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Thread: Straight Edge as Subculture...

  1. #1
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    Straight Edge as Subculture...

    Greetings all,
    My name is Ryan and I am working on an anthropology research paper at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz, CA. I recently read Noah Levineís novel Dharma Punx, which documents the authorís difficulties with "society" and his struggle to find meaningful existence. Within this autobiography, Levine describes the Straight Edge movement, and I was intrigued by the disciplined, independent attitude this lifestyle requires, and while I am not Straight Edge, I respect the strength required to go against social norms and stand up for personal beliefs. I would greatly appreciate any feedback on the following questions, and thank you in advance for you time.

    1) In your words, what is straight edge? How/when did you discover it initially, and how did you learn more about it?
    2) How can you tell if someone is straight edge (differences in appearance / habits / personality)? How do you feel different from the average population? What differences do you notice among those calling themselves Straight Edge?
    3) Have you noticed geographical differences among the Straight Edge population (is the Bay Area different from the East Coast from internationally)?
    4) Has technology (internet chat groups like this) changed anything? More music options, more shows, more community dialogue?
    5) What challenges has this lifestyle presented? Is living Straight Edge a choice for life, or a phase for most people?
    6) Is being Straight Edge different for guys than girls?
    7) How has your practice/choices/decisions changed over time?
    8) Has straight edge become more mainstream (with a pro-wrestler and Nike stealing a Minor Threat cover for itís marketing)? Is it more widely accepted, known about, or more fragmented (is ďdonít drink, donít smoke, donít fuckĒ enough? Can someone who is sincerely Straight Edge eat a hamburger)?
    9) Any recommendations for Straight Edge / Punk shows coming up in Santa Cruz, CA?
    10) What else? What should I be asking? What would you want others to understand about being Straight Edge?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by santaryancruz View Post
    Greetings all,
    My name is Ryan and I am working on an anthropology research paper at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz, CA. I recently read Noah Levineís novel Dharma Punx, which documents the authorís difficulties with "society" and his struggle to find meaningful existence. Within this autobiography, Levine describes the Straight Edge movement, and I was intrigued by the disciplined, independent attitude this lifestyle requires, and while I am not Straight Edge, I respect the strength required to go against social norms and stand up for personal beliefs. I would greatly appreciate any feedback on the following questions, and thank you in advance for you time.

    1) In your words, what is straight edge? How/when did you discover it initially, and how did you learn more about it?
    2) How can you tell if someone is straight edge (differences in appearance / habits / personality)? How do you feel different from the average population? What differences do you notice among those calling themselves Straight Edge?
    3) Have you noticed geographical differences among the Straight Edge population (is the Bay Area different from the East Coast from internationally)?
    4) Has technology (internet chat groups like this) changed anything? More music options, more shows, more community dialogue?
    5) What challenges has this lifestyle presented? Is living Straight Edge a choice for life, or a phase for most people?
    6) Is being Straight Edge different for guys than girls?
    7) How has your practice/choices/decisions changed over time?
    8) Has straight edge become more mainstream (with a pro-wrestler and Nike stealing a Minor Threat cover for itís marketing)? Is it more widely accepted, known about, or more fragmented (is ďdonít drink, donít smoke, donít fuckĒ enough? Can someone who is sincerely Straight Edge eat a hamburger)?
    9) Any recommendations for Straight Edge / Punk shows coming up in Santa Cruz, CA?
    10) What else? What should I be asking? What would you want others to understand about being Straight Edge?

    1. Straight edge is a movement within the hardcore music scene where kids abstain from drugs, drinking and smoking and share a common reasoning that these things are not necessary for fun and enjoyment. I initially found out about straight edge when i began to learn about N.Y.H.C (new york hardcore), within some records there were x's with the letters N.Y.H.C or S.E.H.C (straight edge hardcore) placed around the X, that was when i first looked into what it was and actively found out about it. To learn more i picked up more hardcore records and would seek out bands on the same label or bands that had been given mentions in the liner notes of other records. I also searched for hardcore in my country and eventually stumbled upon some UK bands and shows which opened things open a lot more.

    2. Some people will give away the fact they are straight edge with their appearance, perhaps tattoos, band shirts and the like but its just as common for a straight edge person to look similar to everyone else, i know that i can't be recognised as straight edge from my initial appearance and to be honest i don't think habits or personality give it away either.

    3. I have noticed a few differences, more often than not i have heard about differences rather than experienced them first hand. In some areas there is a pretty lame tough guy attitude - it is something that tends to show up in all kinds of places and sometimes it sticks and becomes a little prevailing for a while but it tends to destroy itself by attracting the asshole element. For the most part it seems the world has grown pretty small and things are quite similar however there are some regional differences like some areas will see veganism as a definitive element of sxe whilst others see it as pretty much unrelated.

    4. As i became involved with straight edge there was very little on the internet but that has changed quite a lot now and bands are so much more accessible and shows have become a more accessible affair, where as before you relied up on word of mouth and flyers its now something that can be spoke about with pretty much no boundries. Which means if you aren't in the immediate area you can hear about shows and get involved, the internet is a great source of communication and allows people from hardcore scenes all over the world to discuss things with others.

    5. looking at the numbers it would seem like a phase for most, its definitely orientated toward younger people more but for others it becomes an integral part of them that carries through into later life. As you get older you may begin to interact with straightedge in a different manner due to life choices and the like but the core values and opinions and ideas shared can stick with you for life. As for it being a choice for life, well it depends how you look at it, its a choice you make for now that can be a choice you continue to stick with throughout your life but that choice to stick with it remains in the now and isn't dictated by a choice you made in the past - people change and their opinions and choices change with them.

    6. I'm only a guy so i can only speak of experiences as a man. There are vastly more guys involved and sometimes women have to work harder to be a part of things and be taken seriously. Which of course is wrong and is spoken out about regularly by a lot of bands, women are just as important and just as valuable to the scene.

    7. I feel the question is a little vague.

    8. Straight edge remains within hardcore and whilst people do try to seperate it from hardcore and make it some kind of cool gimmick it really remains what it is and the people involved in hardcore keep that alive. Ever since it began there have been people trying to use hardcore and straight edge as a vehicle to further their own ideas and use it as a way to recruit people to their way of thinking. Thankfully hardcore kids for the most part have been savy enough to recognise that...just don't mention krishna! "don't drink, don't smoke, don't fuck" is not enough purely because those are some words thrown away so idly often without consideration as to where and what they came from and what they actually pertain to. They are words from a band that also wrote a song called straight edge that gives a better insight into what straight edge is, but thats one band and that band also wasn't about straightedge becoming what it did. That was down to the people that adopted that term to describe hardcore kids that abstain from drugs and live clean, so what is enough to fit the term is to be a hardcore kid that abstains from drugs, drink etc. Someone can easily be straightedge and eat a hamburger, the majority of straight edge scenes accept that veganism or vegetarianism is not definitively a part of straightedge, its simply just that a fair amount of people are both straight edge and vegan.

    9. sorry, no. wrong country.

    10. simply that straight edge does not exist outside of hardcore, its more than simply being free from drugs, the hardcore is a hugely defining element.
    Others walk the bow, I walk the string

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