March 2, 2017

The argument for putting the label "punk" on Trump.

Drudge linked to this piece in The Week by Scott Galupa, who talked to Daniel Wattenberg, an author  who "bounced around the punk-rock scene of New York City in a variety of bands" and wrote a 1996 Weekly Standard essay on "the unorthodox right-wing roots of punk rock."
New York-centered punk began as "an intramural insurrection within the counterculture," he says. It was the punks vs. their somnolent, sententious hippie older brothers and sisters, who had for years propounded what Wattenberg calls the "reverse pieties" of anti-Americanism and anti-commercialism and white guilt.
That does sound Trumpish.
Wattenberg says Trumpism was "an insurrection against Conservatism Inc." — a political establishment that had become flabby, complacent, and self-indulgent in the same way that 1970s progressive rock music had grown bombastic, pretentious, and long-winded. 
In this analogy, the GOP establishment corresponds to hippies.
Then there's Trump's seeming amateurism — his "inexperience and rawness," Wattenberg says. Just as punks weren't trained musicians, Trump is frequently assailed for not playing politics the right way, that is, the professional way. 
Very good point, though it credits ordinary politicians with more structured skill and expertise than they deserve.
When Wattenberg hears the media establishment pounce on Trump for falsehoods, misstatements, or exaggerations, he hears echoes of musical sophisticates belittling punk rock for its primitivism. Trump may get lost in the details, but he gets the big things attitudinally right. Put another way: He may know only three chords, but Wattenberg says his followers hear the "right three chords."...

"There's power in [the rejection of political correctness]. Punks were also occasionally misrepresented as harboring fascist sympathies. Once they call you a fascist, there's nothing more than they can say. That's the source of excitement Milo [Yiannopoulos] generated on campus: 'We're free again.' That's the thrill and the power of busting taboos."
Excellent analogy. This article turned out to be much better than I thought it would be.

40 comments:

YoungHegelian said...

But ya gotta admit -- Melania is a lot hotter than Nancy Spungen.

Laslo Spatula said...

Applicable Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) quotes...

“If you are pissing people off, you know you are doing something right”

“You should never, ever be understood completely. That's like the kiss of death, isn't it? It's a full stop. I don't ever think you should put full stops on thoughts. They change.”

“It's a repressive society where you can't be horrible, I'm not horrible, they made me horrible, I'm just honest.”

“I'm not very good at handling stupid people. I must admit.”

And the infamous:

“Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?”

I am Laslo.

Bob Boyd said...

Traveling through Zion thinking about rock.

traditionalguy said...

Boo, said the taboo police. Ant Trump and his companion Milo laugh at them. They cannot fight laughter.

The EU has made accusing Muslims of being different from Christians into a HATE CRIME.. Those Europeans had better learn to laugh at the taboo police, fast. Giving Europe away seems to be the first Act. We are next.

madAsHell said...

The really successful punk rockers grew up, and bought Harley's. On Sundays, they ride the interstate in large groups with the Stars-n-Stripes.

Nonapod said...

If the establishment is a massive progressive bureaucratic machine, then being anti-establishment is being anti-progressivism I guess.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Oh, and Rocket to Russia.

buwaya said...

Sigh, I dont look good in those clothes.
And the safety pins and etc. are right out.
There has to be another way to look edgy.

St. George said...

Highest possible praise.

Trump rocks.

dreams said...

Daniel Wattenberg is the son of Ben Wattenburg, I respected his dad.

Earnest Prole said...

I stumbled upon the Ramones at the Warfield in San Francisco in the winter of 1979, and my lasting memory is the audience standing on the arms of the theater seats during “Commando” and jabbing the air with their fists:

First rule is "the laws of Germany"
Second rule is "be nice to mommy"
Third rule is "don't talk to Commies"
Fourth rule is "eat kosher salamis"

rhhardin said...

In the case of political correctness, the taboos are idiotic.

wwww said...



ok, no.

Trump is not a Tory Conservative. He is not someone who worries about preserving institutions. He's ok with "creative destruction."

But he is a preppy who plays golf. Not a punk.

CStanley said...

More New Wave than punk, but the post reminded me of a song no from a band called the Cold that was very hot during my high school years in New Orleans. The song is Three Chord City

One's not enough, four's too many so we're stickin' with three-ee-ee-ee.
Don't augment my mind with too many changes
Just keep it simple and don't rearrange
Your progressive chords anymore
'Cause it's time to hit the flo-or
Goin' to Three Chord City
I really wanna take you there.

Balfegor said...

Punks were also occasionally misrepresented as harboring fascist sympathies.

Mis-represented, okay . . . but when you go around flaunting swastikas it's not an unreasonable interpretation. Very different from calling Trump or Milo a Nazi -- they're not prancing around flashing Nazi emblems like our friends in the Ukraine.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

The Ramoes give Commies the thumbs down

HJA said...

My only problem with people analogizing punk rock is that it reminds me of that Jeremy Davies Subaru commercial from the early 90s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLhfxI8T2cU

St. George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
St. George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
St. George said...

London Calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls
London calling, now don't look to us
Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust

Oso Negro said...

Heh. Trump as punk was posted here last month by yours truly. I also suggested Romeo Void as the proper soundtrack over Amy Winehouse.

Jack Wayne said...

If you want to go down rabbit holes discussing Trump as Punk, then discuss The Who as the first punk band.

JackOfClubs said...

I haven't read the linked article yet, but I predict that it will be illustrated by an image of Trump with a mohawk. Incidentally, if you are going to write an article about punk, you shouldn't use words like "intramural insurrection" or "attitudinally". Say it in Anglo-Saxon!

JackOfClubs said...

Nailed it. Although I didn't expect the mohawk to be red.

William Chadwick said...

Not a Trump fan, although I am enjoying how he gives The Scummiest People on Earth the fantods; but I always laugh when I hear Leftists accuse Trump of "falsehoods." This from a people whose socioeconomic policies consist, essentially, of "legalized plunder" (to use the classic Bastiat phrase), and who gave the world "There is no truth but socialist truth."

mikeski said...

Punk Rock was the "simple" answer to the complexities of Progressive Rock.

Makes sense to me.

Unknown said...

But he is a preppy who plays golf. Not a punk.

When the dominant culture is sleepwalking its way through anti-normal dogma, a preppy playing golf is punk.

Nyamujal said...

When I think of Trump I think of Ted Nugent and not the Sex Pistols.

Saint Croix said...

Punks were also occasionally misrepresented as harboring fascist sympathies.

I was struck by the swastika on Sid Vicious' t-shirt in an interview.

I don't think Sid was a Nazi, by the way.

He just liked to piss people off.

That's probably why the Sex Pistols wrote the biggest anti-abortion song of them all. Wanted to outrage the liberals of the UK.

The only real competition for strongest anti-abortion song is Pat Boone.

(He is singing about this Supreme Court case, by the way).

I'll bet you thought the Sex Pistols and Pat Boone had nothing in common!

urbane legend said...

Three chords is about 90% of all rock music, maybe 97%, not just punk. All blues rock is three chords.

Saint Croix said...

Johnny Rotten = Donald Trump

Pat Boone = Franklin Graham

Earnest Prole said...

HJA: Thanks, I had forgotten

Drew W said...

I remember when Danny Wattenberg was in a punk band. I was at college with him. I should read the article. I can't say I was much of a fan of his band.

Valentine Smith said...

I know/knew (by no means friends) one of the drummers for The Ramones. Very real guy from the boroughs,Queens I think though I know him from Brooklyn. Labels ain't exact but small c conservative would capture his attitude.

Stephen Jack said...

here is a section from the prog brittania documentary on how punk affected prog (the establishment of the mid 70's) Interesting parallels. Punk was a reaction and punk was about DIY and no need for credentials or experience. But eventually the punks learned to play their instruments 😉

https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=OznWCu8oGgs

Valentine Smith said...

Also Johnny Ramone was actually quite an ardent righty. By his own repeated declarations.

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Saint Croix said...

Jimmy Buffett = Gary Johnson

Lem said...

Shoot. I passed on it thinking it was another anti Trump diatribe.

Hari said...

Trump's next move will be to move up the Obama chain of command, asking former officials to deny the claim. Is Loretta Lynch willing to say that Trump's claim is false? If not, why not? Is she going to pull a Lois Lerner? Are the NYT and the WP willing to state that they did not receive transcripts of Trump's phone conversations?