Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What Does "Punk" Mean?

The following is a little snippet from an article that's being developed about the cultural shifts of punk culture and the margins. This bit addresses the meaning of the term "punk" and what it's come to connote in modernity.

Punk culture is not occupying the margin anymore. The center has now 'discovered' the margin much like Columbus discovered the Americas. It's acquired all the real estate it can manage. It now resides there. Once a marker of the Other, punk is now a symbol of what it means to be cool. It's in and most show their interest in it by appropriating it. For punk has come to epitomize our Zeitgeist. Only this is not the punk of the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Ramones. This is a heteronormativity-nuanced punk; it's loved and supported by the majority.

If punk used to refer to marginal and marginalized groups and subcultures that stood for the opposite of normativity, it now stands as yet another synonym of what it means to be au currant, socially relevant, something you want to follow on Twitter and friend on Facebook.

Punk hasn't arrived anywhere. It's been co-opted. The center has co-opted it as only it knows how. Punk has been colonized by SUV-driving adults who will soon have to swap their big American-made and bankruptcy-swallowed GM for a Japanese-made Prius.





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3 comments:

Nicki said...

First, I cracked up. Then, I reflected. And after I cracked up again.
I'd love to read the draft of the article if I could.
My favorite bit:
"Punk is something you want to follow on Twitter and friend on Facebook."
Which primary texts are explored in this piece, by the way?

Tina said...

'Punk has been colonized by SUV-driving adults who will soon have to swap their big American-made and bankruptcy-swallowed GM for a Japanese-made Prius.'

It's rather amazing how quickly the 'margin' is adopted if it's got cachet or at least the promise of cachet. And 'punk' has cachet.

Anonymous said...

But since the mainstream has the staying and buying power that it does, it makes sense that it would co-opt the next 'it' thing. And punk's been in, at least the appearance of punk, since the beginning of the millen.