Usually the "Comment of the Day" post is used to highlight a comment attached to The Daily Weekly. But rules are meant to be broken.


Comment of the Day: Roderick's Punk Rock Is Bullshit

Usually the "Comment of the Day" post is used to highlight a comment attached to The Daily Weekly. But rules are meant to be broken.

Today, in a break from the norm, we'd like to direct your attention to the 845 (and counting) comments currently attached to John Roderick's "Punk Rock is Bullshit" essay - which graced the cover of Seattle Weekly last week and has been infuriating punk rockers ever since.

As Roderick argues:

I have friends in their mid-40s who don't even have a savings account because "saving money" never seemed punk rock. I can't count the number of small businesses I've seen fail because worrying about inventory or actually charging customers didn't seem very punk rock. I was once chastised for playing at a private Microsoft function by a guy who worked there, so disappointed was he that I would sell out by playing a corporate gig.

Punk taught us to rebel against authority until "authority" included everything: piano lessons, fire insurance, leather shoes, and, ultimately, growing up. Punk taught us to have contempt for every institution, except Fugazi, until contempt and suspicion were the first and only reactions we had to everything. Good news was embarrassing, success was shameful, and a happy childhood an unthinkable transgression. These personality disorders were just punk in practice.

It's time we stopped disavowing happiness and measured pride, we punk survivors, wrapping ourselves in itchy thrift-store horse blankets thinking that only discomfort is honest. It's time we stopped hating ourselves, our ambition, and our sincerity, guarding our integrity credentials in fear of interrogation by the secret punk police. It's time to unmask punk rock, admit that it has done us no favors, and banish it from our minds. There is no one waiting for us at the gates of heaven with a big book of punk, ready to judge our souls and validate our credibility. Punk rock is bullshit, and was always bullshit. Say it with me.

As mentioned, as of the writing of this post 845 comments have been taken in response to Roderick's essay. Here's a sampling:

Commenter punkerthanthou writes:

well this guy wouldn't know punk rock if it jumped up and bit him on the face. go look at his stupid band you'll want to drive nails into your ears. and that whine-o band harvey danger's not much better. having this guy write this article's like having a white banker write an article about what's wrong with black culture...nice job editors I guess content was light this week. What a righttwat he turned out to be...piss off then Roderick. The whole reason we invented punk rock was to get away from guys like you. and I wouldn't come near the pit at my next show if I were you.

Commenter RedScareToby writes:

Like the dude from Funhouse said, punk rock (and all of art and life, for that matter) is what you make of it.

I took interest in this because I'm originally from the PNW and try and keep tabs on y'all, but while this was a fun read, I can't say I understand this dude's perspective. The fact that some guy pushing 50 hates punk rock is a good thing, right?

I run a mildly successful punk label that is based in Chicago and I can say with all honesty that the punk rock scene continues to keep me entertained, engaged, and full of great life experiences. Hell, I just got back yesterday from a 3-week tour of Australia and New Zealand, and it was a hilarious fucking BLAST. Punk rock being dumb and "humorless"? Dude needs to come out on tour with some of my people and we'll show him how it's done. Then again, if I was the touring keyboard player for Harvey Danger, I might have some misgivings about the joys of traveling with a rock band.

Can't help think that some of this surliness has to do with Seattle's current bleak music situation and all the bullshit you guys are still dealing with in terms of venue codes, liquor laws, etc. It's depressing, really, and I hope it changes someday. But I would suggest you get your own house in order before you start making declarative statements about a global community.

I did enjoy the blogger's appraisal of indie-rock buffoonery. They truly are/were an unfun, self-important group of dorks. In any case, I say you get out and support underground music by attending a punk show, drink a beer, high five, see friends, fuck off, live a little, etc etc. That's how you can reconcile punk rock in 2013.

Commenter human.occupation1 writes:

John Roderick is Bullshit -

"These children that you spit on as they try to change their world, are immune to your consultations, they're quite aware of what they're going through" - Bowie

So, john. Poor baby. Music existed long before you and like the ungrateful spoiled baby that you are, no matter how many choruses of praise you heap upon yourself in this masturbatory puff piece, you'll have no worries of lack of ego gratification. Maybe all of who over the years made nary a dime but kept creating punk rock anyway should all just get together and have a big group cry for the huge rock star god named John Roderick.

I'm not sure why you're so preoccupied about your friends in their mid 40's that don't have a savings account, except that perhaps that you're just upset cos the bush / cheney regime has made it impossible to squirrel any savings away or maybe you're mad that your friends aren't buying you next boring, mediocre john lennon rip off record. Maybe you just feel guilty for whoring yourself out time and time again from that suck up fest at Microsoft you bragged about ( an anti music organization if there ever was one, right up there with the Major record lables) to this meritless assasantion puff piece of fox news style hate speech towards an entire class and several generations of millions and millions of people who all pretty much know that youre just stone cold full of shit. So if this is what you need to do to justfy an otherwise unjustifiable paycheck by doing that little pole dance at the bidding of your whore masters over at the village voice then so be it. Me thinks the lady doth protest too much. Thank you for making such a fool of yourself, I couldn't have done better work myself, it's obvious that punk rock has taught you nothing cos you already know everything, so you rebel against nothing, you stand for nothing and as a consequence you fall for anything. Including belieing your own press and the false and undeserved pride you seem to take from writing boring and unceasing "songs". It's not that good news is shameful, its just that the good news is another Melvin's album, not the fact you met another groupie back stage while looking down the end of your upturned nose at the rest of us, to quote a great man.

Yes, Virginia, we all know that you don't "believe" in punk rock music , just like you don't believe in evolution or that gosh darned inter - web, but all of this exists here in the real world whether you want to believe or not and in spite of you and your corporate masters efforts to wrap your tiny mediocre, minds around something that despite all your apparent effort to stomp it out, you can't ever completely control it and or, god forbid understand it.

I'm sorry dear. So sorry that your over rated personal bloat disappoints you so, that you have to pick on something so very unimportant and insignificant to you as punk rock, but, irony of ironies, you've expended quite a bit of jism on your particular brand of sucking ass. You're just like every other bully and there is only one thing to say to a bully.

Fuck you

Punk rock isn't yours. It isn't fucking brand like you are. That statement just proves what a pathetic asshole you really are. Blues made punk rock, dumb fuck. Shitty jobs made punk rock. Xerox machines made punk rock, metal, noise, phillip glass and, the stooges, the wipers, minor threat, black flag, ss decontrol, The State, destroy all monsters, patti smith, gang of four . All the way from the Monks back in the sixties all the way up to pearl jam have a right to be punk rock if they want to and your arrogant bitch ass has no right to take that away from me or anyone else. Punk rock is about freedom - for the misfits and the rejects. But it sounds like to me that your insecure need to codify something, measure it and put it under a microscope, because as Brian Foss said, You NEED rules and regulations so you can set yourself up in opposition to a fake opponent. That's the beauty of your crappy diatribe of hot air of . It's going to get you a lot of attention so step right up and fill the shoes of that asshole Lou Guzzo. It's right where you belong. Punk rock isn't for everybody, perhaps you're just too in thrall with your own brand of narcissistic cabala of half witted dream state snooze fest of your last album.

If punk rock has done nothing for you, it simply means you've brought nothing of meaning or import to punk rock. It's not job of punk rock to run the country , punk rock doesn't owe you a living or any goddamned thing, you jerk off, but in reading your self serving and transparent publicity stunt of a manifesto reads like a the whining of a hair metal has been. If you want a blow job, a bag of Doritos and a handful of brown M and M's, I got yer M and M's right here, bitch..... If you don't like punk rock, then don't listen to it, dumbfuck.

And, finally, commenter brynnachilds writes:

Hey, I'll give you props bc I think there is a voice here that is knowledgable about subculture, perhaps only in its more pop-stereotypical forms, but I enjoyed the humour and references. I do really encourage you to explore punk from a feminist perspective, which you more or less ignored- and realize its not the beer and weed that brings people together, but a feeling of safety- a break from patriarchal norms. I like the frozen-cave image- I would agree that often punk movements and environments have that 90s hangover thing going on- but you are wrong to place blame on the people within those circles, that frozen cave. These people are oppressed- they are activists- they are operating with less because they are left with less in facing a society that does not accept of understand them. its not fair to place blame on those living in this punk-loop, nor see it as as much a choice as you feel. There are class barriers, there are gender barriers, there is an understanding of being amongst each-other out of necessity and grave reality that you are unable to fit into normal professional environments- and this includes modern music industry. Reasons that one does not fit are often symptom of tramatization due to sexual abuse, addiction or post-addiction problems, mental health problems (!!!+++), appearance and body-politics, sexism, racism, classism, etc. the list goes on. I think feminism and queer politics are the strongest influence on modern punk-rawk, and there really isn't a replacement, nor would "modern music" makers be much of a replacement- as most pop musicians I know are babies. They make some great shit, but they aren't evolved beyond punk-rawk, they operate at a greater privilage, and damn if those worlds aren't eternally male dominant and quite honestly, scary for women. Punk isn't dead- how could you kill something grown from mentorship and self-learning? It can exist alongside many other forms of culture. If anything, it is threatened most heavily by property development in cities- and today doesn't have as strong an urban or global presence as in its peaks and hay-days. "Weakened" would be a better descriptor of modern american punk movements. As is 3rd wave feminist thought and radical practice- by-products of the 90s, but no less important today. To want to kill a culture because it is weakened by the problems it is actively seeking to solve, by active movement and community engagement, by creation of public spaces, rehabilitative efforts etc. is fairly evil and heartless. What did those tough girls ever do to you? Feminist and queer punk movements are the surviving punk rock movements- they are a candle in the frozen cave- and they probably do not need your advice about how to evolve toward a "new music" perspective. Women, men, trans living communally, spurring punk movement and lifestyle make all types of music- are interconnected to many different scenes and people of all classes, colours and backgrounds- and are still punk- because it's a vein of culture, a history of music, a voice of multiple gens and it is important as all of those things. It is important in keeping people safe and evolving society to include those that slip through its cracks- because they are there and they are widening rapidly. Why can't we all evolve past punk-rock?? Simple: because we all can't embrace the linear, capitalistic standard in music, in life, that allows white guys to noodle on their synths 10 hrs a day and call it evolution.

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