October 27, 2005

Nihilistic Narcissism

"A lot of people in Punk culture confuse a self-centered, nihilistic narcissism with anarchy, but freedom comes with certain responsibilities, and one of them is respecting other people. You can't just go on the air and degrade other people." Stephen Dunifer, quoted in an old East Bay Express article on Free Radio Berkeley.

Jeez, Steve, who'da thunk it?! You invite punks to the (FRB) party and some real punks turn up!

Punk was historically about freedom (and fun, dammit) without responsibility. Wasn't that the point (and wasn't that why so many of us outgrew it all so quickly)? Steve reminds me at times of an aging hippy version of the cliched young upper middle class wannabe dropout who joins up with a bunch of his hero punks and belatedly discovers that Punk isn't all front, and that some punks are very scary indeed, bent on mayhem and pain in truly destructive and offensive ways. It wasn't all lifestyle punquerie and nice fluffy bunny Anarchism (with a capital "A"). And it definitely wasn't (only) the idealistic, retrospectively cleaned-up and Progressive thing found in later revisionist manifestos.

(Part of Punk (and Later)).


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