This mindless film features more Green Day than the Pistols. It's certainly understandable why John Lydon wouldn't appear in this mediocrity.
"I never learned politics from school. I learned about politics from punk rock", says Billy Armstrong. The little man happily espouses his lack of education and endless ignorance, hence like a true "American Idiot" reveals the (should-be-obvious) reasons for his deluded, trendy little political views. (I just love using the words "little" and "Billy" in the same sentence.)
"F*** corporate America, f*** society", they shout rabidly. But who do they think devises, builds and sells all those instruments/gear that they use on stage, in the studio? Who makes the McDonalds burgers they devour with the pocket money their parents give them? Without even being aware of it, they advocate the same back-to-the-cave devolution hogwash as hippies and Greens do. But cavemen who use electricity and guitar- cables would be rather hypocritical, oafish cavemen
To be fair, this mega/giga-contradiction does get mentioned briefly.
"They're criticizing something they just can't understand", a quote from an inane punk song at the outset of PND. What irony. The reverse is true: punks are the ones who criticize a society they do not understand, whereas society that criticizes punks understands them rather well. What's there not to understand? The punk scene is hardly rocket science.
Punks and the legendary pride they take in their stupidity. Take the Subhumans: the name alone glorifies primitivism, low IQs, and the lower class. Very few REAL lower-class persons want to be lower-class or tend to brag about it. It's often upper- and middle- class people who do this, assuming this "hip"/fake identity, believing foolishly that being part of the proletariat would somehow count as an achievement: very obvious Marxist and Christian influences here, this strange idolization of poverty (and yet punkies naively regard themselves as "outsiders", people with an utterly different set of values than the "dull" majority). And yet, these same proud-to-be-clueless knuckleheads try to "educate" us. "We're dumb as dirt, hate school, and never read anything, but we'll teach you about how to solve all of the world's problems and society's ills." They're too dim-witted to see the irony, the unintended joke. Children in adult bodies.
"Anything that embarrasses an intelligent man, makes a dumb one proud." (A Serbian proverb.)
The punk movement has no purpose – unless being anti-majority for the sake of it can be considered a valid, respect-worthy philosophy. "Counter-culture": the key word here, with an almost religious weight that punks attach to it.
A lot of these disturbed/bored/spoilt whiners jabber about the "freedom of expression" one can allegedly readily find in their movement. Reality, however, differs from this highly idealistic notion: the punk scene is like any other narrow-minded fashion/political movement/trend or pop army: if your opinion strays from the majority of these dolts, i.e. from the unofficial/unwritten "Punk Manifesto of How to Properly View Society", then you end up being booed and beaten (10-against-1, punk/skinhead-style). I.e.: "feel free to express your views, be true to yourself – just as long as you agree with everything WE think, say and do." Monty Python's "Life of Brian": "Yes, we're all (punky little) individuals!"
PND's maker, who claims she chose "punk" as its subject matter, actually has the cheek to include the decidedly un-punk-like "baby-punk" movement of the past 15 years, as if that kind of boy-group pop for 13 year-old zit-faced teeny-boppers can even be remotely termed as "punk music". Sum 41's tiny singer was engaged to Paris Hilton, an ultra-rich jet-set heiress: very punky indeed... Baby punks: 5-foot-3-inch 19 year-old dwarfs from upper- and middle- class backgrounds who got their rich Dads (or Moms with connections) to get them exclusive record contracts.
In that sense most punks (not just toddler-punks like little Billy) are a lot like the hippies: well-off misfits wasting everyone's time with self-indulgent, egotistical behavior, while berating anyone who shows a smidgeon of common sense, ambition, or a work ethic. God forbid you should be "normal": how "square" of you. But if you sniff glue, break chairs, or m********e in parks then you must be on the right track, the way of true/honest "self-actualization".
One of the "punks" here says that the scene inspired him to join the anti-globalist movement. I.e. punk has strayed off: what had initially been a movement that tried hard to separate itself from the hippy scene – which it despised – merely ended up as just a primitive, more aggressive version of hippydom. Punks and hippies have always had a lot in common anyway: lazy, useless malcontents who lash out against "society" as a way of dealing with their own feelings of inadequacy, and fear of the real world. Sad, cowardly clowns, the lot of them. Rebels without a cause. It's fitting that PND included MC5: these buffoons represent the missing link between hippies and punks.
Middle-class baby punks, even more than old-school ones, use this lower- class-worshipping genre to live out their adolescent rebel-rebel fantasies. Never for a second do they truly understand what it is they're "rebelling" against, nor do they try to. They are just happy to breast-feed rats and hit each other. Just to attract more attention, they attach their one-dimensional version of "politics" into the mix, hoping the public will be awed by their simplistic/moronic vision of the world.
Baby punks: small vegetable-like objects who engage in "synchronized jumping" (to quote a PND interviewee). And these same bouncing rubber balls want to be taken seriously; have the cake and eat it too.
"We didn't want to do this whole macho thing, showing off our muscles", says GD's Billy. Of course not, what muscles would this man-child have to show? "We wanted to focus on the song-writing." And focus they did: they managed to become the worst pop group since Bon Jovi. Punk's not dead.
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