Punk Rock Academy Fight Song – Good Guys Don’t Wear White

November 19, 2011

Punk Rock Academy Fight Song - Good Guys Don’t Wear White“Show me a hero and I’ll prove he’s a bum.” That is one of my favorite quotes by one of my heroes. The man who spoke it was World War Two fighter pilot Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, a medal of honor winner with a reputation for hard drinking and rule breaking but also some one who quickly realized the inherent danger of putting people up on a pedestal especially if he was the one on that pedestal. Precisely the type of person any impressionable young Punk couldn’t help but be attracted to. I mean there was even a movie about the guy called “The Flying Misfits” if that isn’t some kind of cosmic match I don’t know what is. But over the years that quote took on more and more meaning and made more and more sense. It wasn’t just some one who was uncomfortable with new found fame and notoriety being self deprecating but instead it was more of a warning and also a bit of a blueprint for the type of people we should be looking up to.

Part of the allure of Punk rock has always been the fact that most of our heroes have always been slightly damaged and have always been keenly aware of that. Our heroes weren’t better than us they were us. We don’t have guitar gods we have mere mortals banging out three chords that seem to say “come on man get off your ass and do something...this is for everybody”. We don’t try to hide our frailties and short comings behind some facade of perfection but rather celebrate the fact that we’ve all screwed up but some how are better for it. If you start out with nothing you’ve got nowhere to go but up, right? That’s why I’ve never been a fan of the the golden boys, the perfect smile, perfect hair all Americans-because those guys are usually hiding something and the more people look up to them the harder it is for them to maintain the illusion of heroic perfection and people just cant wait to watch em fall-I think The Bangles even had a song about that. As most people find out the hard way there is no greater disappointment than finding out some one you admire or look up to is a Grade A screw up but if you already realize they are a screw up then once again there is only room for improvement and you can’t be that let down when they falter. Still most people still find themselves subscribing to the ideal that the clean cut Dudley Do-Right types (look him up kids) are those who should be admired for their supposed high moral character and ability to throw a ball, read a line or play a guitar better than the rest of us. Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t admire those people Im just saying that I personally choose not to because I can’t really relate to them.

All of this bring me to another badass, and another quote. At the risk of being cliche its from Johnny Cash-yup the man in black of course. Johnny Cash upon meeting Merle Haggard-who had actually done real time in prison, supposedly said to Haggard “Nice to meet you you’re who everybody thinks I am”. So even when we look up to people for being anti heroes we still run the risk of getting the myth and the reality mixed. This doesn’t make Johnny Cash any less cool in my book but rather even cooler because he was able to call bullshit on himself and the ideal of what people thought of him. At the end of the day we all need someone to look up to some one to provide us with hope and inspiration but I just prefer that person to be some one that's kind of like me instead of some one I know I can never be.

-Daniel N-
Big Wheel Staff Columnist

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