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rkmasex2
12-10-2004, 01:57 AM
Could somebody please explain the term "straightedge" to me?

I always assumed the term was attributed to the abstaining lifestyle.

Apparently there are many types of "straightedge" and some tend to take the thing to a different level.

Take for example this livejournal i stumbled across: http://livejournal.com/users/xasholex/

what the hell is she talking about?

They cant all be like this, right?

Nametag
12-10-2004, 02:07 AM
Straightedge, in that context, is a "hardcore" punk scene which emphasizes a sort of "body as a temple" ethic -- no drugs, no alcohol, and no casual sex (the three X's). The term is said to have been coined by Minor Threat, a band.

Spongemom
12-10-2004, 02:08 AM
The only way I've ever heard it used is pertaining to rulers and such, for getting a straight edge in Geometry class.

Learn something new every day, I suppose.

rkmasex2
12-10-2004, 02:14 AM
ohh, and to add and clarify:

no offense to anyone meant.
total respect for everyone and their views.

i just thought it was odd to be... hrm. angry, punky, but clean.
thats a rather neat thought.

I'm just still not thrilled with people that scream
"Look at me! i'm different"
No matter who they are.

even sven
12-10-2004, 02:31 AM
Straightedge is a subset of punk that emphasises being drug, cigarette and alcohol free. Some people extend that basic ethos to include self-imposed restrictions on sex, food, consumerism etc. It's a obviously a very idealistic movement, and most people involved are hoping that the youth of the world can turn away from distractions and destruction and start thinking about positive change. I think most people would be surprised to see how political, meaningful, hopeful and smart punk rock can be.

Like any punk movement, the people involved vary widely. Punk has always been a place of misfits, but in modern times it gets pretty intellectual.Sometimes this means you have passionate well-spoken and thoughtful people. Sometimes this means you get fifteen-year-old kids saying they are more hardcore than anyone else because they don't use soap made with beeswax like all the rest of the sheeple in Amerikkka.

I think punk rock movements in general remember that we were all fifteen once- angry, lost, bored, and desperate for something to believe in. Punk rock doesn't reject this- it looks at what it can do with all this energy. So yeah, your going to run in to some pretty rediculous people who can only talk about what rare records they have and how everyone is imitating punk rock nowdays (a complaint that dates back, I'm pretty sure, to the genesis of punk...eventually the kids figure out that punk rock has always been and alway will be co-opted, mainstreamed, corpratized and occasionally rocketed up to "trendy" status and stop worrying about it). And straightedge- a particularly extreme type of punk rock- attracts a bit more of the fanatics and a lot of people that see the world in black-and-white. But no, not all straightedgers are like the girl your linked to. I'd venture that most arn't.

-Sven, who was once a fifteen year old punk rocker herself.

moriah
12-10-2004, 03:24 AM
Straightedge, in that context, is a "hardcore" punk scene which emphasizes a sort of "body as a temple" ethic -- no drugs, no alcohol, and no casual sex (the three X's). The term is said to have been coined by Minor Threat, a band.

As the philosopher Meatloaf once said, "Two out of three ain't bad."

Cisco
12-10-2004, 04:34 AM
I knew a guy in highschool back in the mid-90s that discovered the straightedge movement and so desperately wanted to be a part of it that he immediately went out and tattooed a big fat X on the back of each hand. Before the scabs were even healed he had given up on the whole thing because he just couldn't quit smoking. Last time I saw him he was 25 years old, covered in arm, hand, and neck tattoos, and complaining through his multiple lip and septum piercings that he just couldn't find a decent job. The luck of some people!

ZipperJJ
12-10-2004, 10:31 AM
Wow kids are still sXe? Cool. I feel old having thought that, having grown up all the way back in the 90s.

I was friends with a guy like Cisco knew, too. Huge X's on his elbows (ouch!) then he decided that being high was more fun than being cool.

aeropl
12-10-2004, 01:24 PM
Straight edge people write (or tattoo) X or XXX on their hands, which originally came from the fact that bars do this to underage people who can't drink. Now it's a symbol for the movement. sXe is another shorthand for straight edge, and you can usually tell if someone is online because they wrap X's around their screenname or email (e.g. xrkmasex2x or xCecilAdamsx). Even some bands put x's around their name to signify that all the members are edge.

Unfortunately, for most people sXe is a fad even though they swear otherwise. I have a friend who was straightedge for many years and got tattoos and everything. He even had XXX tattooed on his lip. Like most of the people I know that were sXe, he isn't anymore.

Straightedge isn't just punk anymore, now most of the bands are a lot heavier and more metal sounding. Also in recent years violence has been one thing that some don't abstain from. In some areas male straighteders have formed into groups almost like gangs, and they generally go looking for fights. That certainly doesn't apply to every single straight edge person, but it has become a sensitive subject nowadays.

js_africanus
12-10-2004, 02:06 PM
Straight edge people write (or tattoo) X or XXX on their hands, which originally came from the fact that bars do this to underage people who can't drink.
When I bought my first Minor Threat album back during the Reagan Administration—I still have all the vinyl they ever released—I had never seen triple-X associated w/ hardcore punk. I always thought it was "hardcore" punk because it was hardcore in a similar sense to hardcore vs. softcore porn. Green Day and Blink 182 would qualify as softcore punk (if they qualify as punk at all).

Straight-edge hardcore, as I understood it, was an abbreviation of straight-edge hardcore punk rock. Punk being a subset of rock, hardcore being a subset of punk rock, and straight edge being a subset of hardcore punk rock.

Justin_Bailey
12-10-2004, 02:11 PM
That journal is pretty funny.

I'm individual! But I always wear my uniform!

I'm totally straight edge!

Everyone I know is straigt edge!

Don't make fun of straight edge people!

X many Xs X

Although I have to admit that any movement that creates a band called Death by Stereo can't be all bad. Anyone heard of them? What are they like?

GargoyleWB
12-10-2004, 02:14 PM
My brother was one for a time. The abstinences didn't include violence however, they all still went out for good ol' traditional boot-stompings, but targeted other non-straightedge punk and skin groups. IMO, they were just another group with shallow ideologies justifying their ignorant extremism.

Crandolph
12-10-2004, 02:26 PM
Straight-edge hardcore, as I understood it, was an abbreviation of straight-edge hardcore punk rock. Punk being a subset of rock, hardcore being a subset of punk rock, and straight edge being a subset of hardcore punk rock.

No way! Hardcore was hardcore, sXe was always a subgenre. It started with the Washington DC bands, primarily Minor Threat. The key songs I suppose would be "Straight Edge," "Out of Step" and "Bottled Violence." These were indeed radical ideas to introduce to the punk scene in the early 80s. The idea was originally that you kept your head "straight" in order to be more effective in society in promoting social change, but like every other belief system in drifted into the means becoming the end.

For a while there in the 80s every single punk band interview included the "Do you guys have the edge?" question! I have to say it was always surprsing to hear the level of which the non-edge people would respect the edge people as a personal choice, even when they thinking "I want a beer and some hot sweaty fun!"

As the 80s went on, the focus moved to NYC & the metal sounding bands like Sick of It All and Judge... I think this is when a lot of the "jock mentality" lunkheadedness came in, but there are always more than enough cool people to offset that.

I can remember seeing on a music blog a few months ago that someone posted a comic strip from c. 1912 that pushed abstinance from liquor with one character asserting he had a "straight edge," suggesting the term predates Minor Threat by almost a century. Anyone else see that?

ultrafilter
12-10-2004, 02:40 PM
As has been mentioned, the straight edge movement was spearheaded by Minor Threat. Their song "Straight Edge" appeared on their 1981 self-titled EP.

On their 1989 album Older...(Budweiser), Gang Green included a song titled "Why Should You", the main theme of which is that they just wanted to be left to drink their beer in peace. So it appears that the straight edge movement had become pretty prominent by then.

js_africanus
12-10-2004, 02:50 PM
No way! Hardcore was hardcore, sXe was always a subgenre.
Subgenre of what? DC hardcore was certainly distinct in and of itself, with Minor Threat being the flagship, so to speak, and straight-edge certainly meant no intoxicants, inter alia; however if straight-edge was was distinct from hardcore, what does "straight-edge hardcore" mean? I've always understood it in such a manner that Fear and Minor Threat are both hardcore punk, while Minor Threat is also straight-edge. Kind of like all dobermans are dogs, but not all dogs are dobermans.

When I was in highschool there was a thing that was like the "sXe" except that there was an "h" in the upper part of the "X" and a "c" in the lower part of the "X," signifying "straight-edge hardcore." FWIW, it seemed to be fairly novel in Detroit. I've never heard of straight-edge as being distinct from hardcore.

NinjaChick
12-10-2004, 02:51 PM
IME, the main problem with the 'straightedge' movement is that they're all trying to be punk, indiviual, into not conforming, etc.

Yet they endlessly harrass anyone who disagrees with them and...yep, criticizes us normal folk for having the nerve to imbibe in bodily pleasures. Hypocrites.

Derleth
12-10-2004, 03:03 PM
IME, the main problem with the 'straightedge' movement is that they're all trying to be punk, indiviual, into not conforming, etc.

Yet they endlessly harrass anyone who disagrees with them and...yep, criticizes us normal folk for having the nerve to imbibe in bodily pleasures. Hypocrites.Yes, we are all exactly the same. Every one of us looks, thinks, and acts the exact same way. Thank you for clearing that up: Obviously, my PROMs must need to be reburned, 'cause my programming's off.

:rolleyes:

Crandolph
12-10-2004, 03:06 PM
Subgenre of what?

Of punk rock, period. Hardcore is a musical style. Remember that in '81 there was still an admixture of poppier punk bands, the political hardcore bands, goth, plain old weirdness (Butthole Surfers for example), even sorta New Wave-y bands. Most "scenes" weren't large enough in most cities for these bands to play different venues, and the different punk subgenres were still communicating. You might have 3 to 5 very different types of bands on the same bill.

Take the other biggest DC hardcore band at the time, Bad Brains: hardcore punk but not sXe. Heck, they're Rastas and like their ganja... and became basically a reggae band.

AFAIK, all the 80s sXe bands were hardcore (in other words, they sounded like Minor Threat as opposed to Agent Orange or Crass or The Sun City Girls), but only some hardcore bands were sXe. Later in the 80s DC was cranking out a number of sensitive sXe bands, especially on the Dischord label, that no longer sounded like hardcore bands exactly. This would include Fugazi, Ian MacKaye's main project after Minor Threat broke up.

Crandolph
12-10-2004, 03:14 PM
Oops...sorry, js_africanus, I seem to have misread your post. We're saying the same thing. Never mind...

ultrafilter
12-10-2004, 03:14 PM
If one straight edge band sounds like hardcore, and another doesn't at all, on what basis can you say they play the same style of music?

aeropl
12-10-2004, 03:29 PM
IME, the main problem with the 'straightedge' movement is that they're all trying to be punk, indiviual, into not conforming, etc.

Another problem is that when you claim to live a life that is not harmful to your body (like not drinking or doing drugs), how do you justify all the tattoos, earlobe stretching, and other body modifications that most edgers have had done? Hopefully someone who is straightedge will show up and explain (or even debate in GD).

even sven
12-10-2004, 04:22 PM
Another problem is that when you claim to live a life that is not harmful to your body (like not drinking or doing drugs), how do you justify all the tattoos, earlobe stretching, and other body modifications that most edgers have had done? Hopefully someone who is straightedge will show up and explain (or even debate in GD).

I think it's more about what you do to your brain than your body.

Bill H.
12-10-2004, 04:25 PM
I'm going to take a wild guess that xgxlx is of this clan. and there's another xgirlx or such as well.

moriah
12-11-2004, 12:58 AM
I'm going to take a wild guess that xgxlx is of this clan. and there's another xgirlx or such as well.

What about: minxxx or Markxxx or xxxxxxx or piebaldxxx or Airblairxxx or Maxxxie or ShaolinRabbitxxx or Mycroft.xxx or xxxxlaw or texxxas57 or xxx_man or XXXXX or xxxxYYY y or vixXxen or frixxxx or xxxx or bheadxxx or RACHXXX?

And how do we know that they're sXe or just x-rated?

Peace.
------------
Unfortunately, can't do a member search on x*x or just those with an 'x.'

Cisco
12-11-2004, 01:34 AM
It used to be *very* popular (and probably still is) to put x's around your name on AOL because it looked cool or the name you wanted was taken. XchrisX, XjessicaX, and it went beyond with things like IXIjasonIXI, etc. I'm sure straightedge people do it but I would not say they started it or are the majority users of it. There simply aren't enough straightedge people to account for all the ornamental x's in screen names out there.

Ephemera
12-11-2004, 02:59 AM
I'm going to take a wild guess that xgxlx is of this clan. and there's another xgirlx or such as well.

I assume by xgirlx, you mean XJETGIRLX and if so, no. She created her user name before she had ever even heard of the straight edge movement.

Crandolph
12-12-2004, 03:49 PM
If one straight edge band sounds like hardcore, and another doesn't at all, on what basis can you say they play the same style of music?

It's a little complex because of changes through time. For the first 8 or so years I think pretty much every sXe band sounded pretty similar... hardcore punk. You started getting some more differentiated sounds, mostly out of DC, by the end of the 80s... acoustic guitars, longer "post-rock" song structures, etc. Most sXe bands are still pretty much straight ahead hardcore, but now - unlike 1982 - some of them sound different. If you name a sXe band in 1985, sight unseen, you can guess not only what they sound like but how they dress with a 99% accuracy.

I think it's a question of when you're talking about. One good analogy would be reggae and Rastfarianism. I'm sure that there are non-reggae rasta bands in the world, but the % of rasta bands who are is so high that you could almost use the terms interchangably, and many people do as shorthand. And yes, sometimes that ends up being inaccurate.

ruadh
12-12-2004, 05:22 PM
-Sven, who was once a fifteen year old punk rocker herself.

I'll go you one better. I was a fifteen-year-old punk in the DC area in the '80s. This thread is bringing back some serious memories.

At some point in the late '80s the DC skins all went straightedge. I was gone to San Francisco by then, but my brother told me about a skinhead approaching him to ask for a cigarette. When he took the pack out, the skin grabbed it and stomped on it, then stuck his finger in my brother's face and snarled, "Straightedge or die, motherfucker!"

Mirror Image egamI rorriM
12-12-2004, 10:20 PM
Here's an article on BME about the straightedge culture: Straightedge and Modified (http://bmezine.com/news/pubring/20031210.html)

Personally, I don't drink or do illegal drugs, but I would never identify myself as straight edge. I'm not a vegetarian or vegan, and I take prescription drugs, and some people are so vehement about the definition of straight edge that they'd argue that even eating cheese, wearing leather shoes, or taking ibuprofen means you aren't edge. It's easier just not to argue, because some of those edge kids can be real assholes (as evidenced by the "Straight edge or die, motherfucker!" episode). The only time I've ever worn X's on my hands is at concerts at bars, because I'm not 21. I do have stretched earlobe piercings, though, so take of that what you will.

Also, I can tell you that xgxlx isn't straight edge. His name is short for Green Lantern, and he is not always sober.

Rasa
12-12-2004, 11:20 PM
I have a confession to make.

I still, to this day, dot my lowercase i's with x's instead of dots. I started when I was in high school and into being sXe and just have never broken the habit.

As a kid who was scared to drink/smoke/do drugs, and too dorky to even remotely consider having sex, the straightedge movement was very attractive. I already listened to the music, so it was kinda like "Hey, SOME people think it's cool to be a dork like me!" Gave my teenage rebellion a good bent, at least. As I got older I did see what many here are talking about; the co-opting and violence just like any other "movement". But as a scared kid who felt like she was never good enough/"in" enough, straightedge gave me something "cool" and different to identify with.

Can we talk about krsnacore now too? :D

Hoshiko
12-13-2004, 01:51 AM
Rasa, I am so there with you. I'm glad I wasn't the only dork around, Krsnacore and all... :p

I just want to add that Ian McKay (founder of Minor Threat) has said that he never wanted to turn sXe into the movement it became. His original purpose with his songs was to curb the overindulgence and waste that he saw his "scene" endorsing. He wanted to let kids know that not giving into the pressures of society to do intoxicants was ok, and that they should make their own personal decisions and not follow the herd mentality that teenagers often have. He wanted them to use their energy and youth and anger and create something positive, rather than channel it into self-destructive behaviors. He was also very much against the racism and sexism that he saw examples of at shows he attended and played.

sXe has turned into much more now of course, with those violent and sometimes racist undertones that others have illustrated (as well as the trendy factor,) but as a Fugazi fan I have to say that he was a kid being a kid and started something that became much more violent than he expected or wanted. Every interview, show, and show footage I have ever seen has confirmed that he himself is generally respectful and intelligent, and he tries to maintain a sense of mutual respect at his shows.

Hoshiko, from SLC (which remains the wannabe sXe capital of the world.)

Trigonal Planar
12-13-2004, 02:00 AM
I like to think I'm pretty up on subculture, you know, down with the kids these days and all that...but at an age of 21, I must say I have never encountered this particular group, ever. Aside from hearing about it on discussion boards such as now, the only reason I know about this group is through a report on Dateline or 20/20 or something a few years ago. Evidently it has a fairly large following but throughout my 5 years of highschool and currently 3rd year of University, I have never once encountered this culture. Now, I grew up in white, (upper?) middle class suburbia outside Toronto. Perhaps this subculture is more of an American thing, or more restricted to urban areas?

Chairman Pow
12-13-2004, 08:54 AM
Perhaps this subculture is more of an American thing, or more restricted to urban areas?

Not necessarily. The only Straight Edge kid in my high school (suburb of Chicago) did it to piss off the other punks. Then he had a chance to get laid and dropped it (as it were). After that, the next guys I met were in college and came from rural Minnesota. While I'm not familiar with the Chicago punk scene, those I know who are in it are only vaguely aware that certain people are in it and don't know many (if any) personally.

Of course, we're all mid-20s and I think it's more of a high school-age thing.

CBCD
12-13-2004, 09:27 AM
[minor hijack]

Have any of you heard of the sXe band Tear it Up?

[/minor hijack]

Rasa
12-13-2004, 10:54 AM
Hoshiko, aah how I love krsnacore! Still do, to this day. The two scenes were fairly intertwined. For what it's worth, I'm 28, so I grew up in the heyday of Shelter, et al.

I'm from the 'burbs of RI, and the straightedge movement wasn't at all popular or widespread; I can only think of maybe 4 or 5 other kids that I knew that were into it as well. Wasn't much of a hardcore following in my suburban area back then!

ruadh
12-13-2004, 02:39 PM
I just want to add that Ian McKay (founder of Minor Threat) has said that he never wanted to turn sXe into the movement it became. His original purpose with his songs was to curb the overindulgence and waste that he saw his "scene" endorsing. He wanted to let kids know that not giving into the pressures of society to do intoxicants was ok, and that they should make their own personal decisions and not follow the herd mentality that teenagers often have. He wanted them to use their energy and youth and anger and create something positive, rather than channel it into self-destructive behaviors. He was also very much against the racism and sexism that he saw examples of at shows he attended and played.

sXe has turned into much more now of course, with those violent and sometimes racist undertones that others have illustrated (as well as the trendy factor,) but as a Fugazi fan I have to say that he was a kid being a kid and started something that became much more violent than he expected or wanted. Every interview, show, and show footage I have ever seen has confirmed that he himself is generally respectful and intelligent, and he tries to maintain a sense of mutual respect at his shows.


I basically agree with this, although I do think Ian himself took it a bit too far sometimes. I remember being at a show that Embrace (his post-Minor Threat, pre-Fugazi band) were playing at. In the middle of their set he stopped and said "Uh-oh, I see a circle forming back there". And he refused to allow the set to continue until the circle had broken up. Now I wouldn't be a circle dancer myself, but what the hell was wrong with letting people who wanted to form a circle do so? I thought he was being a bit of a dictator on that occasion. Like, he doesn't like circle dancing so therefore nobody should do it.

Maxxxie
12-26-2004, 06:25 PM
What about: minxxx or Markxxx or xxxxxxx or piebaldxxx or Airblairxxx or Maxxxie or ShaolinRabbitxxx or Mycroft.xxx or xxxxlaw or texxxas57 or xxx_man or XXXXX or xxxxYYY y or vixXxen or frixxxx or xxxx or bheadxxx or RACHXXX?

And how do we know that they're sXe or just x-rated?

Hey, don't involve me in this sordid little group! I'm all for smoking, drinking and shagging!

And now the awful truth: I spell my nick like this because... wait for it.... I'm triple-X rated baby!


Max :D

It's amazing what random vanity searches uncover!

Mathochist
12-26-2004, 06:44 PM
Straightedge, in that context, is a "hardcore" punk scene which emphasizes a sort of "body as a temple" ethic -- no drugs, no alcohol, and no casual sex (the three X's).

I've been under the impression that a major strain of "straightedge" goes so far as to impose this lifestyle on others. Light up at a show in view of a few sXe'rs and you may be swinging by the hospital before you go home.

ReuvenB
12-26-2004, 10:02 PM
Straightedge punk checking in.
I'm vegetarian (i'd like to go vegan, but according to my doctor, i can't do it without becoming anemic), never drink, smoke (tobacco or weed), or get laid (and i am proud to say i have had the chance and turned it down. i didn't think i'd be able to do it).
One of my main tenets is live and let live. I know most people on the scene aren't so into this, but to me, it's part of being straightedge. I don't pester anyone about giving up what they like to do in their free time unless they try to make me do what I don't want to.
Most of my friends are not straightedge, and I don't think it's so much of a nonconforming to conformity thing. If I wanted to go that direction, I wouldn't have ska as my second favorite subgenre.
I'd love to start an "ask the" thread, but unfortunately, I'm going out of town for a week on Tuesday, and I will not get a chance to use the computer tomorrow. If there's still interest then, I'll start one. Knowing the pace of this board, though, you'll have all forgotten about it by then.

ReuvenB
12-26-2004, 10:05 PM
Oh, and I forgot.
I'm also not into violence, except for the dumb--- who was trying to get the 9 year old kid to light up for his first time in front of a venue.

rfgdxm
12-26-2004, 10:14 PM
Comment: I've seen plenty of examples where "straightedge" was used by people not into punk rock. Often with just the meaning "totally drug free", with sex not being part of it.

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