It’s Thursday. I’m exhausted. I’ve been going to bars, interviewing for jobs and generally hanging out and acting awesome and the results are way less sleep than I like to get. It’s a good thing my wife’s having a baby in a few weeks. Then I’ll be able to relax and get the sleep that I’ve been missing out on. I’m going nuts, folks.
Speaking of sleep deprivation induced lunacy, I just saw a trailer for a movie starring Gavin McInnes called “A Million in the Morning.” It looks pretty good. Also, I just got a crazy head rush. If I wasn’t already sitting down, I would have sat down. As it stands, I don’t really know what to do. Lie down? That’s ridiculous. Who ever heard of blogging while lying down? That’s the absolutely last rung on the ladder of creative output. Blogging while lying down…jeez. That’s a step beneath tricking out your World Of Warcraft avatar with new cool tights and tunics even.
Okay, whatever. Headrush gone. Now I’m gonna get into the meat of today’s article. You dildos ready?
When I was a youth, I often found myself in debates about whether something was ‘punk rock’ or not. Now, let’s make no mistake here, this is a stupid conversation absolutely 100% of the time. You’re quite literally better off having that dumb conversation about the notion that colors are different to different people, as in: “what if my blue is your red, bro?”
The general notion here is that since we all have necessarily unique world views (from inside our heads, duh) all sorts of shit, specifically colors, could be totally crazy different to everyone’s eyes and the fact that you and your homie agree that your chuck taylors are red and so is period blood only really exemplifies that you two have the same grasp on colors relative to other things, but the true objective meaning of “red” (ready for this?) could be anything bro. Anything at all.
This is the dumbest conversation of all time. Everyone has it. Everyone freaks out over a huge bowl of Cookie Crisp while high some afternoon and wonders if in fact the milk doesn’t look more like blue goop than what we traditionally think of as milk (whiteish), but the fact is, that’s how you see things and you’re never gonna occupy someone else’s mind, so color vision is a case where objective=subjective and that’s all there is to it. Also, you and your turd friends are no more unique and inquisitive when stoned than me and my turd friends were twenty years ago or my dad thirty years before me and back and back and back all the way to the pharaohs.
Now, as I read over this last paragraph, I’m struck by three things: 1) I’m absolutely awesome at blogging 2) that’s up there on the uselessness meter with being awesome at not clinking those Chinese relaxation balls together when you rotate them in your hand (something else I’m awesome at, by the way, ladies) and finally 3) The ‘is this punk rock’ question is even dumber than the endless skullfuck that is the objective color theory. Here’s why:
Punk rock is just a dumb idea that a bunch of people cooked up and ascribed a bunch of different notions to. It’s been woven with ideologies as completely opposed to each other as ‘no future’ and ‘eliminate our carbon footprint, don’t eat animals love your mother’. That RIGHT THERE is enough of a reason to be able to say that defining something as ‘punk rock’ is like defining something as ‘my favorite.’ It’s a completely subjective, arbitrary thing that can and will change as your own tastes and lifestyles change.
What kids are really asking when they ask “is this or that punk rock” is more along the lines of “I define myself as a punk rocker. Is this something I approve of on an either visceral or logical level? Can it fit into my own identity as something that I associate with or not?” And that’s navel gazing at best and a completely idle masturbatory excuse to hand down judgments and call your friends half stepping posers at worst.
Here’s an example from a conversation I had with Matt Stamps, the guitarist from my old band when we were sixteen:
Matt: do you think wiping down your strings after a show is punk rock?
Me: (unintelligible mumbling)
Me: I said ‘no way, broseph!”*
Matt: Well, I think it is. Know why?
Me: Why’s that?
Matt: Because wiping down your strings keeps ‘em bright for longer, and that means you don’t have to change them as much and saving money is punk rock.
Me: (thoughtfully) Hmmmmmm….
Now, I don’t think I need to go into why this conversation is so mind numbingly stupid, do I? Of course not. But I’d just like to posit that ‘saving money’ is something that your parents do and try to impress the importance of onto you, and punk rock, like it or not kiddos, is really just one big response to lame parents constantly being up in kids shit, and therefore saving money is NOT punk rock. However, being poor, or at least not having a job or relying on your parents, some would argue IS punk rock, and therefore, saving money is a lifestyle necessity which makes it totally punk, bro. So there you go. We’re both wrong.
Okay, I feel stupider for even having indulged Matt’s and my sixteen year old selves with any response at all that doesn’t just sound like a giant fart noise.
The funny thing is, there’s very few musical genres that offer a lifestyle to go along with it. Hip hop, Metal and punk. That’s about it. I mean, sure, if you’re into white guy funk or gay pop or whatever, you probably have some mannerisms and fashion ideas that come from your musical genre’s culture, but people don’t say “that shirt is really gay pop” or “dude, Wolf Blitzer is totally white guy funk.” It doesn’t happen. It’s not even REALLY overtly stated with hip hop, though people tend to define hip hop in the reverse of metal and punk. Here’s what I mean:
People say shit like “John McEnroe is totally Metal” or “KFC is NOT punk rock dude!” but with hip hop they tend to define hip hop by what it’s about. “Hip hop IS three in the morning grilled cheese specials at the diner” “Hip hop is all about fresh, clean socks.” I don’t know why that difference exists. Is there any sort of fundamental cultural difference between metal/punk tastemakers and those of hip hop? Huh. None that I can think of.
Anyway, moving on.
This is becoming long, and I have to go get on my bicycle. It’s beautiful out there and I’m rambling on the internet about what’s punk and what’s metal and what hip hop is. I may as well be lying down.
Okay dildos. I can’t figure everything out for you today. Your turn.
*I probably didn’t really say it this way.