and then at the end, he sells out too.
There's really more to it than that, though. This is a debate that goes around and around and will never have an agreeable consensus. The questions to ask are these:
To answer these questions, you may have to ask more questions, and answer those questions:
- Is being punk a lifestyle? If so, then what lifestyle? Must you lead the lifestyle of a gutter punk? A straightedge punk? Must you be an anarchist? If so, then what is anarchy, really? This question can go on and on, and is therefore, I submit, unanswerable, therefore not valid.
- Does being punk have anything to do with the music or "the scene"? I would say the music must have something to do with it, otherwise, you would call yourself something else entirely. The word "punk" in the context of this movie relates to the music, as it usually does in the real world. If you don't do the music (at least for some time in your life), how can you be called a punk? As for "the scene", well, that's another discussion. There are those that would say that anytime you get involved with any sort of scene, and you're also trying to be a part of a counter-culture, then all you're doing is creating another social structure where there are "popular" and "unpopular" people, and "cool" and "uncool" things, just like the culture that you're "against".
- Does it relate to the way you dress? I say no, as would Stevo in the movie. He gave pretty clear reasons for this, for example, the scene in the mall with the "Anarchy in the UK" kid, as well as his nerdy looking friend. Not to say that you can't dress punk and also be punk.
- Is punk a personal thing, something that you have to come to terms with yourself?
- Is it merely a state of mind? If so, what kind of "mind-state" does a punk have?
- Does it have to do with your age? Can you be 30, and still be punk?
- Does selling out mean giving up your lifestyle for something else? I hope not. I change my mind about my lifestyle all the time! I think that most people do.
- Does it mean making a decent wage? Well, considering that a good deal of punk music complains that they don't make good money, I would say it would be contradictory to say that once you started making that money, you couldn't be the same person. If it's something that you want to do, then is that really selling out?
I think it's already obvious where I'm going with this... I've come to the conclusion that being punk means at least some of these things:
- Having a DIY attitude.
- Thinking for yourself. Always.
- Questioning authority.
- Listening to the music, and grokking it. (You don't have to do this forever, at least if you've been through it at some time in the past).
- Constantly thinking and questioning things. Even your own deeply held beliefs.
- Sticking to your values, but keeping those values flexible. What I mean here is not to compromise your integrity or your morals, but always leaving room for refining just what those morals are, because if you're a truly critical thinker (as a punk should be), you will realize that you don't have all the answers. But you will have to work through this and find what seems like the right thing to do.
People's definitions of punk will definitely conflict with mine, as I said... But anyways, back to the point of this writeup. My point is to try and prove that Stevo didn't sell out in the movie. He merely moved on to something else. To a different lifestyle. If he succeeds in that thing that he does at the end (I don't want to give away the ending), and he really messes with the establishment and doesn't become another corporate whipping boy, and continues to think and act and subvert as he's done in the past, then he is by no means selling out. But if he changes and becomes another suburbanite fscking SUV driver with 2.2 children and plays golf on the weekends, then he has sold out. But not merely because he changes the direction of his life.
Ok, I just realized that a little clarification is necessary here. I don't have anything against suburbanites, per se. Nor golf. (I do, however, have something extremely against SUVs). My only point was to say that if he forgets his passion and anger, and lives a mundane life, then he's sold out. Clear?