Wednesday, May 13, 2009

You Little Punk

It's quite common at Louise's school to see young boys—as young as second grade—decked out in t-shirts emblazoned with the names and logos of vintage punk bands: the Ramones,* the Clash, Black Flag, etc. Back in my day,** as the lone Possum Holler punk, these bands were serious outsider-weirdo business (at least in Schuyler, Virginia, Home of the Waltons), but clearly the times have changed. Skater-surf-rock-punk-chic has been fully assimilated and repackaged for new teen, tween, and pre-tween generations. Pot-bellied dads can now proudly tossle their kid's hair and say, "Cool shirt. Did I tell you about the time I blew out my eardrums at CBGBs...?"***

But I wonder, is it just the shirts and the accoutrements? Or are those second graders actually listening to all that stuff? Some new wave, some pop-punk, a bit of hardcore (or their fifth-generation re-imaginings)—sure. But Henry Rollins and his truly terrifying existential screams? I just can't quite imagine it.****

* We were watching that Ramones documentary tonight. (Wow, by the way.) Those jeans—where did they keep their keys?

** Back in my day we walked ten miles to punk shows. In the snow. Barefoot!

*** At which point the punked-out whippersnapper can roll his eyes and mutter, "Yeah, like a thousand times, Dad."

**** Though, on second thought, bone-shaking visceral howls might actually be the perfect music for an eight-year-old boy.


  1. Ha! My son is in fourth (almost fifth!) grade at Lusher and is one of those kids. I would like to note that, despite being a punk-rocker-turned-vaguely-bohemian-yet-unmistakably-yuppie-scum, I did nothing to influence his musical taste in that direction, fearing an Alex P. Keaton-like backlash. What happened was, he met the Hirsches.

  2. I dressed my baby as a punk rocker. I admit it. Is there a support group? Should there be?