Wednesday, May 8, 2013

De-Punking Punk

punk girl
Photo credit: skinhead_reggae
The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is having a big exhibit of punk fashion. This prompted New York magazine to ask if this is the most un-punk thing ever to happen to punk.* Upon careful consideration, and viewing of Robocop 3**, I have to say no. 

Punk has been commodified and exploited in non-punk ways for decades. Hell, if Robocop 3, Max Headroom***, Escape From New York and the Mad Max movies are to be believed, the one thing we won't run out of in the future is hair gel. Bad guys will be wearing their mohawks and spiked hair proudly long after civilization has collapsed. 1980s films de-punked punk long before the Costume Institute ever had a chance.

Of course, the super important thing is what everyone wore to the Met gala, celebrating the big exhibit. If you were old enough to wear it the first time around, can you pull it off now? Do the kids these days have a prayer of making it work at all? So many inquiring minds wanted to know that Tom & Lorenzo's site was brought down by the traffic. Jezebel has a nice roundup of the outfits--love Jessica Pare's outfit. And Madonna killed it, of course. You can check out Tom & Lorenzo's detailed analysis of certain outfits here

Few of the men even tried. How hard is it to find a plaid tuxedo jacket when you have a team of stylists working for you?

Whose outfit did you love/hate?

*They also have an amusing punk glossary, and a discussion of UK punk vs. US punk in which they talk about how punk used to have such a sense of humor and originally wasn't about being rude and obnoxious****.

**Is there anyone who wasn't in Robocop 3? CCH Pounder, Jeff Garlin, Stephen Root. The guy who plays Grumpy on Once Upon a Time is in it, fer chrissake.

***How brilliant was that show? Netflix has the DVDs, but it's not on Instant Viewing. It is SO going on my queue. Gotta re-watch it and see how much of it we're living. At least it's still legal to have an off switch on the TV. Of course, so many of us sleep with a smartphone next to the bed, so why legislate it?

****Which reminds me of the time I was in Picadilly Circus and dared to sit the fuck down by myself to rest my feet after walking who knows how far across London. I started writing a postcard to have something to do and a punk got right up in my face and shouted something like "Dear Mum, Having a lovely time, wish you were here," and then rushed away before I could tell him to go fuck himself. If that's what you think passes for cool, I think you're doing it wrong. 

Yes, I know that Sid Vicious would probably do that sort of thing, but he's dead now and may have killed his girlfriend, so maybe we use those nice boys in The Ramones as our role models, m'kay?

Which reminds me of the time in the late 80s or early 90s when Johnny Rotten invited MTV cameras to follow him around for a few hours and them cursed them out when they showed up to protect his punk-cred. THAT may be the most un-punk thing that has ever happened to punk.

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