact is that i support them. the fact is that i can't seem to let go of my ties to culture, even though i try every day. but i'm working on it (partially by selling everything i own), just like i hope that everyone else i know is. culture is culture, be it bros, hipsters, or punks, most people are just walking around with their own version of a clown suit on, acting like assholes by shitting on everyone who isn't them. this is one thing i'm no longer interested in.

at this point in my life, thinking over the choices that i have made...

+ i think that veganism is a necessary response to factory farming and our culture in general. would i be vegan if animals were still respected and hunted, and not pumped with hormones and tortured? maybe, but i'd probably be less strict. part of me believes its natural to eat animals. but in our culture as it is, i can't ever see eating meat or dairy again. i'm absolutely disgusted by it, by people's lack of thought into what they eat, and even worse they're lack of caring. KNOW YOUR FOOD.

+ straightedge is fucking political. alcohol is just a way to keep the sheep numb and complacent. it also is directly tied in to a sexist rape-friendly culture, where people don't give a shit about anything other than whats in front of them. can i blame them? no. this world is so fucked, and if i was born into believing that i had to get a 9-5 office job and work it until i was 65, i would probably be a fucking drunk too! but i want no part of this culture, and it still disturbs me that its so difficult for people to have 'fun' without the sauce. i would love to know how to help others conquer the insecurity, the anxiety... its fucking terrible, i faced it for years as a teenager and it wasn't until recently that i've been truely able to let go of most of my inhibitions. a lot of which might be age, and since i grew up not drinking, i can conquer it. i'll end this rant again by saying i don't hate people who drink, i don't even hate alcohol, i just hate how it is used by people, by corporations, by government.

i'm proud of myself and most of the people i surround myself with for the way they live their life. i go back and forth between wanting to help others get to this point, and wanting to exterminate most other people. and i don't know if it can be any other way given the strength of frustration that i feel.

i have no more conclusions, so lets start here:

modern punk: a counter-culture, or just another fucking culture?
please comment, please discuss. we can't do this alone.

3 comments:

Jords said...

"They know you're more dangerous sober than you are drunk." - Malcolm X

nerpal said...

Sup dog,

Stop writing so well, dude. It's making me insecure about my literary laziness and forcing me to drink at 12 in the afternoon!

But actually this is really thoughtful, and I love seeing these kinds of posts. People are due to re-evaluate their position in counter-culture around the age where they're moving around and starting get their shit together. I think it's a full on responsibility to reassess the important strides one can make in and out of counter-culture - otherwise it can simply become a lifestyle! Even those whose lifestyle itself is informed by reactionary and highly political movements (edge, veganism, etc), without doing more than joining the team, potential to initiate change slips through the crack(pipe)s.

Punk subculture's spectrum of saying "Fuck y'all, I'm doing it my way" totally ranges from inactive to active, and it's cool to ride the wave of that. I know those who've taken years off only to come back making an amazing entrance. That said, you seem like you're sticking to your guns: working in public relations in an effort to spread information is pretty much right on - there are too many people who are notorious for garnishing attention without engaging kids enough - myself included!

I don't say that to mean do it all or don't do anything - because anything counts. As an example, slapping an upside-down cross on my band's...well, everything, isn't sufficient to me to instigate change. When possible, I remember to accompany that upside cross with conversations about gay rights, women's rights, abstinence-only education, clear-channel, etc, etc. And I'm talking about engaging people outside of punk with these topics, like school systems for starters!

My point is simply that you've got this amazing cultural vehicle to advocate change, anywhere, anytime. Whether you feel like certain pockets are riddled with nihilistic layabouts, or whatever, you totally can stand up and be another great example or another great leader, and steer this smelly ship toward victory.

And ps! If there's ANY sub-culture that has the potential for engendering the responsible use of alcohol by bringing down sexist-rape friendly Frat boy culture, it's us. Although that'd make for the worst organization with the most stupid acronym - Drunks Against Real Frats Using Rape-tactics. DARFUR - that taken?

jen said...

can i just say that i am so glad you are writing publicly again?

i have about ten thousand things to say on this general subject/the specific ones you brought up. i'm glad you're thinking about this because i think that is the first major hurdle that people in general need to get over. so many people don't THINK about these things and don't care, including people involved in our so called counterculture. regardless of agreement or disagreement.

i know that my own recent forays into addressing these subjects while also keeping in mind my own mental and physical health have been both difficult and enlightening. we're all still learning, we all have our own backstory that colors how we feel and what's appropriate. in this sometimes hopeless-seeming world we are all groping around near-blindly in the dark for the answers that hang in some kinda blurry gray area between black and white notions of wrong and right.

wtf am i blathering about. i'm sorry, i just didn't want to read this and not let you know/not try to respond somehow. it's all so huge though, you know? tackling it is daunting. but a little less so when you know others are also trying to. at least for me.

j.t.