bodypiercing2.jpg
A book I should probably have already read. (Feel free to loan me a copy.)
I know getting annoyed about MXPX in 2011 is like

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"Christian Values" Were Never Punk

bodypiercing2.jpg
A book I should probably have already read. (Feel free to loan me a copy.)
I know getting annoyed about MXPX in 2011 is like still complaining about the speed of AOL dial-up, but reading Dave Lake's nicely reported music lead this week about MagnifiedxPlaidx frontman Mike Herrera's second act as an alt-country singer (MXPX's Mike Herrera: Still Punk), I was reminded of an old pet peeve: the idea that there's anything "punk" about "Christian values."

Despite what your "cool" tribal-tattooed, body-pierced youth pastor might tell you, good Christian values are the antithesis of punk. Punk is at its essence nothing if not anti-authoritarian, whereas religion (to this outside observer) seems to be about submitting to authority, both in the abstract form and (usually, the odd lone spiritual seeker aside) in the very real form of church hierarchy. Punk rock is middle fingers, not praying hands--the only crosses you see in punk should be upside-down ones.

Now granted, part of what's great about "punk" is its very protean malleability: It means whatever you need it to mean. It's not an organized, cohesive movement with standards and rules; it's ad-hoc, anarchistic, improvised over and over again. So any time you start talking about what's punk and what's not, you're going to fail. But I also think it's inarguable that punk had an original spirit--it was, to paraphrase Greil Marcus, a negating gesture--and that religious uprightness is just on its face contrary to that spirit. (Christianity can have indie rock, I guess.)

The great old Winnipeg grindcore band Swallowing Shit (man, did that name ever come from a pre-Googling paradigm) had a song called "Christian Metal = Nazi Reggae" that I always got a good hearty chuckle out of, and which I think applies equally well to mewling, girl-chasing Tooth & Nail pop punk. I would be equally suspicious of atheist gospel singers, were I aware of any.

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