11/15/10

Good News: Kids, Punk, Sexual Innuendos--Still Relevant

By The Associated Press
FORKS, Wash. — About a dozen students were suspended Tuesday at Forks High School for wearing T-shirts with the name of the 1970s punk rock band Sex Pistols.

The superintendent, Diana Reaume, says students caused a disruption by handing out the shirts just before classes started.

One student, Devin Chastain, who was student body president last year, told The Peninsula Daily News it was a demonstration to support a student who wore a Sex Pistols T-shirt on Monday and was told to change.

“Sex Pistols is not a sexual innuendo. It’s homage to an important band.”
–Devin Chastain, suspended student, Forks High School, Forks, WA.

While discussing this story with some friends, a girlfriend said that she found it ironic that the people suspending these kids were probably people like us that loved the Sex Pistols when we were their age. And I don’t doubt that at all. But what she doesn’t realize and what Devon Chastain doesn’t realize is that getting suspended was the perfect end result of wearing a Sex Pistols t-shirt to school.

Punk—which started as a rebellion against conventional rock-n-roll and fashion, roughly 36 years ago—has been far too safe for far too long now. Just because a kid is wearing skinny jeans and a flannel doesn’t mean he likes the new No Age record (or even knows that No Age is a thing that exists,) it just means that that’s what they were selling at J.C. Penny’s going back to school sale. Case in point: look at these kids.

Pic taken from Komo News.com




















See anything threatening about them? Nope, me either.  Put yourself in the shoes of one of their peers and the answer is still no. Let’s say you’re the on the football team. Do you wanna kick that guy in the earflap beanie’s ass? No, probably not. You wanna know why? Because he’s your quarterback. That’s just how the kids dress these days.  The only thing that differentiates these guys from the normies is that they stenciled Sex Pistols on their v-necks.

If you’ve seen Social Distortion in oh, say, the last hundred years, you’ve heard Mike Ness give the same old tired speech about how “In my day if you were going to have green hair, eyeliner and wear a Sex Pistols shirt you had to know how to use your fists ‘cuz someone was going to try to kick your ass.” And as exhausted and misguided (especially to an audience that paid thirty+ dollars to see you) as that speech is, he’s absolutely right. Punk is supposed to be special.  It's not supposed to be normal.  Kids shouldn’t get to attempt punk without some consequences—you know, something to legitimize it.

I’m not saying anyone should get beat up for the way they dress.  In the grand scheme of life, a school suspension is not that big of a deal, really.  But to a bunch of kids that made their own Sex Pistols t-shirts because they saw K-Stew do it as Joan Jett in The Runaways, a school suspension is the perfect thing to authenticate it.  Devin Chastain and her peers made a rad statement. But it wouldn't have been half as rad if Dian Reaume didn't hold up her end of the deal as the authority figure.  This way it works out for everybody.

And for us elders, well, we are reminded that the Sex Pistols, and in a larger sense—punk, is still relevant.
 
And that warms our little old hearts.
-Nathan O'Brien


Nathan O'Brien, is an artist, writer and  self-described "aging hipster punk normie."  He lives in south Minneapolis with his girlfriend,  cat, and many bicycles.  The Sex Pistols are his favorite band of all time.  To this day he still wears the same t-shirt that got him suspended for three days in 8th grade.

17 comments:

  1. The only consequences you suffered were that you didn't get to fuck maybe three chicks in college because they didn't go for guys that cut their own hair and wore bomber jackets. Otherwise you got fuck pretty mucha anyone you wanted, right?

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  2. Nice point of view. Never thought of it that way. The immediate reation is of course "Hey, leave those kids alone." Way to kill it, nob.

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  3. I know what you are trying to say here, but you need a little work if you're going to call yourself a "writer."

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  4. Is it Devin or Devon? I've seen it both ways. Also the number of suspended stuents ranges from 8 to 25 depeding on which story you read.

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  5. Good call on the Joan Jett Runaways thing. They probably love that movie because KStew also played in the vampire movies set in their hometown.

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  6. K-Stew haha love it! Trademark that quick before Michael K steals it.

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  7. Great piece NOB and fairly free of foul language and lewd commentary to boot!

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  8. I doubt Michael K looks at this sight. He doesn't even look at his own site, judging from all the terrible ghost writing that goes on there. At least here you can tell it's one person wriing under various monikers.

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  9. Also, this is a really good post.

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  10. Why are you such an asshole?

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  11. I realize the joke is to come on here and call people assholes and say how terrible everything is but I have to admit this was very good.

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  12. Best post in a while. It would be ok to hear more from this chap.

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  13. ok guys, this is my kid. her name is Devin. she loves all aspects of music and the dirtier the better. she and her fellow protesters are very well versed in the topic of the Sex Pistols. one of them spent two weeks studying them for a high school project. there is one thing i cannot say with a strong enough voice...they DID NOT make these tee shirts because they saw k-stew do it. as a matter of fact they would be absolutely offended at the reference. these kids are absolutely amazing and know their First Amendment rights...if you knew the way they were treated during the suspension process you would be appauled. it's like reading Tinker v DeMoines, virtually parallel stories.
    *forkschick*

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  14. Hey forkschick, thanks for the comments. I am pleasantly surprised to be hearing from someone so closely involved with this story. I must admit I didn't see that one coming.

    First of all, I want to say that I admire your daughter and her friends more than you could ever imagine. In retrospect, I see I could have made that clearer when I wrote this.

    Secondly, I want to clear something up about the K-Stew comment. I wasn't necessarily saying that that was the exact case with Devin and her friends, I was just generalizing about "the kids today", so to speak. I admit perhaps it was an easy pot-shot, considering K-Stew's role in the T-word series and the connection to your hometown. I'm glad to hear that the kids have done their homework on the Sex Pistols. Devin's quote about them could not be more true!

    They like to keep things on light side here on HDD, so I skipped the First Amendment rights angle all-together; instead choosing to focus (even if scatterbrained) on the broader importance of rebellion in punk and its subsequent dissolution over the last 30+ years, and how incidents like this help to restore/reinforce the connection between the two.

    Thanks again for your comments. Feel free to contact me anytime. Otherwise, give the kids my support, and good luck. Upwards and onwards!

    -Nathan
    nateobrien@hotmail.com

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  15. forkschick, the desired result of most of the "writers" on this site is to elicite some sort of negative response. The norm on here is to pick the least popular opinion, pretend thats the side your on and hope a bunch of people leave pissed off comments. it must be effective because it works nearly everytime. that or the readers of this blog are suckers.

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  16. Very interesting take. I am also a parent of one of the suspended children. I had not thought of the suspension as a good thing but after reading this, I can at least make sense of where you're comming from. However, that is about as far from what actually happened as you can get.

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