[Editor's Note: Mitch Clem is the author of Nothing Nice To Say.
I was asked to write an entry for the Powell's blog to promote my new book, Nothing Nice to Say by Mitch Clem. The book itself is a collection of comic strips I've made about punk rock music, culture, the scene, etc.
But the truth of the matter is, quite frankly, I am done with punk rock. Done. I don't know what kind of music will be my favorite now (though I'm sure it'll involve Jeff Tweedy), but I know for sure that punk rock is no longer on the menu.
This may seem extreme. To the people who think that, my response is, simply, "Your FACE is extreme! Extremely UGLY! HEYOOOOOOOOOOO!"
I came to the decision to denounce punk rock when I met a kindly gentleman in his early 20s outside of a show recently who brought several facts to my attention:
1) FACT: Only teenagers like punk rock.
I'm not a teenager, am I? Done. Next:
2) FACT: Punk rock is stupid.
This is hard to refute, if true. And I assume it's true. I got this from a credible source who had himself been very into punk rock for no less than two full years of his life from the ages of 17 to 18.
The story, as he tells it, was that being into punk rock meant he had to cut his hair into a silly haircut and believe in anarchy without understanding the fundamentals of any politics or world history whatsoever. This was forced upon him by a secret society of elders (I can only assume these people include Ian MacKaye and Jello Biafra, and perhaps also the zombified remains of Joey Ramone).
3) FACT: Punk is dead!
It's been laid out for me very clearly that the genre was actually just a fashion trend in the late '70s that died shortly after starting, and that nothing of substance ever came out of it. Scary and true! It's hard to believe, with this fact in mind, that there are still, to this day, punk rockers walking around strutting their stuff like they own the place. You know what I mean? Making claims that punk rock was ever more than a hairstyle. The nerve, right? One person had the audacity to explain to me once how punk rock was one of the first contemporary music movements to push an agenda of D.I.Y. ethics and offer up the notion that a cultural movement could survive as more than just a fashion trend if it severed itself from the corporate control over the arts offered up by major record labels and mainstream television and by encouraging bands who truly believed in the art they were creating to press and distribute their own records, book their own shows, screen their own t-shirts, and publish their own magazines, and thus was born a genre that's lasted over 30 years since the first Ramones record went on sale.
What a buffoon. You call it "D.I.Y. ethics," I call it a haircut. Am I right, fellas? Everybody knows that every cultural movement's validity hinges 100% on its presence in the mainstream. If the middle-aged guy in the cubicle next to me at work or the 17-year-old cheerleader from Carbondale, Illinois hasn't heard of a band, that means they don't exist. Plain and simple. Cut and dry. Zip it up... and zip it out.
4) FACT: The Sex Pistols were sellouts!
It's true! Look it up! And, because of this, every other band that's ever played roughly the same genre of music they played is rendered irrelevant by proxy. I don't write the rules, guys, I just enforce them.
5) FACT: Green Day's newest album had too many slow songs on it.
Think about it.
6) FACT: At the end of that movie SLC Punk, the protagonist totally realizes punk is stupid and gets a job as a lawyer so he can make a bunch of money, which is the only thing that truly matters in life.
SLC Punk is the greatest movie ever made for exposing the dark underbelly of punk rock. Like, did you know that there is a great debate raging within the walls of punk clubs the nation over about whether the Ramones or the Sex Pistols started punk rock? This came to a shock to me as well, knowing that the Ramones had formed nearly five years before the Pistols, having released two or three albums already before Never Mind the Bollocks came out in 1977. So I used to think that the Ramones were very clearly the first punk band (to say nothing for all the proto punk bands like the Stooges and MC5). But there you have it.
7) FACT: I myself have just written a seven-point bulletin denouncing punk rock.
And I am a formidable expert on the subject.
Buy my book. I promise it's funnier than this.