Nobody Likes a Gatekeeper: Saying ‘Fuck Off’ to the Punk Police
This week I wanted to take a break from my usual marketing posts and dive into a topic about which I feel strongly. I want to rant about something that ranks pretty fucking low on my rad-o-meter: today, I would like to talk to you about the punk police.
No, I don’t mean literal cops who for whatever reason listen to punk - that's like, a completely different topic. I’m talking about the self-appointed gatekeepers of the scene. The people who have decided it’s up to them to tell everyone else what’s punk and what isn’t. You know who I mean: the individuals who consistently comment on a band’s Facebook page, proclaiming they ‘stopped listening in 1989 when they put out their last good album’ (while still closely following and engaging with their fan page). Or maybe you’re more familiar with the ones who seem to get off on calling out a band (and their fans) for being sellouts, just because they worked their asses off and managed to achieve some level of success with their music. And then there’s my personal favorite - the old school punk that claims that nobody but them knows what it means to be a real punk because ‘people today don’t understand [insert generic antiquated observation here] like they did back in my day.’ But guess what, Boomer? All any of us really hear when you preach is the punk rock equivalent of “you kids stay off my lawn”. Nobody takes you seriously.
And if you feel like the above paragraph might be describing you, you’re probably right. We aren't impressed and we all think you’re annoying - just stop. In fact, lets just collectively agree as a scene that we all need to stop criticizing others for having differing tastes and values? People evolve, personal experiences differ, and it’s high time we accept that not everyone is always going to like all the same shit. And that's a good thing - it would be boring as hell if we did.
For me, punk represents celebrating your individuality, while bonding with other free-thinking weirdos like yourself. It’s not about putting on a costume, following strict music consumption guidelines, or being a dick for the sake of being a dick. Constantly pointing out that you don’t like a band just because others do doesn’t make you edgy or cool; it just makes you sound like a self-important asshole.
And let’s please take a moment to talk about that "sell-out" label that some folks throw around like confetti. Here's a reality check: making a living from your music doesn't make you a sell-out. It makes you a smart human being who wants to pay their bills and eat more than instant noodles, while trying to make their mark on the world and spread their message. It’s about carving out a path so that you can create a sustainable living doing something in which you truly believe. If punk is about being anti-establishment, shouldn't we be celebrating those who infiltrate the mainstream and spread their message to the masses?
Listen to music that resonates with you, regardless of genre. Wear what makes you feel good, and comfortable in your own skin. Treat others with kindness and empathy. Stand up for your values, and recognize that despite our differences, we are all here for the same reason.
It’s time for us to embrace and celebrate each individual’s uniqueness, and treat each other with kindness and acceptance. Being punk isn’t about following a checklist. The scene is diverse, and it's beautiful in its imperfections. So, let's toss the gatekeeper attitude in the trash, and celebrate life in all its chaotic glory.