Flex wrote: ↑
18 Jul 2020, 10:55am
I agree with this, I guess I'm not sure why one particular form of transgression (expressing bigotry) is considered an essential element of punk's transgressive ideal while actively rejecting bigotry in favor of a rejection of the state and capitalism isn't. seems to me if we're still embracing the transgressive ways of punk rock.
Did it seem like I was suggesting that bigotry was an essential element of punk? Poorly expressed on my part, if so. More a case of punk rejection of conventional behaviours/attitudes lends itself to that. That is, that "I'm an equal opportunity offender" attitude that generates debasing comments even if there's no purposeful intent beyond being "rebellious."
Again, I think the triumph of a progressive cultural vision is a little overstated - the highest rated news shows are explicitly white power programs on Fox News - and, to use one of your examples, it's interesting how issues like gay marriage are victories for progressives partly because gay liberation pivoted to the right to embrace the conservative institution of marriage vs a more diverse vision of human relationships offered by the radical queer left. I always find it interesting that gay marriage gets framed as a left victory in that context. Sullivan is very explicit that the best way to conform gay subculture to capitalist and conservative "family values" norms is by legalizing gay marriage. Anyways, slight digression.
I think that's a misreading of the achievement. There's nothing about it that says homosexuals *must* get married, in the same way that they were *prohibited* before. Eliminating an unfair restriction of personal choice seems a good thing.
I do get your point it's generally considered impolite to spew racial epithets in polite liberal society (explicitly using some of these words is, in fact, the only metric some people use to consider someone racist) but I guess in a country where you have 30%-40% of the population who share this delight in racist transgression in the service of brutish capitalist power, how much of a transgression is this really?
But don't most(?) of them know, at heart, that it's a transgression? They know that the general culture has moved so that using sexist and racist slurs is less unconscious and more an act of bravado or rebellion against the PC police, etc. It's why so many, when caught, immediately back down and offer fake apologies. They know that they've committed a secular sin in a way that decades earlier wouldn't have caused offense.
Other thought, similar to above, certainly I've always gotten my best rises out of the polite, liberally sensed folks I'm around not by being vulgar but by expressing opposition to the state and capitalism as it's comprised. I dunno if transgression against a set of (increasingly contested) liberal cultural norms is the only, or even optimal, path to raising the ire of the squares.
Sure. But I don't believe I was arguing that that wasn't valuable. I'm not arguing against transgression itself. I'm saying that it's been used in the dumbest ways that encourage laziness and don't actually challenge norms that dehumanize. Being, for example, an equal opportunity offender as a way of supposedly exposing bigotry isn't all that clever or useful. Perhaps it once was when society was more easily shocked, but social relations are much crude, more transactional, so that kind of demonstration doesn't have much value.
I'm not even sure I'd consider aggression and righteous oppositionality inherently fascist, those words describe Antifa (or previously, the ARA) just fine, with lots of ties to the punk scene there. It is interesting that, as I said the Marky, when Skrewdriver went racist they rejected the punk moniker and called themselves RAC - they obviously thought punk wasn't something that accommodated what they were trying to do.
I guess I don't see why punk has to have some fascist element by definition. Maybe aggression is a requisite, but aggression against the fascist elements in America seems fine and good.
Leaving my pacifism aside and ideological rejection of violence as a legitimate political tool, the anti-intellectual component is pretty important there. The idea that violence in and of itself is a virtue. That's the central principle of fascism. If Antifa groups also came out and asserted that violence is cleansing and liberating, and that critical thought was a disease, then I'd see no difference. But Antifa's use of aggression has a greater purpose.
I wouldn't say that the boneheaded elements are unpunk necessarily, but I also don't think it's unpunk to synthesize the anger and aggression at those who run things into a more sophisticated attack on those with the actual political and economic power. I think it's fine to recognize that the anger and oppositionality inherent in punk can be used for bad ends, and that's why it's important to tell, er, Nazi Punks (to) Fuck Off (and surely that's as fine an example of a punk song as their is).
Right. And that's what separates people like MacKaye from the bozos. Realizing that there has to be a moral core and intellectual discipline to it all. Anger and aggression left on its own turns pointlessly destructive.
At this point, I'm not sure how much we're disagreeing here, and if we are it's because I didn't express myself as well as I could have. My point is that the same virtue of punk that encourages a sense of liberation from conventionality and of action can and has led to stupid behaviour when it's not disciplined with a humanist perspective and critical mind. Punk necessarily means the former, but the latter is something that people have to work harder for. That's the poison pill embedded within punk.