By the time I was born in 1983, the movement of punk rock was already dead, or more accurately, it was in a lucratively profitable vegetative state. I was even too young to appreciate the
Punk and grunge sold out (in the parlance of those genres). There is no integrity in punk or grunge as an ideology. Sure, they are still genres of music, but they claim to be much more. Punk in particular touts itself as a lifestyle, an ideology, almost a religion.
I suppose everything is what we make it, but if you’re allowing someone else to define your style of dress, let alone how you see the world, you should realize going in that the whole scene is a marketing gimmick for getting you to buy stuff. Punk rock culture turns the world into a fashion runway, encouraging an obsession with physical appearance.
It’s a strange situation. Sub- and even counter-cultures in America are routinely absorbed into the mainstream, or they at least become marketable. One can see it has already happened long ago with Hip-Hop, and even anti-corporate bands signed to small-sounding labels (owned by larger subsidiaries).
Political ideologies are ripe for profiteering. We’re all familiar with the “Green” movement, a hollow attempt by liberals who don’t want to make any real changes, but are willing to buy something with a label proclaiming their purchase to be environmentally friendly (at a slightly higher price, which I call the “gullible guilt tax”). Republicans even had a brief “Buy American” fetish, until their resolve buckled under the pressure of their purses.
However, there’s one particular ideology that has been very successful for basically all of human history. The people who adhere to it have many names for it, but I will use the collective term “survivalism.”
Survivalists can be left-wing or right-wing, though they are all ostriches with their heads in the sand. Some think the government is too big, and that the people will need to rise up and overthrow it. Others think the government is powerless and crumbling, and that America will be plunged into anarchy.
Some even hope for anarchy out of some romantic notion of human dignity and independence, forgetting that we are co-dependent social beings with blatantly antisocial behaviors (or they know this and revel in it).
Some don’t even factor government into it. Some think our treatment of the environment will wreck natural havoc. Others believe a race war or global religious conflict is inevitable. Some are even banking on religious prophecies foretelling the end of the world.
Regardless of the specifics, there is a vast industry catering to the paranoia of doomsayers everywhere. People are told to buy gold, despite ridiculously high prices. Forget “buy low, sell high,” this is an emergency! There are times to think, and there are times to act, and this is no time to think! See the exclamation point? That means this is serious!!!
However, you can’t feed your family with gold. Gold actually loses its value when there is no luxury market for its sale. If you’re banking on surviving a massive worldwide disaster, gold is about the dumbest investment you can make. Luckily, things will probably turn out fine and gold won’t lose value (especially in China), though all the virtual “trusts” and “promissory notes” will probably be worthless when the fly-by-night scamsters selling that fool’s gold close their doors after their CEOs embezzle too much capital.
No, if the world were really headed for disorder, there’s one thing I would want: guns. Guns are the ultimate chaos currency. If you have guns, you can get just about anything you want, er, anything your neighbors have. Of course, if they have guns, you need more guns, and you need to wait until they’re asleep or distracted. You’ll be wanting protection from others beyond guns, so be sure you have a dog to alert you to intruders, and land mines aren’t a bad idea.
Survivalism has even gone green, with the movement to go “off the grid.” This is definitely the coolest sounding idea environmentalists ever came up with. Way better than global warming (which just sounds cozy). When you go “off the grid,” it’s almost like you just got unplugged from the Matrix, and you’re no longer part of the problem, you’re the solution. And you can dodge bullets.
Of course, a stretch of cloudy, breezeless days will have you on generators that are several times less efficient than “the grid,” and the cost of initially installing enough equipment to maintain your power needs is far beyond the average person’s means. Not everyone can be ready when the shit hits the fan. Sacrifices will have to be made, both in terms of the poor and length of showers.
Then it dawned on me: people are rooting for a revolution because they’ve already invested in one. Nothing like a violently self-fulfilling prophecy.