This weekend I watched Punk: Attitude on IFC.
When I was a teen in the 1980s, I listened to a lot of American punk: Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks, and Black Flag most specifically. They spoke to my disenfranchised, lower-middle class existence. There were times when I tried to get into the British punk scene and listened to the Sex Pistols, Adam and the Ants, Buzzcocks, etc. but it was the American punk I was drawn to more.
It was interesting to watch the program because a lot of what was being said was exactly how I felt at the time.
Interesting things to come out of the program were how some of the old punkers talked about current day phenomenons. I can’t remember who said these two things that stuck in my head but I found them profound. One guy said that today we have a manufactured anger going on. He said anger is being induced at every turn.
I started thinking about this. It’s true. Our leaders incite anger, fear, and hate. They encourage us to be a part of the bigger, better gang or face being ostracized for being different. We are being fed anger over the 9/11 events, the Mexican-American border, drugs, gay marriage and the fact that many nations do not support our militaristic movements. All of this manufactured anger takes away from issues that we should be really angry about: lack of funding for education, lack of universal health care, the increasing divide between the rich and poor, the fact that many people within our own country are going hungry and homeless, that people are STILL not receiving federal assistance in the Katrina-torn south, that bombings are going on in Thailand and Spain, that people are being systematically killed in nations all over the world by their own leaders, that we are destroying our environment, that our government is increasingly taking away our rights.
We are being told what to be angry about to take the focus off of things that may affect us more immediately.
Another person said that the internets are the punk of this generation. This is the area where people can rant and rave, speak out against injustices, feel free shouting out about their causes, and get people involved.
I think, though, that there are forces against these freedoms, just as there were factions against punk. Freedom is scary to those who want to control. Take China, for instance, where the government is very strict about what can and cannot be seen on the internets.
When I first starting my online escapades in the mid-to-late 80s, I felt like a rebel. Hardly anyone else was doing it then. Even in the early 90s, when the cool browsers started coming out and I was one of the few using the new Netscape Gold 1.0, I felt like someone who was on the cutting/sub edge of something.
Now? I don’t think I do. I feel like just one of millions and millions who are, once again, lost in the shuffle of bigger names, people with bigger voices, and not having a voice that is getting heard.
But maybe that is exactly what she meant when she said that. Punk didn’t have huge followings (in comparison to pop/rock/etc.) but the people who did were loyal. Just as I am loyal to select blogs (none of which are “big” names), I have loyal readers who have stuck by for quite a while. Is the importance how many we reach or that we are being true to ourselves and sharing our message?
I’m willing to bet, in the long run, it will be the latter.