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Straight Edge Vice: Navigating the Fine Line Between Principle and Excess

Originally Published: Tuesday, August 24, 2005
Written by: Kelly Brother

The Frustration with Some Interpretations of Straightedge

If there’s one thing that irks me more than anything it’s when some fifteen-year-old kid tries to tell me what straightedge is. Though not all that old myself I refrain from preaching, and I never try to convert. I’m all for the younger generations getting involved in straightedge, but I’m not all for them perverting the lifestyle. They take a good idea and place so many restrictions upon it that no one can conceivably live such a lifestyle.

The Dangers of Imposing Excessive Rules on Straightedge

It seems every day someone is adding a new rule. Last time I checked being edge meant that you didn’t do three things, you don’t drink, you don’t smoke and you don’t sleep around.

Misconceptions and Extremes in the Modern Straightedge Scene

Kids have now attached such puritanical ideals as no premarital sex, no relations with the opposite sex, no caffeine, no meat products, no animal products (veganism), no, no, no. I received an email from one girl who thinks to be straightedge one must omit all excitement from their lifestyle, for excitement creates adrenalin and adrenalin is a drug.

Straightedge as Enrichment: A Lifestyle Beyond Restrictions

I propose that straightedge is not a lifestyle of have nots. It is not a lifestyle of sacrifice. Moreover, straightedge is a lifestyle of enrichment. When one free’s themselves of the vices of alcohol and drugs, their mind is not clouded. They are more able to lead an enriched life. A person who is edge is strong. They live every day without the buffer of alcohol and drugs. He or she has the courage of their convictions. They know what they want out of life, and they know it is better achieved with clarity of mind. Yet such ideals are hard to grasp at the ripe age of thirteen.

Evolving Understanding: Maturing Within the Straightedge Lifestyle

I claimed edge when I was fifteen. I readily admit I didn’t have the breadth of understanding of it that I do now. Yet as I have matured so have my ideals and views on straightedge. I’ve come to respect myself more, and I’ ve also learned to respect other’s decisions.

Diversity in Straightedge: Accepting Different Perspectives

I don’t think the entire world need be straightedge. I think the world would be rather boring if everyone were edge.

The Misguided Pursuit of Exclusivity in Straightedge

One thing differs from me and many of the kids I talk to today just getting into the movement. I never saw straightedge as an elite club. I never wanted to hurt anyone cause they weren’t edge. I never made up the rules as I went along, and that’s what it seems like kids are doing. They’re adopting ideals from all over the place and integrating them into their matrix of edge. They then decide that they can add and subtract tenants of the movement at will, molding it to form to them, and not viseversa.

The Burden of Keeping Up with Changing Straightedge Rules

It’s no wonder so many kids break their edge. They don’t know what it is you expect the rules to stay the same. But when you’re inundated with rules, and regulations that change every day, it’s hard to keep up. Straightedge becomes more of a chore than a positive lifestyle, and is hence given up.

Finding Balance: Straightedge and Everyday Living

So how does one balance straightedge pride with everyday life? The answer differs from person to person. Yet I would venture to say the most effective way to balance one’s life is learning tolerance. You may not agree with someone else’s beliefs, but they do have a right to them, just as much as you have a right to yours.

The Role of Tolerance and Respect in Straightedge Culture

Tolerance is not agreeing with someone, or even liking what they have to say. Tolerance is an understanding that a person has rights. With tolerance comes to respect, something we all could use a little more of.

Comments
Written by Guest on 2005-06-17 11:56:55Psotcards from the edge 
 
I don’t know what depresses me most about the strictures laid down by 
kelly brother concerning these young upstarts who dilute the 
straight-edgedness she’s grown up with like ancient traditions, the way of 
living which she presumably loves with all her healthy heart.  
 
It’s easy to find what I’m most annoyed by: simply tick off 
which items from my long list of lexical bigotries are highlighted by 
Kelly’s non-writing. Her faux-literary airs: 
 
I propose that straightedge is not a lifestyle of have nots 
Yet such ideals are hard to grasp at the ripe age of thirteen  
Yet I would venture to say  
irks  
refrain  
 
are in themselves excusable I’m guilty often enough of overly-complex 
linguistic flourishes, and who could possibly call me 
annoying? but when stored alongside bright lights or strong odours, they 
turn into capsicums (or compscisms, if you’re that way inclined) that 
present the dissembler less as a bumbling tryhard and more as an  
idiot: 
 
 
When one frees them selves 
 
Im all for the younger generations  
 
no one can conceivable live such a lifestyle 
 
One thing differs from me and many of the kids I talk to today 
 
And viseversa; is inexcusable on all levels: how could she have 
missed the pun? What happened to the freewheeling, devil-may-care sense of 
humour she demonstrates elsewhere? Oh. 
 
But what isn’t clear is how I’m made so miserable by this 
dishrag of an article. Weeell’s probably the demonstration of such 
traditional, illiberal preachiness, dressed up as forthright liberalism, 
by one so young. Strident and frequent proclamations of edge; (nothing to 
do with the guitarist) suggest that still thinks she’s in some way 
revolutionary, or trendy, or living an alternative lifestyle that 
constitutes a radical alternative: that she’s embracing diversity 
and promoting holistic mens corpore health. 
 
It doesn’t occur to her that she’s taken a new-age cobbledegook turned 
club-scene hegemony, calcified it and then used these commandments to 
squash and condemn a generation who don’t give two hoots what she thinks. 
Nor does she realize that, in making such a big old fuss about further 
postmodern chopping and changing, she’s no better than an eighty-year-old 
Times reader shaking his weak liverspotted fist at the youth 
of today, a prudish fingerwagger, a Mary Whitehouse of the X-treme 
lifestylers. She probably also thinks she’s making some astonishing, 
world-rocking point with her begging for tolerance at the end: won’t 
someone please, please think of the children? 
 
It’s a tragedy that the coolest and hardest-core of us all (with the 
possible exception of Bertrand Russell) inevitably become the sell-outs we 
once despised, mortality waxing like the acres of copy it’s provided 
Steven Wells with, the gift that keeps on giving. But it’s a double 
tragedy when the victim still believes he or she rocks like a mutha. And 
that’s what gets me down about Kelly. Square, post-hip jps, having flunked 
from Rock School and now working for the man, is but a little 
self-knowledge away from being her, and he is sore afraid 
Mother, wife, small business owner. www.justbuttons.org

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