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Punk Takes A Tumble - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Punk Takes A Tumble
I was sitting in J.W. Tumbles, a gym for young children, today, typing my film notes for tomorrow's International Arts Society film Tampopo when I realized that the kids were suddenly bopping to the Ramones. Now admittedly, there's something delightfully primal about both punk in general and the Ramones in particular. Still, when you factor in the knowledge that the very capable young women teaching the class are devout Christians, the significance of this "alternative" music selection is obscured by clouds. Is this a sign that the transgressive impulse in punk has finally reached the point of total co-optation? Or does this mean, rather, that punk has finally managed to reach the age range for which it was always already nostalgic? In "Self-Reliance", Ralph Waldo Emerson praises the boy who "is his own master" and defers to no one. That's the not-so-secret ideal behind punk's anti-authoritarianism, I'd hazard.

Mode: rough and _______
Muse: Coma Girl - Joe Strummer And The Mescaleros - Streetcore

2 comments or Leave a comment
tpratt From: tpratt Date: October 8th, 2004 03:24 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

it's good pop music, that's all

The Ramones were a great band, and understandably enough, one a lot of people refer to as the first (or one of the first) punk rock bands. However, they always were far more of a pop music act than any sort of punk rock band, and it's the poppy element of their work that makes them get played on the radio to this day, even over the PA at J.W. Tumbles. I'll wager a guess that you heard "I Wanna Be Sedated" or maybe "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker", right? I don't suppose "Pinhead" or "Warthog" or "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue" were on the playlist... Point being, there's a big difference between a band who chose to be produced at one point by Phil Spector and were the musical forefathers to the likes of Screeching Weasel and Green Day (although their greatest torchbearer are the almighty Hanson Brothers)being played on the radio or in a children's gym...and another band, say, like GBH or the Germs or the Dead Kennedys or even the Sex Pistols (that is to say that even the most casual punk rock aficionado would have a record by one or all of them). Then again, channel 94.9 here in San Diego does play "Rise Above" by Black Flag now and again, so maybe you're onto something...
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 9th, 2004 03:34 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: it's good pop music, that's all

You're right, Tim. Obviously the Ramones fall at one extreme of the punk spectrum, though a high percentage of the present generation of punk bands seem to follow them in jackbooted lockstep. Come to think of it, I didn't make a note of the song. Could it have been "Blitzkrieg Bop"?

I guess my point was that the Ramones did stand for enough things that should be objectionable to fine young Christian ladies that the musical choice seemed peculiar.
2 comments or Leave a comment