“Straight Edge (sometimes abbreviated sXe or signified by XXX or X) is a subculture of hardcore punk whose adherents refrain from using alcohol, tobacco and other recreational drugs, in reaction to the excesses of punk subculture. For some, this extends to refraining from engaging in promiscuous sex, following a vegetarian or vegan diet or not using caffeine or prescription drugs. The term straight edge was adopted from the 1981 song “Straight Edge” by the hardcore punk band Minor Threat.
Straight edge emerged amid the early-1980s hardcore punk scene. Since then, a wide variety of beliefs and ideas have been associated with some members of the movement, including vegetarianism and animal rights. Ross Haenfler writes that as of the late 1990s, approximately three out of four straight edge participants were vegetarian or vegan. While the commonly expressed aspects of the straight edge subculture have been abstinence from alcohol, nicotine, and illegal drugs, there have been considerable variations on how far to take the interpretations of “abstaining from intoxicants” or “living drug-free”. Disagreements often arise as to the primary reasons for living straight edge. Straight edge politics are primarily left-wing and revolutionary but there have been conservative offshoots.”
Someone referred to me once as “Straight Edge” years ago and I didn’t know what they were talking about. I (correctly) assumed it had to do with my avoidance of drugs, alcohol (mostly), and smoking. I’ve never even smoked “weed.” I did try smoking cigarettes for about a week in 8th grade but my football coach found out about it and threatened to kick me off the team. Anyway, I didn’t like it and it made me sick. Literally my parents had to take me to the emergency room I was coughing so bad.
Looking over the list, while many things on it apply to me, I do not consider myself “straight edge.” For one, I couldn’t abstain from sex. Since I’m married, at least I don’t have to worry about dating anymore. And there’s no way I could follow a strict Vegan diet. As I get ready to go workout later this evening I’m on my second 12 cup pot of coffee. So much for avoiding caffeine. And prescription drugs. I take testosterone injections legally with a doctor’s prescription. It originally was prescribed years ago when I was recovering from cancer surgery and had lost significant weight and muscle mass. Last December, I developed pneumonia, it was very bad, and I don’t know where I’d be if it weren’t for the antibiotics they gave me. And long before that, my doctor wrote a prescription for Xanax while I was going through a nasty divorce from my first wife.
Typically, my “outlets” have always been sports, working out, fast cars and motorcycles, and music (often “extreme” metal). I like to have a drink once in a while but never combine it with driving. And I wouldn’t even dream of taking my new Corvette ZR-1 out after drinking only just one beer. Alcohol and 755 HP don’t mix.
Anyway, the origins of the “Straight Edge” movement are intriguing. And I’m glad there are people taking a stand against drugs and alcohol. Most “punk rock” precedes me in life by several years. I’m aware of major bands like the Sex Pistols or the Ramones or Dead Kennedys but other than a few songs I never got into it that much. Many of the hard rock and heavy metal bands I currently listen to were influenced by punk but incorporate much heavier guitar, bass, and drums and often violent lyrics. Of “bands that existed long before I did” I guess Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin would be my favorites—you might say that without their influence no modern heavy metal would exist. Ozzy is most definitely not “straight edge.” LOL And neither are many of the members of the bands I listen to regularly. It is heartbreaking to think of the talented people we’ve lost due to drugs and alcohol, so basically I support the “Straight Edge” concept.
One thing does concern me however. I hope the “sXe” movement is accepting of human sexuality in all forms. I have seen “movements” like this before where there is a lack of tolerance shown towards others and beliefs like “gays are going to hell” or some other (usually racist or sexist) stupidity is a part of it. My involvement with the LGBT community and previous relationships with transwomen makes total acceptance of everyone regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, a requirement before I would even consider becoming associated with such a cause. Of course if you’ve read some of my other posts you know my first girlfriend was transgender. We met in middle school and dated through high-school. When she was younger she was bullied a lot. Me? Well, in high-school I used to “look after” all my friends, gay and straight. As starting middle linebacker and defensive captain of our high-school football team, 6’3” and 245 when I was 16, I never had too much trouble with “bullies.” LOL When I played in college, I was listed at 6’5″ 264 and set a team record of 605 in the bench press. While I genuinely admire and respect anyone who does follow a “Straight Edge” lifestyle. I don’t think I could ever live by such a strict set of rules. I like the way I am.
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