Sunday, August 26, 2012
OK, folks. I grew up in a suburb of
Los Angeles called .
California Oxnard is an interesting
place there are parts of it that are worse than parts of Los Angeles
Proper. I grew up in one of the rougher neighborhoods, and area now referred to as the Rio Lindo District. Oxnard
also has some of the most affluent people living there too, especially on the
coast. I am a bit of a Music Geek, but I
did not know my hometown had its own Punk Movement. That Movement is called Nardcore of all
things. The bands from this movement
include Doctor Know, Aggression, Ill Repute, False Confession, Habeas Corpus,
RKL and Scared Straight.
The Kicker to this is where in
the Movement was based. That is the
affluent neighborhoods of
and Silver Strand. This was in the
Early Eighties when I was in Junior and Senior High School. The Original Punk movement in Oxnard Shores New
York was a Starving Artistic Movement and its
successor the London Punk movement was about rebelling against the upper
classes and government. The Nardcore
were rich kids most of them Skater or Surf Punks. Not much to rebel against, except for the
size of their allowance and non locals at their beaches.
I knew of these guys, but due to my economics situation I could not relate. When I did get into punk from
Southern California it was X, Suicidal
Tendencies, Bad Religion and Social Distortion.
These bands talked of similar struggles as I saw growing up. Except for
X and Suicidal Tendencies I did not get into Punk till I was in College. In Oxnard
I was into Hard rock and Heavy Metal.
Punk was expensive because most of it was new stuff you would have to
buy and sometimes you had to hunt down a record store that carried them. That was due to the fact they were on minor
labels. The kids in my neighborhood
would tape copies of their albums and tapes and trade them for ones they did
not have. Most of the Punk kids I knew
in Oxnard bought all their albums
So in the late Eighties I discover Punk and its various movements. I love the stuff it was nothing like what I experienced with privileged Punks in
Oxnard. Later about a few years ago I discover that
Nardcore existed. I look up the bands
and they are bands that all the guys who used to hassle me in high school listened
to, especially the guys from the Shore and the Strand. I have tried to listen to them, but I still
cannot get past the socio-economic differences and my history. That is just me. This Is My Not So Humble Opinion.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
The obvious theme in the X-Men comic books is racism. For me it had a very interesting resonance. Having been born with a Cleft Palate and Lip, I am what real world genetic mutation is like. It is not a beneficial thing in most cases in the real world. To a teenaged kid struggling with having a facial deformity, though minor, in 1980’s
California, the Uncanny X-Men was a revelation of sorts. It helped me accept my differences. Yes, the Marvel Mutants had wonderful,
amazing and extraordinary powers. In
many cases those offset any negative mutations.
I felt a kindred spirit though to those with more challenges like Rogue,
who could not touch another person without negative consequences. I liked Nightcrawler, who wore his mutation
on his skin, like I did. He like me
could not hide his differences. In
1980’s Southern California’s cult of physical
perfection, I felt definitely on the outside of normal. Now in retrospection, the cult of physical
perfection was not normal especially on the altar of plastic surgery.
I felt that no matter what I did or how much reconstructive I got, I would never measure up. I was a freak; the X-men taught me that is not necessarily a bad thing. The X-men themes included not just societal acceptance, but self acceptance. Some characters like Angel (pre-Apocalypse’s modification) and Beast reveled in their differences. That exampled helped me realized that being different may not be a curse, but a blessing. Whether by design or unintentional, the X-men helped many who felt on the outside of society see their differences as something wonderful.
Many have used the mutant struggle as analogy for the Civil Rights Movement, the Gay Lesbian and Transgendered Rights Movement, Religious and Cultural Tolerance, Body Modification sub-culture, and the Disabled Rights Movement. With the recent Things Get Better Campaign and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Anthem, these themes still resonate after almost fifty years of Publication. Be it race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, sexual identity or anything that can be used to divide people, the X-men speaks to those who feel left out of the norm or majority.
The Various Writers on the X-men Titles have explored almost every reaction to disenfranchisement: Extreme Militancy, Pacifistic Resistance, Isolationism, Integration, Self Loathing, and Self Aggrandizement. All of these themes resonate to the feelings of individuals feeling on the outside. Every human being needs and wants to be accepted by someone, but everyone fears rejection. The X-men calls to these feelings and fears, they also address those concerns in both a person and societal level. In the
the idea of being different, but part of something bigger also rings true. We are a country made up of many cultures,
Races, religions, and philosophies. So
the idea of the acceptance of anyone is part of our National Ideals. These ideals are not always practiced. The X-Men try to aspire to this Ideal. I think that is a noble sentiment. That is my not so humble opinion.