I never got this on the old board.
There were people who listened to lots of punk music, went to punk shows, and had lots of punk political views and talked about punk all the time. But they’d deny they were punks, or, even say that the whole idea of ‘real punk’ was somehow stupid and say there were no actual punks posting on the board.
I think there were two definitions of punk involved:
1 – some kind of ultimate working class young super-tramp anarchist fully DIY crazy character who lives totally outside the system (yet is kinda famous somehow)
2 – a normal person within society, but who likes punk stuff and goes to shows, has fun, has generally progressive political views, participates in the culture, etc.
Even though people denied that they even believed in ideal 1, they still weren’t prepared to say they were punks, because somehow they thought they might look like poseurs. Better to say “I never was one.”
But honestly, if you listen to punk music and you think punk / DIY / alternative culture is generally interesting and it empowers you to try and live your life the way you want it, and try to fight through the bullshit of mainstream culture, then: you are a punk.
I’ve been a punk, on and off, since I was thirteen.
Maybe everyone would like to be a little more like ideal #1 sometimes, but that doesn’t mean we have to totally dis-identify with something really important to us, because we don’t get close to the ideal.
I think mainstream culture has probably facilitated this development of real punk as an unattainable ideal but I am not sure how it has done it.
This post was partly prompted by the fact that I met some people in Malaysia recently who were happy to say they were punks, and they were pretty middle class and had normal jobs, and were very much constrained by that society in what they could do. One guy hadn’t even been allowed to move out of home til he was thirty, and was now in his late forties, and he was happy to identify as a punk and to spread the word about punk bands and punk culture to other Malaysians.
And, he was awesome, a positive person, and not jaded and embarrassed by the fact that he obviously was not living up to some ideal. Malaysian society is really oppressive and he said it took him years to fight off the expectations of others. Punk was empowering for him, even in his thirties and forties.
Seems like for a lot of people in the west in their twenties, it has actually become dis-empowering, almost embarrassing.