Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Call to Counter-Counter-Culture

It's true. Counter-counter culture is a term. And it's the only real counter-culture that exists.

I propose that counter-culture itself (i.e., hip hop culture and punk culture for the purposes of this particular rant) is simply another form of conformity that not only is self-serving and narcissistic, but also even damaging to society at large (whether you like society as it is at this moment or not is irrelevent). Take hip hop culture for example: I feel that this, combined with white-dominance-related adversities, has held back the black community. You have the message that it's okay to sling rock or pimp out women because if you could just throw some rhymes together, you could be the next Biggie Smalls (minus the premature death) or 50 Cent. It's essentially the same as a white kid thinking that he doesn't have to apply himself because look at Johnny Depp: he never went to college and he made $100 million in 2010 ALONE, but since there is racial adversity at play with hip hop culture (quite possibly or probably perpetuated by white record label moguls...though that conspiracy holds little water these days with Jay-Z heading up Def Jam), and since it is tied so closely to many parts of the black community, it isn't seen as part of the problem that needs fixing. After all, nobody likes hearing that societal problems are systemic. But back to counter-culture: hip hop, at its inception was theembodiment of counter-culture. It lashed out against "the man" and showed true belief in black nationalism and unity. However, it had the problem that Malcolm X had before he traveled to Mecca: it was reactionary, violent-minded, and arguably retarded racial progress and widened the originally white-imposed divide between races. That being said, old school hip hop is the shit.

And then we have punk music. On a personal note, punk music has remained in my soul (to use a cliched term, sadly) since I was in high school. Anger at the system. Glorification of anarchy. No rules, regulations, boundaries. Just absolute freedom. But punk culture, something I have dabbled in off and on since I was about 17, is even more culturally stunted than hip hop culture (though the ramifications aren't as strong, since race-relations are less-to-not relevent all). However, the attitude of punk culture applied to life in modern society, being anti-corporation, anti-government, anti-democracy, anti-emo, anti-popularity, anti-dog, anti-cat, whatever, is pointless and all done for the sake of, in essence, being able to claim you have not "sold out", whether it be literally to a record label or figuartively to the system (that of course you have conveniently forgotten has nurtured you and granted you the ability to say these things and act in this manner). However, that being said, punk music is amazing, however simplistic its power-chords are.

To reiterate: these two notions of rebellion are the embodiments of what I find so pointless about the mere notion of counter-culture. They have become cultures in and of themselves and now there is a need to conform to these cultures to those who reside within. The repurcussions can range from annoying to dire, and hold back artistic progress or even slow down racial unity to a halt. Rebel against rebellion goddamn it and sell out to a record label if you want to! Imbue yourself in the glory of Dr. Dre, but for Christ's sake, go to college and stop being a pathetic defeatist! In other words, to truly rebel against the system, rejection of these counter-cultures is not only preferable, but its necessary. It promotes individuality and unique thinking and allows us to move forward as a civilized society.

Now with all this being said, I'm off to my next Counter-Counter Culture Meeting at some underground punk club where some local hip-hop artist no one has ever heard of is playing.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lost Song

He walked with them through the packed, dank, and cold rooms, music blasting at them from all directions and he felt at home again. He had missed things as they were, at least every so often. He was happy with this at least brief moment of capitulation to nostalgic joy. But when he spoke to them they said nothing. They looked on and nodded and seemed to understand but they didn't hear him. It was almost like they didn't know who he was or even why he was speaking. And with a slightly wistful sadness he realized they didn't know each other anymore. He wasn't sure if it was he who was gone or if it was them. So he left.