From the Department of Rants and Rambles: I’m hard-pressed to think of a more laughably insufferable variety of self-righteous, ineffectual and just downright annoying aspiring fascists than your garden variety straight-edge poseur. Straight-edge kids have long been the Jehovah’s Witnesses of punk rock — uninvited, they preach their manifesto of sexless sobriety to people who COULDN'T. CARE. LESS. And, in rare cases, if an overzealous sXe cultist senses that you aren't annoyed enough by just hearing his or her proselytizing, they'll take it a step further and rough you up a bit to make sure you understand EXACTLY how living drug free makes you a better person.
The sXe “movement” was at least somewhat tolerable when it was associated with good hardcore, but now the modern version of a straight-edge kid is one who doesn’t see why a punk rock show and a bible study class should be mutually exclusive from each other — what makes a rock show rock is that it isn’t a bible study class, or a trip to a principal’s office, or whatever else the hand of the man has to throw down. Kids who don’t realize this come perilously close to succumbing to the temptations of buying emo records, believing an emo show is a punk show or thinking that having a haircut that looks like malfunctioning chocolate waterfall, suffices for having an identity. Basically, straight edge is a slippery slope to other kinds of lameness, a gateway anti-drug to ending up like this.
These kids also run an even greater risk of never smoking that life-changing joint that teaches them valuable musical life lessons, like how "Kashmir" is the most terrifying song ever written, or that all reggae doesn't sound the same.
The classic version of a straight-edge kid — one who still gets Xs tattooed on their wrists and doles out dirty looks to smokers and Pepsi drinkers — is just a more tragically misguided misser-of-points than a dumbass with liberty spikes. Ever notice how no hairstyle looks more oppressive than a crown of liberty spikes? Ironic, isn’t it?
Anyway, I know the straight edge debate is a tired one and I promise I’m not trying to bore you. The reason I bring it up is because we don’t need to have it anymore. In the clip posted above, Fugazi co-frontman, D.C. DIY Godfather and reliably awesome interview subject, Ian MacKaye — who, as singer of Minor Threat, famously both coined the term straight edge and is oft-credited for birthing the movement, albeit involuntarily — basically lays waste to what became of it. If there was ever a last word on sXe it could come from no other mouth than his, and it has. Thank God. Mackaye says:
The problem with movements is that [they] start to lose sight of humanity … In straight edge, people who really pushed the idea of a movement, especially a militant movement, really lost sight of human beings … I don’t want people to ever use my words ever to injure anybody. Ever. That is the antithesis of my desire in life … It’s unfortunate that this minority of people, who’ve engaged in fundamental and violent behaviors, have gotten so much attention and have put such a stigma on [straight edge] … I find it so disturbing when I hear about serious ugliness and it somehow evokes straight edge. It really bothers me … Can you imagine how many motherfuckers have asked me if I’m still straight edge? … It just drives me crazy.
The clip was taken from the 2009 documentary called Edge. Take a wild guess what it’s about. So, now that Ian Mackaye is on YouTube — the de facto site of record — as being the Tyler Durden of straight edge, I’m proud to officially declare the unequivocally bastardized movement dead. Party hard!