Thursday, March 2, 2017

- Rediscovering Punk As Trumpism

There is a pretty bland piece in "The Week" claiming that Trumpism is overturning politics the same way Punk overturned the 20 minute guitar solos of the Emerson Lake And Palmer era of music. It's not a terrible piece, it's just a little late.

I don't know if I like Trumpism as much as I liked Punk. I find his speaking stilted and wooden. And his thin skin rubs me the wrong way. I don't really care for his presentation at all, but I do like 3 things about him more than any politician since Reagan.

1. He (rightly) despises the press because he can see what useless feckless lying assholes they are.
2. He has balls.
3. To the degree he's able, he keeps his word.

The guy in the linked story refers to the Ramones, which of course he would. The Ramones looked awesome from a distance, but were a real wreckage up close.

Johnny on guitar, was the 'leader' of the band. It was also his right wing politics that was reflected in the band oeuvre. But if you've ever seen the great Documentary on the Ramones, "End of the Century", it's clear he was a huge dick. As an example, Johnny's wife was the inspiration for the song "The KKK took my baby away" written by Joey, and referring to the moment when Johnny stole her from him.

Joey, the guy behind the microphone, had a serious case of OCD, and host of health problems. It was serious enough that doctors told his parents when it surfaced in his youth, that he was unlikely to be a useful part of society. From a certain perspective he wasn't. He just happened to fall into the perfect place at the perfect time with the few remaining skills he did possess.

Dede was a Heroin addict/male prostitute before the band took off, and had all the personality characteristics that you would expect of that kind of guy.

And Tommy, behind the Drum kit, though probably the best socialized of the band, left the band early to work as a producer, while a series of other players took over behind the kit.

These guys were a mess. On a good day they were typical blue collar schmos from Queens, but usually, they were the guys who couldn't cut it as blue collar schmos from queens. But for the good luck of running into each other at just the right moment in history, and catching the eye of CBGB's owner Hilly Krytsal, they'd have been just another castoffs, living barely civilized lives of relative poverty, and complaining about everything at the end of the bar.

Clearly fate had other plans for them.

But the guy in the story really does get it wrong. Trump may be a rock star, Like Johnny Ramone, but Punk was bigger than he was. It's the Alt-Right that's the new punk, and Trumpism is punk only in as much as it has things in common with it. The unapologetic pushback on political correctness and the media isn't Trump, it's the alt-right. Trump is a part of it, but he's not "It". Any more than the punk movement ended at the CBGB's door.

The Ramones in some sense 'invented' punk. Trump is the first star of the Alt-right. But just like in punk, there are going to be others. Just watch.

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