You Might Be Punk (and you didn’t even know it)
Thoughts by Garrett Olson
One of the biggest misconceptions with the word “punk” is its relation to the genre of aggressively fast and loud music, with its stereotypical delinquent followers that refute everything to do with mainstream society. If you ask any handful of music buffs, there is a good chance that their beliefs regarding the origins of this movement will vary—from The Stooges to Elvis to the more visually iconic Sex Pistols. However, long before this association was the birth of the counterculture movement itself.
Punk gained popularity as an escape from the racial tension, social upheaval and outright discontent with the system in the late ‘60s to the mid ‘80s. Although the movement was primarily through music, it was a way for the youth to gather and push a new set of ideals—giving voices to a group within society that had no other way to change their current situation. This idea of counter culture transcends the genre itself, giving way to other artists, like The Talking Heads, who used their platform and following to make music that stood for something. They were not afraid of writing about real issues. The madness that is the Trump administration has made this need for expression more relevant than ever.
How does this make you punk? To me, counterculture is doing what you feel is right, regardless of what everyone else says or thinks. By standing up for the oppressed, voicing your discontent and holding the government accountable, you are keeping the counterculture movement alive. If you have a problem with something, push back. We are the future and we get to dictate what is the new “norm”. Until then, we can use this subculture as a platform. You don’t need a mohawk and a bad attitude to be punk—odds are, you already are.