“What matters is this: being fearless of failure arms you to break the rules. In doing so, you may change the culture and just possibly, for a moment, change life itself.” – Malcolm McLaren
Why does punk matter? “Why the hell not” would be a perfectly punk answer. My name is Mariah McVey, and through my Capstone Thesis, an independent study opportunity available only to seniors, I intend to find out. I plan on attacking this behemoth of an essential question geographically, as well as chronologically; that is, I will track the trajectory of punk rock, beginning with New York City’s East Village in the nineteen seventies. The end of the seventies (the end of the century, according to the Ramones) allegedly killed punk. False. The end of the seventies forced punk to evolve, reincarnating as new wave and eventually grunge. Although the sound metamorphosed, the inherent need to push boundaries, and the Orwellian contempt for authority, lived on. My investigation will culminate in a field guide, wherein I dissect punk culture, while echoing the DIY aesthetic of the quintessential punk magazines.
If punk didn’t matter, its impact would only have been about as significant as Dee Dee Ramone’s rap career.