Punk SLC and the Disappearance of Hardcore

Sat Feb 26, 2005

Punk SLC is probably the only movies I’ve seen that captures the zeitgeist of the late ’80s / early ’90s, but it doesn’t do a good job of explaining why the hardcore scene fell apart.

I think someone needs to write an authentic history of our generation’s struggle with youth cultures. We need a new interpretation of our youth, one that isn’t cynical and dismissive of the energy we put into things like punk, heavy metal, grunge and slacker culture. 

The Boomers have no problem articulating a glorious myth about their youth -- it is, in fact, their most guarded fable -- but whenever our generation looks back to our violent teens and early 20s we see nothing but waste. This is embedded in our worldview, a carry-over from the postmodern reality we experienced then, but we better carve some meaning from it soon or it will be swept away.

In some ways, I think those of us who flirted with hardcore cultivated hatred toward one another, daring each other to go further, to bring this violence into the world. It was bad chemistry and somewhat dangerous, but it happened. It was real and like the character in Punk SLC, I felt a little lost at time, sometimes angry and frustrated at a world that didn’t hear me.

As mysterious as it is to me how the energy of those hardcore years could suddenly dissipate, it’s just as strange that they existed at all. Maybe to combat a culture that wouldn’t accept us we created a culture that no one could accept, that was like a bitter pill that wouldn’t go down.

The funny thing is that now we can look back and see nothing at all from the hardcore movement, not even the exhaust fumes left after a jet explodes. After years of tell the media ton screw off, the media did just that.


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