Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Portland Soul

Recently I took one of those personality tests that swarm all over Facebook.  This one was do you have a Hippie, Punk or Goth soul.  Generally I have considered myself somewhat Hippie-ish.  I am a Neo-Pagan, I believe in Peace, Love and Understanding (yes, I got that from Elvis Costello).  I believe in conservation and ecology, and I believe the more natural things are better for us.  When I took the test, I came up with a Punk soul.  At first, I was thinking what the hell.  Then I realized that I also follow the Punk ethos.  I believe in creating something for the love of it not to make money.  I am for those who do it themselves and keep Big Corporations out, for example: self publishing authors, self releasing musicians with out a big recording contract, artists that give and/or show their art on the internet for all to see, and podcasters that do it themselves without sponsors other than fans. Punk was known for its do it yourself attitude.

When I was a kid I would not have believed that computers with help the Punk ethos in the next century.  It has, the internet, home computers, tablets and smart phones have made it easy to exchange ideas and art.  It has given those in creative pursuits a way to directly connect to possible audiences.  This has scared the living hell out of the traditional media gatekeepers (Music Corporations, Film and Television Conglomerates, Printed Media Concerns, and the Mega Publishers).  Now to re-gain control they are threatening the Net Neutrality using our government against us. 

Back to the point, the Ethos of the Punk Movements I agree with.  When I was a teenager, the Punk I was exposed to was a Suburban Punk more about aggression and less about a movement.  The two original Punk Movements, the New /York 1970’s Movement and the subsequent British Punk Movement of the 1970’s were are about art and expression (New York) and political rebellion against an eroding political and economic climate (Britain).  When I discovered those roots in University, I feel in love with Punk.  I never have identified myself as a Punk or Punker. 

In my old age I tend to shy away from many labels.  I feel kinship to the Hippie Movements and various Punk Movements, but I rarely consider myself either.  When I took the test of the three types, I knew I was not one, Goth.  The Goth Movement and its connection to death and dying never appealed to me.  As someone who has skirted death multiple times, never by design, it never appealed to me.  I tried to get involved with various Goth type groups.  My Optimism always made me slightly out of place with the people I encountered.  I am not saying they were indicative of the Goth Movement; just I rubbed many of them wrong and vice versa.   I have some dear friends, who I suspect are Gothic types, they accept me for who I am and I do the same with them. 

Here is the wonderful thing about discovering my connection to both Hippie and Punk Cultures and Movements, it is so wonderfully PortlandPortland, Oregon seems to be one of the places in the U.S. where you see the two philosophies collide and create something new.  At this time I do not know of any label for it.  Does really need one?  In the 1970’s the Punk Movement poked fun of the failed Revolution of the Hippie Movement.  Now you see the two begin to merge.  The two had some serious similarities, both pushed people to be wildly independent of the consentual reality and society in general.  They both were serious non-conformist cultures.  Both are anti-establishment and anti-status quo.  In retrospect they are more complementary than you would think.  There are sections of both cultures that would never play nice with each other.  That is part of being human.

Portland also has a Goth community too.  It is murky and dusky for most of the year.  The otherworldliness of Portland is why the producers of Grimm chose it as a setting.  The reason why Hippie and Punk work so well here is because of the nature of this city.  It has a very do-it-yourself and damn the haters mentality.  It is about finding your bliss and making it your life.   It is a city of iconoclasts.  It is a city where nothing is sacred, but anything can be sacred.  It is the weird melting pot of Nerds, Geeks, Punks, Hippies, Goths, Weirdos, Intellectuals and anything goes. 

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