Monday, August 10, 2009

Violence In Our Minds

Violence In Our Minds
~ Chris

Across the board, the Oi, RAC and Hardcore scenes have never been shy of violence. It is embedded in the culture, the music and the lyrics, and has been one of the many aspects which have contributed to painting a large target on the back of the scene for journalists and lawmakers to take potshots at. While some have chosen to sate the public’s criticisms by attacking the apparent "excess" violence in the scene, it seems that the obvious solution would be to turn a mirror on the "popular" culture which spawns these attacks, the socially sanctioned world of music, TV and sport.

The obvious first port of call is the hip hop scene, soaked as it is in the "street credibility" generated by drug dealers, dog fighters and other lowlifes involved in that scene. Yet, this is part of the sanctioned popular culture which apparently forms the moral foundation from which we are attacked. And yet its excesses, its avaricious ultra-individualistic culture is dismissed or excused as "reflections of life as an oppressed minority." Which is clearly nonsense. To draw a comparison, how many times have crimes involving skinheads been peppered with references to CDs found in their possession and brief ill-informed histories of the music and scene. No such standards are applied to hip hop culture or the violence surrounding it. The truth behind it is, at its base, hip hop culture represents the absolute fundamental naked nature of capitalist society. Nation-less, amoral, avaricious and individualistic. Drug dealers are the ultimate expression of laissez-faire free market capitalism, supply and demand in an absolutely unregulated environment. It carries no message that threatens the status quo. It is of no danger to lawmakers. The occasional reference to a kind of fake uncommitted Black Nationalism is irrelevant. It is for the most part lip service.

But hip hop is too obvious a comparison here. Let’s peruse real popular culture, the kind they are happy to feed our children. Michael Vick; sports star, hero, dog fighting degenerate. Britney Spears; a drug addled prostitute who can’t hold on to her kids. Kelsey Grammer; an alleged conservative with a taste for cocaine. Republican Sen. Larry Craig, who apparently likes to cruise toilets for men. Democrat Barney Frank, who admitted paying a male prostitute for sex. These individuals and many, many more, that are held up as idols or people in positions of responsibility and power, are bottom feeders of the worst kind. Yet they are somehow morally superior in the eyes of the wider public. Because? Because they pose no real threat anymore. Society’s’ standards have slipped to such a degree that degenerates are tolerated and accepted because they do not upset the apple cart, they carry no message that has the potential to cause change, real change. Therein lies the beauty and inherent power of our scene. We are a danger - a threat. For all that our lyrics and lifestyle are demeaned, our intelligence questioned, we scare them. We have a message they do not want heard, and in some cases bands who are not content to simply proselytize.

So it is not the violence of the music, the violence of the scene that draws fire, it is an underlying unease amongst wider society which prefers the financially motivated violence of drug dealers and dog fighters over the politically motivated violence or aggressive opposition to the status quo of our scene. A sad indictment of popular culture, but simultaneously a sign of just how fragile it is.

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