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Straightedge: The Ultimate Rebellion

Originally Published: Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Written by: Kelly Brother

Redefining Rebellion: The Straightedge Perspective

“It’s normal in society for someone to say, “Oh god, this weekend I got so drunk, I passed out I puked, and I don’t remember what I did. No one even blinks an eye at that. Where a straightedge kid doesn’t do any of that and everyone thinks they’re crazy…It’s the ultimate rebellion….” Ian MacKaye, of the band Minor Threat.

Punk Rock and Straightedge: A Contradiction in Rebellion

It’s ironic that straightedge arose out of the punk rock scene. A scene, which traditionally abhors convention and corporate America, but at the same time follows the same pattern of rebellion as the very society that it is rebelling against. It’s as if all the kids around the world have instructions on how to rebel: Drink, do drugs, and fuck around — then you’re a badass.

Straightedge: The Ultimate Punk Statement

“It seems punker than punk to be straightedge, like you’re knocking everything. You’re not going to bow down to any kind of stereotype, and it’s really hard-core not to have any buffer, just take life as it comes. There’s no crutch” (CIV) A lot of kids confuse self-destructiveness with rebelliousness. Wherein, a straightedge kid can rebel and still remain, physically and mentally intact. How much progress can be made when one is incapacitated most of the time Straightedge kids have the clarity of mind to become effective revolutionaries.

Challenging Conventions: Straightedge as a Form of True Rebellion

Some circles assert that straightedge is a cop-out, a crutch in and of itself. I submit that when one has the self-restraint, and strength within them not to bow down to the pressures of society, not to conform to the standards of what a “good time” should be, then that person is not relying on a crutch, but is, in essence rebelling against the standards of rebellion. Straightedge should not, however, be an elitist group. People who claim edge are not inherently better than those who do not. There is a fine line between straightedge pride and elitism. It is all too often that that line is crossed by individuals who claim to be edge today and break their edge tomorrow.

The Fleeting Nature of Rebellion: Straightedge Today, Gone Tomorrow

Those who follow the latter are generally rebelling just for the sake of rebelling and have no true conviction.

Mother, wife, small business owner.

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