In recent months, there's been a recurrence of a movement called 'straightedge'. Also seen displayed as 'sXe' or 'SxE', you often spot an X'er by the giant black magic markered 'X' tattooed across the straightedger's hand or hands.
I'd not known much about this movement, mostly because of the existence I've been leading in the heart of the south, here at school. But when I returned home, I saw and heard much to-do about it. So in researching it, I've learned about the straightedge movement... and now feel that it's merely another fanatic movement, another attempt to market one's self as "different but cool".
For those who've not heard about the straightedge movement, I'll give you some background. According to the FAQ, straightedge is a derivative, a 'philosophical' offshoot of the punk movement. It is often associated with the early 80's D.C. punk band, Minor Threat. The straightedge movement entails the preservation of one's self by means of typical healthy living -- no drinking, drugs, smoking, or promiscuous sex ...sometimes even veganism-- all while associating with the hardcore punk scene.
Unfortunately, therein lies sXe's largest fault. With the exception of the optional veganism, there is virtually no incidence of "grey area", or varying degrees of sXe. It's either black or white, right or wrong, underground or mainstream... and it's this that inevitably leads to question. After all: What good does doing the Richard Simmons sXe diet do, if you risk going deaf at a hardcore punk show? I realized this, after showing up at a local punk show with bands who claimed to be straightedge. My ears didn't believe for a second that the band members believed in self preservation. I addition, what about the thrashing? Sure, one may save his or her life by avoiding sex, but if he/she breaks his neck in a frantic thrash, what has been gained? How would one apply the 'all or nothing' paradigm to this?
Concluding, I've merely tried to expose what I feel is the largest flaw in the sXe philosophy. I could easily, by attributes, claim being hardcore straightedge. However, I don't see the glamour in its existance, even if Minor Threat can rant it.
Don't take this as the straight truth; Research the movement if yr interested. But realize that nothing -- sXe, politics, or religion -- is as obvious or true as its marketing.
Straightedge Links -- Think for yrself:
Straight-Edge.Com - probably the
best sXe site out there.
viva la straight edge - another good site
A Minor Threat homepage.