“The White Noise Supremacists” [PDF] (from the Village Voice, 1979) by Lester Bangs is about racism in the famous New York City punk scene. It’s a touching and honest piece of writing.
I figured all this was in the Lenny Bruce spirit of let’s-defuse-them-epithets-by slinging-’em-out in Detroit I thought absolutely nothing of going to parties with people like David Ruffin and Bobby Womack where I’d get drunk, maul the women, and improvise blues songs along the lines of “Sho’ wish ah wuz a nigger / Then mah dick’d be bigger,” and of course they all laughed. It took years before I realized what an asshole I’d been, not to mention how lucky I was to get out of there with my white hide intact.
Anyone who went through a punk scene is going to recognize most of what Bangs talks about. Hopefully, they also grew up enough to reach the same conclusions.
Cause this punk thing gets glamorized an awful lot. Old farts hold it up to the kids as something to copy and admire. But anyone who actually went through a punk scene –any punk scene– can and should tell you that there always was a dark and really fucking stupid side to it.
And not in any hip n’ glamorous Sid n’ Nancy sorta way. Just in a childish and ridiculous and ignorant way. The sort of thing that should make you cringe when you get out of it.
Punk is nothing to emulate. Nostalgia kills.