Tribal wars are raging
Everyone’s just acting out bad parts
Hey there, big man, take a look at yourself
It’s in the mirror that the real war starts
Rival Tribal Rebel Revel - CRASS
In our Punk community - where traditional prejudices such as racism, homophobia, sexism and xenophobia, and ideals such as elitism, bigotry and masculine dominance are all (I hope) left at the door - I genuinely thought values like the right to freedom of speech, personal expression and individualism were embraced while the oppressive mentality of pack-hatred remained the domain of inbred bully boy jocks and the spineless neo-Nazis of the extreme right.
But the piece of footage below that I first saw on Alterophobia, followed by further investigation on Youtube and various messages boards, made me question just whether Punk today is still viewed as any kind of valid alternative. More to the point, I’m questioning whether those aforementioned values mean anything to those who have brought into the public imagery of Punk yet failed to shed the shackles of peer pressure conservatism.
Don’t you find that shocking? Sickening? That guy was attacked by for no other reason than the fact he is an ‘Emo’. The media appear to think this is some new genre and worse, in some cases, a threatening genre. Those who have been into Punk for a while will know otherwise. Its roots can be traced back to that sole, classic RITES OF SPRING album, through TEXAS IS THE REASON, SUNNY DAY REAL ESTATE and even - apparently - SAMIAM and JAWBREAKER. Today brings a wealth of recognised ‘Emo’ bands (AFI? Pah! I saw the band’s first ever UK show and distinctly snotty HC it was; as were those cracking early releases).
The thing that has really got to me though is the amount of Emo baiting from so-called ‘Punks’. Looking at some of the shamefully warped footage on Youtube, this all too often involves mob attacks and/ or a zealous hatred usually reserved for those of a non-white ancestry and administered by Right Wing extremists. Yeah, I’m sure some of the footage is staged and I’m sure that most reading this are not of the mind set to attack someone purely because of their musical preference and appearance.*
The fact remains though, ‘Punks’ (in commas because it’s debatable whether their actions constitute Punk credentials) have been targeting Emo kids and simultaneously aligning themselves with right wing skinheads and shell-suited jocks. What happened to Punks targeting those who deserve our wrath - racists, politicians, homophobes, sexists, hunters acting in the name of sport, vivisectionists et al?
The situation in Mexico (where that footage and much more like it was filmed) has been blamed on the conservative precepts of the country, but mirror-imaged reports have since come through from Texas - home of such radical bands as BIG BOYS and THE DICKS. There also seems to be some kinda prevailing attitude on message boards that it’s all very amusing - Emo kids are jumping on some kinda trendy bandwagon (how many Punks did that in ‘77 or in the wake of GREEN DAY, RANCID and OFFSPRING?), are suicidal, they get what they deserve, yada yada yada. How naively small minded. If these attacks were directed toward Asians or Jews, would the same cheap comments be in place? The attacks are the same at the very basis - hate crimes.
Emo is not a threatening culture - quite the opposite in fact. The only threat it seemingly poses is to the meat-head macho mentality; indeed a lot of the slander I have seen pointed toward the Emo sub-culture revolves around homophobic terms (fags, queers - surely you don’t need me to go on?).
That kind of denigration is ironic when you think about the clubs the British ‘77 Punks - and the PISTOLS in particular - had to frequent to avoid violence. And that’s not to mention one very famous early Punk club originally being an exclusively gay club or one notable US Punk ‘superstar’ who, during one of his band’s early UK tours, wanted to be interviewed in London’s gay clubs as it mirrored the endeavours of those early UK Punks - not so much outta the closet more out come the wolves...
Now I’ve found comfort in my isolation
Made the best out of a bad situation
Found a few friends who feel the same way
We were outcasts in their world
But we’re building our own today
Left Outside Again - CRIMPSHRINE
Yeah, there has always been ‘tribal’ violence among youth cultures: Teds beating up Punks in ‘76; Skinheads destroying Anarcho shows (and their own come to that!) in the early 80s; High School jocks beating down the ‘strange’ looking kids at school. You see a pattern? It’s the Punks who usually take the shit. There has never been much in the way of recognised, systematic attacks administered by Punks on another genre.
Anyone remember Mike Ness saying these words regarding the early SOCIAL DISTORTION days: "...Back then, society was not ready for this type of music. That’s when Punk Rock was dangerous, right? You couldn’t walk into a mall and get your little pussy pierced and your little Dr. Martin boots and your crazy colour for your hair. You walk down the street with blue hair, you were gonna get into a fight with five angry construction workers, or the local college football team, rednecks, or cops." I sure do remember those words AND those days and I find it not only tragic but an embarrassment to Punk Rock that, besides those conservative institutions Ness mentioned, you can now place an element of ‘Punks’.
Yep, Punk has crossed over into the mainstream so much so that it is now part of accepted society. It is viewed by many as no longer a threat. So-called ‘Punks’ - the once the derided and physically abused sub-culture - are now able to find ‘offence’ in a group of guys who have - get ready for this as it is sooooo shocking - DYED BLACK HAIR THAT FORMS A FRINGE and who DRESS IN BLACK and WEAR MAKE-UP! Fuck me - isn’t that something that could de-stabilize society? Reading that back, it could be TSOL... Or THE MISFITS... Or TURBONEGRO... Shit, they must be Emo bands too, right?
Sorry to shock you but it’s time to wake up
Far as I am concerned I’ve seen enough
I’ve said it now... So go figure it out
Being a poseur punk is not what it’s about
Poseur Punk - MDC
Cheers Dave - you hit the nail on the head. This god-fearing mentality of these ‘Punks’ who see it appropriate to indulge in a Mob Rule strategy to attack something as innocuous as ‘Emos’ really have no idea of what Punk was, is and always will be. They’re no different to the "Swastikas and Klan-robes. Sexist, racist, homophobes. Aryan-Nations and Hammerskins." It’s the duty of Punks - the ones who really live it - to eradicate this kinda mentality outta Punk Rock, even if it means resorting to tactics which parallel those of the poseurs to do so: It’s time to see who’s who!
*If you are of the mind to attack someone because of musical preference or appearance - please - fuck right off. That give you a problem? You know where to find me, dickweed.
Total (C-O-N) Control - Clash copyist in terrorist swoop
Spiritual Arrest; Hallowed Bondage - Religion based prisons, what gives??
That Was The Year That Was - A review of my 2004
Could Be Gone: Believe - CBGBs closing? Do your bit to help
Where Do Ya Draw The Line - Freedom of speech and the laws that suggest what is 'right'