Punk is one of the most written and talked about music and political movements of the twentieth century. What perhaps makes punk special is the way a generation incorporated the attitudes and practices of the music into an entire subculture. In her book Punks: A Guide to an American Subculture, author Sharon M .Hannon argues that "there is no universally accepted definition for punk ."To some, punk mean rebellions against conformity or against parents, school, work, and society at large"(2).Punk means different things to different people depending on whom you ask. One thing that everyone can agree on is that the punk subculture was not just about the music, it was a way of self-expression and undoubtedly a way of life. Punks used their bodies as a way of self-expression. They shaved and styled their hair in unnatural ways. Clothing was often ripped and many used patches of their favorite bands to adorn it. Most were also tattooed and had various facial piercings. Perhaps one of the most significant things in the punk subculture was punk rock, which mostly consisted of loud instruments, hard vocals, and political lyrics.
As a teenager growing up in 1970s Washington D.C. one might rise out of bed in the morning, squeeze into their bell bottoms and skin-tight t-shirts, not expecting that that would be the day they ran into a group of kids dawned in black with clothes pins in their shirts, who called themselves punks and were looking to make a change in DC music history. In a time where the country was divided by political beliefs, a raging war, and racial tensions, smack dab in the center of Washington D.C. came the punk scene. It was said that the hippie scene majorly influenced the punk scene, some would say that the hippies were “the real punks”(Punk: Attitude, 3:12). The punk scene consisted of kids who opposed hippies, so in retrospect the hippies are what
As is the Case with its metaphorical brother, heavy metal, punk is a genre of music that is thoroughly entwined with philosophies. From Johnnies Ramone to Rotten, Spanning across oceans and throughout various different nations, many disgruntled youth and those tired with an unfair system have flocked to the then burgeoning culture, allowing for it to grow exponentially into something far greater. Thus, due to it establishing a firmly anti-establishment view, creating an entirely new culture for an entire generation, and changing the face of music, punk has become one of, if not the most, prolific genres of music of all time.
Most of the original rebellion was directed towards the British class structure. They wanted to express their disapproval of the structure that governed their country. In The Jam’s “Eton Rifles”, the band sarcastically attacks the upper class, calling them arrogant and preaching to them that rugby is the only thing making them strong (Punk 68). The Sex Pistols’ album “God Save The Queen” portrays the Queen of England with a safety pin through her nose on their cover. The reaction to this outburst of shocking rebellion from the mainstream society was a strong, displeased one. American writer Greil Marcus defined punk as, “…refusing the future society has planned for you.” Thousands of social misfits attempted just that. Through the many causes for this rebellious political expression: communism, anarchy, feminism, etc., the punks of England had a focus and a reason. It was this that made the “punk” a valid, yet undesired member of society, and the British public got to see this sociological change first hand (Chamberlain par.8). Although this movement was short lived, its impact was a phenomenon, and its effects were long- lasting, which distinguished this group from previous generations.
The attitude common in the subculture is the resistance to selling out, which means abandoning one’s values and changing in musical style toward pop to embrace anything that’s mainstream capitalist culture in the exchange for money, status, or power. Punk rocks’ common thinking wasn’t only anti-authoritarism, and not selling out but also non-conformity, direct action, and a DIY ethic. The DIY attitude was pointed towards stepping forward and speaking without any restraint. To fight with warrior qualities to achieve what you were striving for. The kind of thinking and motives for punk rock subjects was to not settle for what society made acceptable and standard but to think and work outside of the box that was holding them in.
The early 1960’s to mid 1970s was the start of the counterculture of youth culture. During the 1960’s, there were revolutions including a sexual revolution, a cultural/ racial revolution, a rights revolution, and student revolutions. In addition to revolutions, there also a focus on the transition to adulthood, popularity, consumption, anxiety, and the media. However the movie, American Graffiti, which was set in the 1962 (1960s)–before the peak of 1960’s counterculture–and released in 1973 (1970’s) displays an environment more focused on the anxiety of transitioning to adulthood, dating, and consumerism--music and cars. American Graffiti compared to the set and release dates share similarities with the counterculture, but are depicted in
In regards to Cohen’s theoretical assumptions regarding societal panic the aforementioned genre of anrcho-punk can be used as an example of how a misunderstood sub-culture within a popular music genre can be demonised and seen as the cause of the moral and socio-political problems within society. During the emergence of the punk movement those involved in the culture were perceived by the media as being dangerous and violent thugs who threatened the established moral system within civilized societies through lyrical content that directly challenged the status quo. This is evident for example in the lyrics of
In order to understand why punk came about the preceding periods will be considered. The baby boom after the war had resulted in a large amount of people being born at the same time. A knock on effect later down the line resulted in mass unemployment for young people. The punk era showed angry,
Music, in the past, has often spelled bad news to society at large. It can challenge norms and invoke a sense of hype in places that modern culture may be uncomfortable with, such as sex, sexuality, and drugs. Personally, when I think of punk music, I see a genre that stands to be individualistic, aggressive, and rebellious. Phrases such as ‘anti-establishment’ also come up. This notion comes from many aspects of punk subculture, including dress, music, performance, and my interpretations.
Anti-conformity has always been a prominent thread running through punk. The unofficial creed has always been that to truly define yourself you can’t be like your parents or your friends. You have to be yourself and to cut yourself out of stone. Each punk band you ever encounter will be slightly different from all the others. Some bands are lyrically different for their song lyrics, some for their guitar chords, and some for the theme of their music. But whatever the music is about, you can always be assured that it will be high energy, raw, and honest. The
On the other hand, to Graffin, it was a group that he longed to be apart of and to relate to his sense of self. He has difficulties contributing to his different social groups in which Allport mentions this idea, proclaiming that, “Adolescents may view their neighborhood gang as a far more important in-group than their school” (5). This links the two theories together in a sense that an identity role cannot be without an in-group for an individual to honor that role. The hardships Graffin faces at a young age influences his in-group decisions. The punk group bonds over hardships, sex, drugs, and voices their opinions. The group colors their hair, wears tight jeans, and the color black is often represented. Consistently, they are often found disagreeing or questioning the presence of authority figures because of their strong passion as nonconformists. Nevertheless, as Graffin grows up he changes overtime by keeping the same thoughts on the punk subculture, but he moves on with his life in pursuing education. The poverty and divorced parents are Graffin’s ascribed status, but his achieved status is not only becoming punk. It is also earning his master’s degree and continuing his education. Continuing to care for his subculture lifestyle, he wants to better the punk community to be more of a gateway for people to express emotion. Furthermore, he wants to teach
The information that has been provided about the subcultures of Hip Hop and Punk shows there are many differences between Hip Hop and Punk and several contributing factors that shape these subcultures but ultimately each one’s existence serves a similar purpose: a form of escape and expression. Prior to research, I was an outsider looking in on the two subcultures. Assumed no similarity at all, but I learned, when you take a deeper look and explore the pages they are different books carrying the same message.
To understand the point that John Roderick is trying to convey in “Punk Rock is Bullshit: How a toxic social movement poisoned our culture,” we don't actually have to read the full paper. This is because he emphasizes his point and opinion about punk rock right in the title. Rather than trying to understand his point, I want to clarify that his opinion on this matter is not the only opinion, as indicated by the paper following it, “A few thoughts on That “Punk Rock Is Bullshit” Essay,” by Ally Schweitzer. I can understand where Roderick is coming from, since all he is doing is putting his perspective forward and we all have the right to do so. But, I would say that I neither agree nor disagree with him, but still that he is being too harsh on the subject at hand. Since I have never shown any interest in punk rock, I’m more of a hip
Punk has always been about more than just the sound of the music people were making during that era, although the sound was a huge factor and played an interwoven part of the entire ordeal. Punk split itself from the traditional rock of its time, sonically, by deciding that clean guitar riffs, processed vocals, and any sound product that didn’t come straight out of the instrument/artist wasn’t “real enough”. Hanner stated in “Unpopular Culture…”: “Musically, punk and hardcore are characterized by short, strident, up-tempo songs performed with consistent, straightforward instrumentation, meaning a lack of synthesizers, guitar effects, or post-production audio modification.“ As a result Punk became the gritty, noisy, dirty and unique sound that everyone can instantly recognize. Punk was also an ideology. It was something people lived by and something that had a very blatant and in your face message of being anti-government, anti-establishment, and basically anti-authority all together. This exact sentiment is described in the same article by Nathan Hanner in “Unpopular Culture…”:
Punk rock music has been used for decades to express dissatisfaction with society, government, or any idea common in mainstream media. Yet punk rock is not simply a tangent of the mainstream, it is a dynamic and fluid genre with many distinct songs. Don Letts, a mainstay in the London punk scene during the 70’s and 80’s, went as far to say that hip-hop was essentially “black” punk. While punk and hip-hop music are stylistically different, the fundamental tone of the two genres is the same. Even throughout the decades, hip-hop has sang the same issues as punk, including the plight of the lower class, police brutality, and gang violence.