Sunday, May 10, 2009

Punking Out: Why Punk Alienates Me

So, a couple of years back, I was going out to see local bands quite a bit. This is not the odd bit. I love local bands. I think it's very important to support local talent.

No, the weird thing is that I was going out to see punk shows.

I don't really understand the punk culture. Of course, I don't know too much about it, and I had to get a friend to explain it to me, but even explained to me, I still didn't understand it. There was a lot of energy going on at those shows - I liked that. Off-stage, the punk band members tended to be decent people, although I didn't really know how to strike up conversation with them. (Somehow, I managed to strike up conversation with the lead of the Crimson Tides and kept going back to see them, even though I didn't even like their music, just their stage presence. And the band members were really nice too.)

I didn't understand the moshing. I didn't understand the music. I didn't understand the lyrics. At best, it was unproductive. At worst, hate-filled.

"... full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

What little I could gather was that it was anti-Establishment, a way of venting frustration.

Which didn't really make sense to me either. There are better ways of venting frustration than moshing. (Which was very polite, by the way. You have a bunch of insane people knocking each other about on the floor but if someone fell down to the ground or something, everyone around stopped until it's clear nothing's wrong, and then it starts over again.)

The more I looked into what the punk movement produced, the less I understood, particularly when it came to music.

The cyberpunk genre, however, I sort of understood, but still, not really. It was literary, but it was... kind of depressing.

Sometimes it makes me wonder what kind of mindset it takes to really see the punk movement as something which really has value in the long-term. The movie SLC Punk seemed to indicate that it's really just a thing for youth, that it runs its course before its members return to participate in the Establishment or self-destruct.

Maybe I just don't get it. Maybe I got it wrong.

Whichever it was, I didn't get it.

Until I encountered steampunk.

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