What Went Wrong With… Counter Culture?

A parody of the Anarchy logo shown with a trademark to illustrate the mass marketing of counter culture. By What Went Wrong Or Right With...?

People who form counter culture movements whether it’s hippies, anarchists, or even gangs always keep the accepted norm in check. Good or bad, counter culture keeps politics, economics, art (and conversely life) fresh. If it wasn’t for these small sections of society, our world would never evolve. However, over the past decade or so the state has slowly chipped away at it.

Countries throughout the world have suppressed protesting. Even in the western world protesters have been misrepresented as unlawful and seditious. Occupy Wall Street protesters are mocked in UK media, rioters are made to look petty and criminal. It seems that in today’s society if you question the state you are something which needs to be dismissed or corrected. The powers that be do not want you to think for yourself, if you do, you are the equivalent of a terrorist; and after 9/11 we are made to think questioning the state is wrong and evil.

We are now force-fed common enemies by a politico-media amalgam; terrorists, illegal immigrants, paedophiles, tax avoiders, people on benefits are now our enemy. If you question this opinion or disagree, you are put in the same derided section as them. Instead of questioning politics and society, we are now forced to blindly consume products, spend and make money, and worship celebrity. We are forced to look in awe at the royals, listen to the government, and respect our military and police. Our life from school to work to death is at the whim of a megalomaniacal social elite. If you do not accept their law, their “righteous” wars, and their rule you become an enemy of the state.

Predominantly white middle class heterosexuals were allowed to protest against Vietnam. Then predominantly white middle class heterosexuals protested and rioted under the guise of Punk Rock and quasi-post-modern-hippydom. But now that their generation is in charge we are told not to argue with convention. Any anti-war protests or anti-military standpoints are viewed today by the media as non-patriotic. In the UK we are continuously shown extreme-right Muslim groups protesting wars. Therefore reinforcing the idea that disagreeing with the concept of an army or invasion is somehow associated with this group. Opinion-quashing is now a media by-product, and people who do not want to be demonised stay away from their true opinions in fear.

The media masquerades as both left and right wing, giving the impression of collective thought. Switching channels or changing your newspaper does nothing to affect this targeting of counter culture. Protesters on the recent (stolen) Diamond Jubilee for instance were not reported on in any British TV news channel. This four day jingoistic suck-fest was reported as a “patriotic celebration”. The television kept on bombarding us with shots of royalists, who through quotes and interviews heralded the Queen as some sort of Jesus-like figure; “we should be thankful”, “she selflessly gave her life up” we kept hearing. It soon became akin to “he died for our sins”. The entire country was seen as a bunch of brainwashed sycophants, and as I looked out into an empty street, devoid of bunting and flag-waving; I wondered where the fuck these people were from.

Today you will hardly ever hear an unfavourable story about the royals. Prince Harry‘s “Paki friend” comment was dismissed as just banter between army “buddies”. When he dressed up in a Nazi uniform it was spun as “harmless fun”, and we the public are kept away from the opinion that a white upper-class royal is a racist anti-Semite. But if I were to call him a “ginger honky twat”, I doubt if it would be seen by the populist media as just harmless banter.

God forbid you are a republican in any Commonwealth country. And forget being of the anti-establishment ilk in any western money-centric society. If you’re not a “yes-man” endlessly repeating populist views you are not useful to this giant pointless cog of society. And if you have any opinion counter to that of the mainstream you will never be given a chance to air your opinion.

Turn on the TV and all we see is bland non-threatening drivel. People pretending to be angry rarely have anything to say. Actors, performers, politicians, athletes, and even the once opinion-driven stand-up comedian has nothing bad to say about the construct of life and society. I am now tired of watching and listening to the Jim Jefferies of this world; a comedian on a pro-army bandwagon. I am sick of seeing a pro-royal Simon Cowell with his Britain’s Got Kiss-Asses And No Talent TV show. Why do people feel the need to brown nose? And why do people only shout down ideas when it’s acceptable to? Just like Kanye West‘s “George Bush doesn’t like black people” comment which was lauded as some controversial opinion, people who are not really saying much are now over-hyped. Kanye was about four years too late in shouting down an obvious prejudice American government. Rappers like Mr. Lif, Dead Prez, Immortal Technique, and Roy Shivers were already questioning the president, but this was not shown to the public.

When George Bush was rousing Americans into an unfounded and unjust war on 9/14, everybody including poor, gay, and ethnic minority American citizens supported him. Years later, once the coast was clear, it became acceptable to mock him. Now Obama is the new untouchable all-knowing leader. Instead of “you’re not patriotic” if you mock Bush, its now morphed into “you’re racist” if you mock Obama, even though not questioning somebody because they are “black” is actual racism. Giving a black man support he would not have if he were white (even though he’s half white) and awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize even though he never closed Guantanamo, continued with two wars, and sided with rich leaders around the world; is the epitome of racism. Not questioning a leader because you think he’s black is the real reason establishment want him there.

We are now in a world where non-populist opinion is called “criminal”, “lunacy”, or even “conspiracy theory”. Sub-culture staples like graffiti, Hip-Hop, and Punk Rock are now mass-marketed, watered down and controlled. Pseudo-counter culture has been created, from Gangster Rap, Grunge to Emo but if you can achieve a look by shopping for accessories at the mall you are not counter culture. Hell, you can find a Sex Pistols lunchbox these days, and eating your sandwiches out of it while you work as an office assistant does not make you a follower of sub-culture. The “Anarchy” logo is now a clip-art-type meaningless symbol endlessly used on non-non-conformist products. Even counter cultures such as homosexuality are begrudgingly accepted by the media (though they have purposefully created a one-size-fits-all camp caricature of homosexuality in order to take any credibility out of the individual).

So what went wrong with counter culture? The people in charge have seen fit to marginalise and demonise anybody who expresses an untested opinion or way of life and that in turn has suppressed many potential counter culture movements.

Every mainstream ideology, social or political standard, and point of view will get fat from years of being unchallenged. Fat from being accepted and deluded in it’s self-made grandiosity and exceptionalism. These standards need to be destroyed, or at the very least mocked and unmasked. If you go along with an accepted norm, society will become apathetic to fascism. It is the citizen’s responsibility to make their views heard even if their views are not the status quo. The establishment needs to be destroyed and rebuilt in order to move forward. If not, we will face a bland and non-progressive existence.

2 replies »

  1. Great article, you are so right. The people in poverty are the enemy now. In the U.S. that’s what they do with the T.V. They want us to hate the minorities, and they always show a black person when it comes to Affirmative Action or food stamps, or any other government aid.

    People are so fed with TV’s and controlled they accept this. They don’t look at the people struggling and feel sorry for them. Instead they think that those people are the enemy. I grew up in a poor family, and that’s all we ever heard. No one blames the state or the elite. When it comes to economy or crime, they always blame minorities that are in poverty levels of poor.

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