COLUMN: Punk culture has died

Ian Howard | Staff Writer

With so many cultural role models to choose from, our internalized rules are subject to change. The great counterculture icons of the 1960s replace today’s traditional authorities by idealizing unrestricted sex, recreational drug use and a carefree attitude. Artists like Wiz Khalifa, MGMT and Kid Cudi gain popularity in a new suburban stoner demographic. Although the vibrant hippie culture has been inherited, the once-strong punk craze has yet to enjoy a revival. The new hippies have taken a cafeteria style selection of values from the past. They dish up free love and routine drug use, while ignoring the main course, political activism with disregard to the government. The result is hedonism—doing what feels good whenever it feels right. But the punk movement, man: it was actually about being anti-establishment.

The cultural mantra that anyone, (and I mean anyone) can play guitar is dead. Our generation was poisoned by flukes like Green Day, who candy-coated the punk aesthetic to be easily digestible by viewers of the Disney Channel. The few remaining real punk bands don’t enjoy mainstream coverage hiding under indie rock or hardcore labels, which leaves nonconformists to find refuge in the simplicity of recreational drug use or the confusing tenets of hipster culture (or both).

The revisionist history of American counterculture will tell only of the great strides made by icons, leaving the gnarling punk frontmen virtually forgotten.