van Ham, Rabid, & Heaton notes and questions1.
picks up on brief observances of others to investigate the role of first wave punk. Were these trickster figures? Perhaps in the vein of classic
literature? Perhaps, then, punks fit in with the “best that has been thought,” as
Hebdige interprets that phra
se. For example, one of Shakespeare’s most
popular characters, Falstaff, is a drunkard, a braggart, a lout, and a commoncomic topic. That Prince Hal turns his back on the old man so he can becomeHenry V only adds to the comic failure that is Falstaff. van Ham refers to many
punk icons as “mythohistorical personae” (319).
In other words, these punk characters are actors (
) who play clown the role in many stories that many of us are familiar with.2.
The “sacred clown” is profane, among many other tra
its and allows for listenersand performers to engage in comic adventures together. However, the clownalso is a source of sublimation, allowing for a culture to reveal and revel inunacceptable cultural phenomena.3.
323: clowning is a modern and pre-modern phenomenon. In other words, punk is part of a centuries, or even millennia, old tradition of clowning that is crucialfor the retaining of cultural identity. In this sense, it is possible to argue that punk is essentially a conservative force, one whose value is allowing an outlet for negative tendencies (what Freudians would call "sublimation") in order tomove past those tendencies and reestablish the reigning order. Let's see howvan Ham addresses that issue.4.
First paragraph on 324 is CRUCIAL for looking at early punk.5.
One of the aspects of this essay is van Ham’s
implicit claim that punk waswelcoming of all who wanted to be part of the community. He makes this claimmainly in section
on “Gender Instability”,
and if you pare that section with hisoverall claim that sacred clowning allows for disruptions of the social order,then van Ham is possibly claiming that punk allowed marginalized groups socialaccess.6.
7: some historical context for punk’s rebuttal (negation) of earlier pop
328: So, punk may perform a more conservative, in its literal sense, function in asociety. Through dirtiness and sickness, punk provides a venue by which asociety can cleanse itself and be reborn.8.
332: look at paragraph that begins with “For all its ambitions…”.
Furtherevidence that punk may be part of a cycle, a necessary cycle that allows forhegemonic forces to be in power. In other words, punk allows for the powerbloc to mobilize those who are not in power but who may not be part of punk'scommunity, either by their own choice or by the choice of the punk community.