Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ian MacKaye

"Straight edge is a subculture of hardcore punk whose adherents refrain from using alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs."

The term itself comes from a song written by Ian MacKaye when in the band Minor Threat named Straight Edge. The X's on the hands in this piece are a symbol of Straight Edge that started with the markings on underage kids' hands at shows, to show that they could not be served alcohol.

 What fascinates me about the "movement" itself is he himself has stated he never intended it as a movement and doesn't accept it as one, because movements end up losing sight of humanity and the individual.  I completely agree with this viewpoint and to be completely honest I think movements themselves are pretty silly.  Militant versions of this lifestyle have at times even created elitism, hate, and organized violence.  In truth what I now know as Straight Edge seems to be some bastardized twist on one man's words of self expression.  A legacy which its creator never intended. And that's what this portrait was about.

This of course scares me as an artist. The fact that something can be created be an individual, grow a mind of its own, and proceed to wander off down a path so far from the original intent and message is completely buried.  The catch is no matter what you will be forever associated with whatever happens with it and even sometimes credited.  It just has to be incredibly upsetting and serves as a reminder to me to be careful where my stuff ends up.

Anyway I just wanted to say I have tremendous respect for MacKaye and everything he's done for music.  Also that I've known lots of people and had a ton of friends that are Straight Edge, some of which treated it as a fad, some of which who really believe in it and have stood by it through the years and that it's unfortunate that a small minority of ignorant people left such a black cloud over it.

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