Straight Edge, fifteen years later

So, yeah. I woke up this morning thinking about militant straight edge. Does that still exist? I mean, I’m positive that in weird social petri dishes like suburban SLC, Craptown, New Jersey and towns outside of Boise and shit where teenagers don’t have older mentors who know about subcultures around to set em right that this shit still goes on, but I think that (thankfully) the advent and prevalence of the internet seems to have kind of killed the militant straight edge movement. Hasn’t it? Or has it? I guess I don’t know. You guys know what I’m talking about, right?

Okay, back in the 90’s, vegan straight edge was an extremely militant thing. You’ve all seen that one dorky tub of shit with the egg shaped head and “Earth Crisis” tattooed on his cheeks, right? I think he’s from Denmark or something. Anyway, that’s what I’m talking about. Dorks handing their lives and faces over to a cause that they were willing to kill and die for. That shit was pretty big for a while there, and the thing about it that was so crazy, was that it was touted as being really violent, which is weird. Here’s why: The basic tenets of the whole movement, as far as I understand it (for those of you who don’t know, I’m not straight edge) involve not smoking, not drinking, not doing drugs, and in EXTREMELY lame cases, not boning. It’s no accident that this very movement was exceptionally popular in Utah, where another life-philosophy which espouses the same ideals also thrives. Anyway…

When it began, straight edge was a term coined by Ian MacKaye in a Minor Threat tune and it had to do with his personal technique for keeping it together and how it sometimes made him feel like an outsider. He’s been pretty vocal about the fact that he never set it up to be a dogma or anything. In fact, in the very song where he lists off what gives him his ‘straight edge,’ he literally says “listen, there’s no set of rules.” However, like so many people who condemn homodom based on scripture, yet persist in eating shellfish, a lot of people took the “I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t fuck” section to be prescriptive and straight up pretended the “there’s no set of rules” part didn’t ever happen. The results: militant straight edge: a group that will beat you up if you are smoking, drinking, taking drugs or being promiscuous.

Now, even if we ignore how much this has in common with, oh, I don’t know, Al Qaeda philosophy, it’s still ass backwards because if the notion is “hey, smoking is bad for you. Drinking alcohol is poison” etc, then how is beating someone up the solution? “I don’t like the way you choose to destroy your body, so I’m gonna destroy it in a different way.” Fuckin dumb. What’s the endgame? It’s a violent excuse posing as a philosophy.

Now, at this point, let me back up and say I think clean living is an awesome way to go. A clear head and sound heart goes a long way in this dark world. Even some of the most notorious wastoids I know take extended periods of total sobriety because total sobriety is fucking awesome. It’s hard to wrap your head around when you’re sixteen and you’ve spent your whole life sober and suddenly “whoa! Weed!” but it’s true. Being sober is great. I also happen to like to party when I’m not being sober, but god bless the sober among us.  When I start to panic, a little good old fashioned sobriety and exercise cleans my soul right out. If there’s one thing to take away from this whole thing, it’s probably that. I’ve got nothing against the principle of living a life of discipline. I think it’s commendable and awesome. I simply don’t like violence or prescriptive lifestyle imposition. And I really don’t like Earth Crisis.

But it’s funny. Even with all the mongos, I think straight edge kind of gets a bad rap. When I was in Slapstick (my shitty highschool ska band) I got a baby blue t shirt that had 3 X’s and the words “Straight Edge” on the front. Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes/Pissing on things fame) was on the back, X’s on his hands, captioned with “Straight Edge: True Til Death.” I wore that shirt all the time. I was never, ever straight edge identifying. I would wear it on stage, and I’d get approached afterwards by groups of straight edge kids who were all excited that our band was fronted by a straight edge guy and I would say “no. I think straight edge is cool, but I’m not personally straight edge. I like the shirt,” and you know what? They were, always, to the very last, cool with it. I think about how possessive punks get about logos. “That bitch probably can’t even name a Ramones Song besides I wanna Be Sedated” or “What’s the dipshit in the Blink shirt doing here?” etc. These straight edge kids, of whom there’s a militant, dipshit, violent subsect, were so understanding, cool and generally mellow about things, it kinda makes you think, eh? (and this was a common occurrence. I wore that shit all over the country, so I’m not talking isolated incidents).

In fact, one time I was bored and 19 or so, and I decided to go to the Fireside Bowl and attend a straight edge hardcore show. I went down there and smoked and drank beer, right in the pit. I was being a dick. I was just DARING people to fuck with me, and you know what? I got some dirty looks, but nothing malicious. It was more like the look you get if you fart on the elevator. I even made a couple of friends that night. I walked into the lions den covered in steaks, ready to start shit, and I met a dude who was like “Hey man. You okay? What are you doing here? Are you just trying to piss people off or something?” but he didn’t say it shittily. He asked with genuine concern for my motives. It made me think a bit. I ended up apologizing to that guy for being such a troll and I never fucked with the notion of straight edge again. I woke up thinking about that story today. Weird.

That shit was fifteen years ago.

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36 Responses to Straight Edge, fifteen years later

  1. loolooren says:

    Even in SLC, the militant straight edge thing has been mostly dead for 6-7 years. I think they were replaced with Juggalos.

  2. dustyfloors says:

    I know a straight edge dude but he’s not one of the crazy militant guys.
    He’s a funeral director, is about 4 feet tall, and is covered from neck to ankle in tattoos.
    He has “I C U DEAD” tattoo’d inside his lip which is awesome (and fucking dumb).
    He will hang in the bar with us only to drink 1/2 cranberry 1/2 waters all night long.

  3. peanut gallery/" " salary says:

    Pssshhh yea you’re so cool cuz ya don’t notice the MILLIOOOONZ of militant straight edge motherfuckers around you every single day. Pfff. There’s one under your bed and in lil’ weebee’s crib! Naaah. Naaah

  4. SivarEdge says:

    so, are you talking about Straight Edge kids or Hardlines? I mean if you are a “veteran” I guess you should get to know the difference between them, I speak for myself, I believe in a straight edge way of life and PMA, it´s a personal decision I took some years ago, and I’m not pushing anyone to believe or follow what I believe or decide for MY OWN LIFE, so let me finish with this, at least in my country (El Salvador) is well defined who is a Straight Edge and who is a Hardline, so now I speak for every Straight Edge in my country, we are don´t push anyone to live the way we do, if they want so, welcome, if they don´t, we don´t care, we still respect their decision, that´s all I have to say.

    • SivarEdge says:

      And one more thing… sorry bout my english…

    • haaaawnk says:

      MILITANT. Does that sound like he’s describing you or what you insist on calling hardline? Don’t get cunty over semantics

      • Anonymous says:

        Dude says sorry for his English and six minutes later you tell him he’s being cunty over semantics.

        • haaaawnk says:

          Dude gives the distinct impression he’s “schooling” Brendan on standard straight edge/hardline as though he doesn’t know the fucking difference and six minutes later I tell him not to get cunty over semantics. Fixed that for ya

          • haaaawnk says:

            Or, ya know, maybe he somehow genuinely missed the militant adjective all ten times it was used and thus what that would signify. Riiiight

          • haaaawnk says:

            …Or, ya know,the part where the text ifself leaves literally no confusion that he’s referring to a specific sect of straight edge. He even acknowledges the disparity. I mean, it’s not a question of questionable english…more of questionable reading comprehension. Awww shiiii I guess now I’m just bein a cock. That or you’re sort of an idiot

  5. Doesn't matter says:

    Smoking, drinking, fucking, and doing drugs is what I lived for as a teen to my early twenties. Not doing those things would have sucked. I grew out of it thankfully. But those were the best times of my life, at least what I remember.

  6. Boooooring says:

    You seem to be confusing hardline and Sxe guys, it is just like saying that all gringos are assholes which it is not truth. dude check the facts and then talk with property, otherwise you look like a dumb motherfucker.

    I agree that beating people is not the solution and that there are bands that make propaganda of it.

    PD: I think your band is too dawn commercial trendy punk shit.

    • haaaawnk says:

      Again…are you retarded? If you can’t extrapolate from his remarks that hardline is what he means by “militant straight edge”, then it’s probably best to pursue things other than bad sandwich chronicles. Is English a second language? Is your grasp strong enough to read this blog without assistance? Or are you pumping this through google translate?

      • haaaawnk says:

        If the former, I you don’t have much of an excuse. If the latter, why bother? Reading shit through an online translator is the worst.

        • haaaawnk says:

          “Check the facts”?? jesus christ

          • Anonymous says:

            Wow just got a reply from a racist dipshit… how cool!

            shut the fuck up gringo Motherfucker

          • Anonymous says:

            do you feel proud to have english as your second language? how many languages you speak?

            retarded? probably your mother to keep you instead of having an abortion

          • haaaawnk says:

            Huh? If I was being racist-y I would have insinuated a sexual obsession with your own sister or asked when you were last in a fist fight over stolen pineapple soda. But I didn’t, because I adhere to a HARDLINE code of ethics lulz

          • Anonymous says:

            hahaha this is funny, why dont you go and eat some fried fries disgusting fatty?

          • Anonymous says:

            Roll to the kitchen fatso, do you think yourself as an internet bad ass?
            How ridiculous

          • haaaawnk says:

            So…big Noel Gugliemi fan, are we? Haaaaawnk! Haawnk haaaaaawnk!

  7. KKKanada's Most Wanted says:

    It’s not a drug problem if the line you’re doing is off an erect penis.

  8. Dinesh "Loooza" D'Souza says:

    (tune of Macho Man) Mongos eeeeverywheeeeere/Mongos even iiiin my uuuunderweeeeaaar

  9. Whaaa says:

    I think a straight edge way of life is really commendable and awesome…however, I’ve never understood the label or the desire for the label. It’s cool that you don’t do what you don’t do, but why label yourself? I mean I drink but I don’t introduce myself like, “Hi! I’m Jim, I drink.” ‘Cause you know if you meet one of those straight edge labeling mother fuckers, they make it a point to let you know that they are one within 15 minutes..like it’s the most important thing about them.

  10. Cara Santa Maria/bitch you don't like dinosaurs says:

    Tawny Kitaen’s twitter is off the chain

  11. Wazza says:

    Hi dudes I’m writing this from boot camp. Brendan I get about ten mins each week to use my phone. This is where I go. Keep up the amazing shit. Love

  12. BSC Mysteries says:

    BSC Mysteries (Pilot) 8:00PM

    (2013; 45 min; Stereo; CC)

    In the premiere, our host Jeffrey delves into the mysterious disappearance of the site’s original Blogspot incarnation and addresses speculation that ‘dustyfloors’ and ‘queenbee’ are alternate personas of the same obsessed, MPD-stricken sycophant

  13. jessica alba/bitch you dont use a windows phone says:

    When ya said pops thinks youre gay because of how ya throw, were ya bein literal? Or just the occasional “haha sometimes i wonder about you son, with that arm”? Its ok i throw like a queen too. Though ironically i pitched in little league and struck a lot of fuckers out. Yeaaaah, suck on it bernard calibuso. Nothin will erase that strikeout from sept 93

  14. . says:

    beex,I think u hate fun. the same way I imagine this paunchy,balding nuthin who works out in thermal underwear at my gym hates fun.. #orsomeyoungpitchforkyrapper..whynoot

  15. . says:

    I mean,you aint more bothered by t swift borrowing the motif from motley crue’s carnival of sins tour and dropping her second consecutive grammy meta reference mid performance .yea,she did it last time. or ed sheerens hideous physical appearance and heinous slant rhymez .wasting/pastries!? set to listless strumming and the scientist coldplay melody that alicia keys put to better use with that new york tune a couple yrs back. Bruno mars thumping,competent police pastiche and fun’s hooky,theatrical take on 70’s pop are what really got to ya? u stupid or smthn?

  16. . says:

    wait,”poor health,advanced age?has “trouble walking”?so,in other words pope-like? never thought eli would outlast this dude

  17. Fearghal says:

    Considering that, in my experience, anyone was openly Mormon risked getting (and often did get) the shit kicked out of them in the utah straight edge scene… I think you’re making a somewhat plausible hypothesis on totally false assumptions

  18. bulgar wheat says:

    Millitant schmillitant. I’m just trolling around online finding someone I can suck off for a Reveal “Decent” 7″ of New Jersey hardcore.

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