12 April 2013

Nonconformity: The more you try...

...the more you fail.

On with the story of the Most Punk Rock Dude I Ever Knew.

Take a trip back in time to the 1980's, when the punk subculture was growing across the land like a noxious weed, offending the sensibilities of pretty much everybody.  Punk, like Metal, like the Hippie movement before it and Rock & Roll before that and Jazz before that, was about pushing the boundaries.  It was free-form:  do what you want, look how you like, just do something different.

And, like all the other movements, it got co-opted, sanitized and turned into a popularity contest.

The spirit of individualism was shoved aside in favor of the herd mentality.  If you dared to like music other than 3-chord hardcore, if you didn't dress in the appropriate style, if you didn't subscribe to a strange and contradictory mix of anarchism and communism in your political views, if you didn't hate capitalism and America, if you didn't bow down at the altar of Political Correctness and constantly bemoan one "-ism" after another, then you were a "poser," not a Real Punk.

I call bullshit, just like I did then.  A real punk does what s/he wants, and doesn't give one rat's ass who thinks they're punk or not.  Which brings me to my friend Ray.

A general description of punk rockers would illustrate how truly indistinguishable most of them were.  Weird hair, jacket with anti-government/pro-communism sayings and symbols, T-shirt, torn jeans and black footwear.  So one guy would have blue spikes and one a green mohawk.  One guy would have SMASH THE STATE on his jacket, another would have the circle-A.  One had high-tops, one had combat boots.  One wore a Rancid shirt, another favored the Exploited.  Without specific details, you couldn't tell them apart. 

But you couldn't miss Ray.

Ray had normal hair, carried a briefcase and wore slacks and a pinstripe shirt with the sleeves ripped off.  He was all about business and capitalism.  Yep--a capitalist punk.  And that made him more punk than anyone else in the scene.  Ray was truly doing his own thing, and didn't care who thought it was cool.  Compare that to the mindless lockstep mentality found in any liberal enclave, anywhere in America.

I took a lesson from him, and learned to think for myself, do what I wanted, and form my own opinions regardless of who liked it.  So I've become a redneck in an import truck, a first-generation American who wants secure borders, a conservative who favors drug legalization, and a beer-swilling, tattooed biker and truck driver who loves his cats and collects stuffed penguins.  No, I don't fit a stereotype, nor do I care to...and if you're worried about whether a "real" lib/con/whatever would do this or that before you do it?  You're trying too hard. 

Think for yourself, pursue the truth, and do whatever the hell you want that doesn't violate the rights of another.  It's called liberty.  Take advantage of the little we have left.

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