owed to punk planet

October 29, 2005

So. Word hit the street earlier this week that the old rag Punk Planet is among a number of independent publications whose not-for-profit distributor is having financial woes. It was suggested that those who are concerned should purchase or renew a subscription, or take any number of other steps to help out and keep PP and its distributor afloat. To which those who are truly punk, of course, responded with phrases like: “EMO PLANET!” and “MRR!!!!!!” and “I HOPE THEY GO UNDER.” All of which was expected.

Listen the fuck up.

So Punk Planet isn’t what it was ten years ago. So some of the bands that are interviewed aren’t that amazing. So it’s printed in color and uses some modern elements of design.

I don’t love every word of it. Sometimes the capsule reviews aren’t amazing, but then again neither are HeartattaCk’s, nor MRR’s. Sometimes the interviews aren’t that prying. Sorry. BUT, the first time I bought a Punk Planet (and in scene years, this was not that long ago, folks), it did a number of things for me.

First of all, that particular issue’s focus was the Independent Media Center. There were articles about what was going on in media activism and about the basic technical aspects of DIY media. I was familiar with what Indymedia was at the time, but I had no clue how to go about any of this stuff. I ruminated on it, read those articles countless times for a number of months, then went on to be part of the group that founded the IMC in my city. Perhaps — probably, in fact — I would never have gotten to the point where I felt comfortable doing that if not for that Punk Planet.

Beyond that, though: at the time, I was in high school, in the suburbs, and I was listening to “punk rock,” which to me essentially meant Epitaph bands and The Clash. (Not that there’s anything wrong with The Clash, at all. Just bare with me.) I picked up Punk Planet because there were elements of that stuff, but then it introduced me to more. I started listening to bands that weren’t completely formulaic. I started to understand that punk ideals could exist outside of straight-up political 1977 stuff.

And besides music, it introduced me to people whose ideas would challenge and change the way I think, and would become a big part of my life (Al Burian Jessica Hopper Mimi Nguyen for god’s sake).

I wasn’t going to pick up MRR at that point — it didn’t look like anything I was used to or comfortable with. As a high school kid with some ideas and no idea where to take them, I found Punk Planet to be an eye opener. I’m not saying everyone who picks up PP because they want to read about At the Drive-In (or whatever. I’m out of touch) is going to go out and make a huge dent in the world because of some heretofore unrelated anarchafeminist rambling they run into elsewhere in the issue. But if it had a profound effect on me, I bet it could have a profound effect on someone else too, and already has.

So, in conclusion, quit fucking with Punk Planet. If you prefer MRR, or Slug & Lettuce, or Anything As Long As It’s Newsprint, good. Read it. Subscribe to it. Let Punk Planet do its thing.


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