Dear Mr. Wayne,
Your article sucked and I want you to eat your words with a different kind of palette.
There comes a time in every scene kid’s life when they are forced to explain themselves to their parents. Aside from the odd behavior of boys stealing their younger sister’s jeans, writing large black “X”s on their hands, and listening to ear stabbing music that sounds more painful than Sonny Moore’s snake bites, scene kids have it hard when it comes to explaining their ways to people who just don’t get them. Accompanying the overly flamboyant fashion that juxtaposes their dark and somewhat murky opinions toward, well, anything “above ground,” this sect of children harbors some pretty heated feelings toward the world.
Parents seem to brush these nasty attitudes off their Polo sweaters and denounce and reduce their children’s emotional complexes to teenage angst, not necessarily taking into consideration that they may have a body count. But what these scene queens and ex-Myspace celebs actually do to drive their adult counterparts to confusion and regret of parenthood is this new craze called moshing.
One day, your parents will approach you after stumbling upon your Stumble Upon filled with videos of angry and sadistic white men screaming and yelling indecipherable code, causing crowds of underage children to flail and punch other people in the face with baseless reason. As most talks about strange culture usually unfold, it is extremely important to note how you handle this incredibly awkward and very compromising moment that will in turn have significant influence on how your parents will come to learn and understand what moshing is for the rest of their banal lives. As a loyalist to The Scene, you may feel moved to avoid the big “mosh talk,” but it is ill-advised not to, as it would be far easier to explain – and eventually demonstrate – an unbiased definition of moshing to them than having to rely on a Youtube video of an Attack! Attack! set during Warped Tour 2011 as a credible reference.
The first step to ignite this complicated and difficult conversation is to defend moshing as a normal aspect of life and that there is absolutely nothing folly in their inquiry about this violent rendezvous. Remind them they are parents, primarily, and that these are the very things they were raised to worry about while watching network television, mostly dealing with the scrutiny of this brutal culture that has become outlawed in many states around the country. But of course, they are more interested in your involvement and its significance it has to you because, after all, they can never bring themselves to judge a child as innocent as theirs.
You may want to first establish the demographics of this unexplainable sub-culture. Explain that moshing is a delicate coordination of impulsive movement that is usually provoked by the heavy “breakdowns” of America’s toughest hardcore bands. Emphasize that moshing is an integral part of American history, rooted in Boston and has promoted positive living amongst youth in due to the birth of the SXE movement.
Claim that this “dance” is most associated with troubled, lower-income, White youth, “throwing down” for the inner peace of their souls. Tell them that most of these kids come from the armpits of the East Coast and consider themselves “scum” of the Earth. Explain that they pride themselves off artificial elitism, justifying their need to mosh in order to creatively express their rage and uncouth behavior in a healthy and controlled manner. While most of these kids claim to live clean, sober and “straight edge” lifestyles, they also hold deep-seated hatred toward minorities, non-heterosexuals, women and people half their size. They are great people, you claim, because they taught you things about yourself you were not able to recognize without their unspeakable wisdom. You like the way it feels when you swing your arm behind your back, spin kick around the pit, and clear the area for your healthy release of rage and pent-up anger that your parents are responsible for.
However, your argument starts to clout when your parents begin to question some of the bad press that moshing has received in the past decade, pointing out that these hardcore bandits of White, prejudice, spiteful men spew messages that encourage their listeners and fellow moshers to take their rage out on others and “disrespect their surroundings,” landing hundreds – if not, thousands – of kids and bystanders in hospitals to become physically or even psychologically scarred. They will ask about groups like FSU who manifest hate and destruction in their hearts and ask why they use moshing to terrorize the public. Your parents will even go so far as to claim that bands with messages of reckless endangerment mimic the prevailing crime culture of rap music. You will laugh and reply “Black people don’t really mosh, they aren’t really into that kind of thing.”
They will then reply in desperate rebuttal, “why must these bands talk of brutal assault and murder in their lyrics?” They may follow-up this discovery with curiosity about why this type of music isn’t censored or attacked by media as much as hip-hop is, claiming that both are equally harmful to their listeners. They will also notice that moshing is physically harmful in controlled environments, especially when bands preach hetero-normative values to their fans, lyrically instructing them to “swing on” ‘fags,’ ‘pussies,’ and ‘clits in the pit.’ Suddenly, you are driven into a corner, forced to justify your generations’ behavior from these sad accusations.
You put forth a convincing argument in defense of these trouble making, New England grown, “beef” cooking, 30 plus year old college burnouts.
You claim that moshing isn’t necessarily for everyone, despite its façade of inclusiveness and wide-spread acceptance of difference. You say that the police just want to shut down the Scene because it takes away a lot of money from the firehouse of their neighborhoods that bands rent out to host local shows. You blame the prevailing intra-violent culture on a few bad apples, maintaining that the socially constructed norms at home are the only factors that play a role in the immediate attitudes they have toward others who exist outside of them. You point out that your parents’ generation had their rebellious movements – from sexual liberation to hyper drug culture – and that their own parents must have dismissed their behavior for raw deviance. You cry saying that there is nothing else you can do to transcend the unmanageable rage that inflames your heart, stating that if you did not choose to mosh, you would end up reverting back to cutting culture. And at this point, you feel like you have said too much.
So, your parents become half convinced and begin to reconsider this circular conversation with more questions. They inquiry whether if they can mosh in their cubicle when someone angers them. They become excited and try to discuss all the moves they would do in their boss’ office to challenge his superficial disposition, possibly “windmilling” or “two-stepping” on his file cabinets. Their eyes glimmer with hope, imagining “crowd punching” the secretary that looks at them all wrong when they come into the office late. Impulsively, your parents begin to plan their first office hardcore show. They are inviting everyone, writing in the subject line of the email blast, “BRING THE MOSH.”
You finally explode with rage and exclaim that they cannot bring the mosh, that they are not allowed to spin kick their bosses in the face, floor punch in the mail room, two-step with their friends in the bar afterhours. The Scene is the Scene, you demand, and you will not allow unwanted company in your safe space where you protect all your vulnerable, intimate and personal ways of feeling certain emotions with others who do not and refuse to understand you for who you are. However, with no avail, the conversation ends horribly, leaving your parents no choice but to burn your Scream the Prayer tickets, leaving you to cry yourself to sleep to the feathery sounds of Deja Entendu.
- Mosh Pit Metaphor (shoretelsky.com)
- Explaining Twerking to Your Parents (nytimes.com)
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