truth, justice and punk fucking rock

by lestro

Punk rock is the true American art form.

In its purest forms, punk rock is simply a rage of personal freedom and anti-authority that is at the very heart of the American idea. That simple reflex – “fuck you, I don’t have to do what you say” – is what not only founded the nation, but continues to permeate every aspect of American life.

That challenge, that question, that pushback against being told what to do and how to live, it IS the American experience.

Every culture that comes into the melting pot comes here for the same reason: the simple freedom to question.

And no matter what, through even the tightest of home cultures, America – the idea of America – persists and infects.

There are other aspects of Hiba’s life lately she thinks they might not approve of either, like the Muslim punk music she has been listening to with lyrics such as “suicide bomb the GAP,” or “Rumi was a homo.” Or the novel she bought online, about rebellious Muslim teenagers in New York. It opens with: “Muhammad was a punk rocker, he tore everything down. Muhammad was a punk rocker and he rocked that town.”

This much Hiba knows: She is a Muslim teenager living in America.

But what does that mean?

It is a question that pesters her, like the other questions she is afraid to ask her parents: Can she still be a good Muslim even though she does not dress in hijab or pray five times a day? If Islam is right, does that make other religions wrong? Is going to prom haram, or sinful? Is punk?

Hiba loves Allah but wrestles with how to express her faith. She wonders whether it is OK to question customs. Behind her parents’ backs, she tests Islamic traditions, trying to decipher culture versus religion, refusing to blindly believe that they are one.

“Isn’t that what Prophet Muhammad did?” asks Hiba, raising her thick black eyebrows and straightening her wiry frame, which takes on the shape of a question mark when she stands hunched in insecurity. “Question the times? Question what other people were doing?”

Yes: Challenge, question. It is the American Way.

At its base level, distilled to it’s essence, the core of America is visible in the punk rock ethos. It is individual freedom, personal expression, support of your local scene, be yourself and question power.

Always question power.

The DIY ethic that thrives at VFW halls and basements all around the world ties directly to the colonial leaders that figured the big, faceless authority trying to control them didn’t know shit about what was happening in their real lives.

Fuck you. I don’t have to do what you say.

Punk rock will save the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that can.

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2 Responses to truth, justice and punk fucking rock

  1. KingRat says:

    The Brits had the best punk bands.

    They had the attitude in buckets and the energy in MegaWatts – good name for a band!

    The U.S. bands were pussies compared to the British ones.

    The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, GenerationX, The Jam, Siouxie and the Banshees, to name a few.

    The Stranglers also were more punks than The Ramones, but they were in a league of their own.

  2. lestro says:

    “best” is a matter of taste, but it’s a fact that none of those bands exist without the influence of the ramones and their first british tour (exception is the stranglers, of course)…

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