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I Love the Smell of Commerce in the Morning

The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, even The Talking Heads, were great bands, but what did they all have in common? They were all the beginning of the end of punk. Some people think that these bands started punk, by this my friend, is not so. These bands played a major part in punk, but their opening up to the mainstream popular culture caused the confusion of what punk really stood for.

Punk began in the early 70's and consisted of people who were sick of being brainwashed by corporation's moneymaking schemes, society's constraints, and complete homogeneity.The Fugs and the MC5 were two bands that are said to have started punk. The Fugs started in 1965 and were major activists in the antiwar movement in 1966.

They are together to this day and still stand firm with their anti-war beliefs. The MC5's, on the other hand, were seen as a bunch of crazy anarchists who constantly got the press' attention. The manager of MC5 even got time for possession of marijuana, which only made the MC5's seem more radical. The first bands to show what punk was all about, however, were the New York Dolls and Television.

The New York Dolls came together in the early 70's and since then influences many bands, including the Sex Pistols. Television's Marquee Moon record that came out in late 1976, disregarded industries, their expectations, and fashion. Punk Rock's ideals stand for going against the corporation and consumerism and doing it yourself. Radical punks do whatever they can to scare people into getting their attention. The New York Dolls, for example, fully enjoyed dressing like Nazis, doing the Nazi salutes, and throwing up in front of photographers.

The punk style that almost everyone is familiar with mostly came from the Television's bassist, Richard Hell, and the Sex Pistol's Sid Vicious. Richard Hell's spiky hair and ripped clothing was well liked by his greedy manager, who believed he could make lots of money from the new look, andbrought it to London where it spread all over the world. That same manager started the Sex Pistols and gave Sid Vicious the same look with tattoos and safety pin jewelry.

You don't even need to know how to play an instrument or be able to sing to be a punk, as Sid Vicious taught us. All you need is to have something to say.Now what about Punk Bands today? Do Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco sings of anarchy or corporations? I doubt it. Do you see Avril Lavigne dressed as a Nazi or doing radical stunts to scare the media? Not recently.

I wonder if this has to do with the fact that they're all pawns of the media and tools of Hot Topic, a mainstream distributor of "punk" fashion. What people know as punk today, isn't punk at all, but Hot Topic. In case you didn't know, Hot Topic is a corporation that is all about consumerism! How can this be punk?! Hot Topic is all for their mass produced Good Charlotte shirts and their Blink 182 pins. Oh, and how about they throw in a Ramones sticker and a Sid patch for $2.

99 just so it looks like they care about our past punk brethren, and that if you buy this piece of punk, then you are still living on their dream of punk rock and what it is all about. Sid Vicious is probably rolling over in his grave at the fact that his name is being abused by a corporation trying to sell punk to teenage kids who just want to fit in now a days. Hot Topic is an indestructible monster attacking today's youth, and it is expanding every year. By the end of 2002, there were over 420 Hot Topic stores all over the world. 420 death holes! Hot Topic has definitely ruined the remaining scraps of Punk.

The fact that its business is booming, and will most likely go on for a long time, is depressing for lack of a better word. I end this editorial with a dare for you all. Next time you're in a mall, walk up to a kid you see leaving Hot Topic and ask them one simple question: "Who killed Bambi?!".


Daggi Pulz is a student at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont, and is a frequent contributor to WaffleQuest.com, an online comedy video, article and comic strip collaboration..

By: Daggi Pulz


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