Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rebel Knell

There's this scene in the 1953 film, The Wild One, where, sitting on a motorcycle dressed in all leather, Marlon Brando is asked, "What're you rebelling against, Johnny?" He coyly responds, "Whaddya got?" If he were asked that same question today, he would probably answer, "I'm not sure." Our world has become so integrated and so progressive that there's really not much to rebel against. Rebellion, like Marlon Brando, is dead (but, not morbidly obese).

What happened to the race wars? What happened to the anti-war movement? What happened to abortion rights and gay rights? What happened feminism and drug legalization? What happened to the beatniks? What happened to the hippies? What happened to punk rock? I'll tell you what happened - all the whining worked. Everybody got what they wanted!

We got our president, a mulatto who may or may not have a Muslim past, proving that racism is no longer an issue. Our economy tanked, which made us pretty much forget the fact that we have two useless wars going on. Abortions are so legal we're being overrun with a deluge of random bloody fetuses. Gays are wearing fabulous tuxedos and denim pant suit wedding dresses in Iowa and Vermont, and more and more states are on the way. Women are considerably more powerful than men. Pot is basically decriminalized, and every other drug isn't worth fighting for.

Sure, everyone's broke, but that's not really a rallying point. It does suck, but you can't protest it. Yeah, yeah -- I know about Darfur, but it's too damn far away to really care. And the environment? Come on! That's a fucking pussy cause! It's also the hottest industry in a time when there are few industries that are hot. The environment will be just fine.

Everybody's content, except maybe the religious Republicans, but no one gives a shit about them. Religious Republicans wouldn't be rebellious anyway, they'd just be assholes.

I'm not saying there aren't people trying to be rebellious. In fact, if you didn't know better, you'd think our whole country has joined the underground. Upon closer examination though, you'd realize that it's a farce. Subcultures are the new mainstream. Rather than being domains for the disenfranchised, they've become actual franchises.

Hippie music used to be the soundtrack of those who turned on, tuned in, and dropped out. Now, bands like Phish and Dave Matthews and Widespread Panic are the soundtracks of suburban mothers and junior investment bankers. Hip-hop used to be a rally cry for inner-city kids kept down by The Man. Now, it tops every chart (including Christian Adult Contemporary) and it's about being The Man, not overthrowing The Man.

Punk rock used to be for angry malcontents that didn't fit in. Now, it's for pre-teen girls. The so-called punk rockers of today are good looking and talented. That's not rebellious or punk rock. The Ramones and The Sex Pistols were ugly and talentless. Also, these so-called punk rockers of today go to fashion shows and the Kids' Choice Awards. GG Allin would never go to the fucking Kids' Choice Awards!

Rebellion or, more appropriately, pseudo-rebellion has become a huge industry. Thanks, MTV! What was once Music Television is now a dumping ground for ads and product placements creating the illusion that mundane consumables are actually "subversive" or "extreme". They're not. Hot Topic and Urban Outfitters are in every mall perpetuating the myth that you can buy your way into non-conformity, which, through pervasiveness, becomes conformity.

Even shit that was once considered rebellious has become pussified. Tattoos are no longer statements of individuality, they're fashion accessories for middle-class middle-Americans. Same with piercings and mutilations. Harleys are no longer tough. They're now environmentally-friendly modes of transportation. Come on! Harleys were not intended to be green, except for Harleys that were painted the color green. Cigarettes, once the mainstay of rebellion, are now too expensive for rebels to embrace.

Because of Shephard Fairey, graffiti is now displayed in museums and galleries. Because of Johnny Knoxville and Tony Hawk, skateboarding has become gayer than rollerblading. Because of the Wii and the iPod, teenagers have become lame. Hell, there hasn't been a real school shooting in ten years.

We need to bring back rebellion. There's still still stuff to rage against. And I'm not talking about the new Facebook design either. Social networking should be called conformity networking. On Facebook and Twitter and MySpace, we're trying harder to fit in than ever. We create our profiles and make our posts with our "anti-establishment messages", but really we're just desperately pleading for acceptance. No, we need real causes.

Personally, I'm rebelling against shirt tucking and loafer wearing. Damn right! And this law against cell phone usage in the car without hands-free devices? It's total bullshit! I'm also rebelling against stupid people getting pregnant. The non-intelligentsia must stop breeding. They're bringing down our collective IQ and I, for one, won't stand for it.

And what about Jew rights? There are less Jews than Blacks and Hispanics. Why don't we get special treatment for college acceptance? And how come the Germans and Egyptians don't give us casinos like the Indians? We were enslaved AND persecuted. And why can't I get a minority-owned business designation? Jews are getting screwed. I may dress like a Hasidic to show solidarity for my downtrodden brothers and sisters.

Look, I guess it's good that we've made progress in our country. Still, it's really boring not having anything to fight for. The people of America need to get off their asses and fuck shit up. Then, and only then, will we deserve to consume the products of rebellion that are so prevalent in our society. Hear me roar, motherfucker!

1 comment:

Azbra said...

Goddamn right Iron Mike!! I watched myself become exactly what you're talking about. Fuck that!! Fuck this!! Let's fuck some shit up!!