What do you think about this classic Decendents song in the context of The Friend Zone / Nice Guy Syndrome?
(This comic by Liz O’Neill sums up Nice Guy Syndrome pretty well for the uninitiated)
A strongly held opinion of younger me was that punks were objectively better than the general population in terms of having ethics, kindness and a critical thought-process that I held dear. The main drivers of this still make sense — our values are informed by our heroes, and someone who watches endless WWE wrestling will have a different worldview from someone who listens to endless RVIVR, differences that manifest in more ways than we’re aware of.
With more world-experience I had to further define which “punks” I was talking about, such as noting the differences in scenes primarily inspired by Crass versus The Sex Pistols, and feeling an extra kinship with what I thought of as positive movements within the mostly pop-punk scene I spent most of my time in.
But the more I learn and experience the more I have to whittle away at this expectation of there being some “gold standard” of right-ness. While still tremendously appreciating the art and craft of those that inspired me, none are immune from being failable in the face of new ideas and understandings.
In bringing up “I’m The One” I’m not trying to shit-talk The Decenents. This is a band that meant a lot to me growing up that I still love, but just as it was important for younger me to get called out when I’ve been wrong (and continues to be important in the never-ending quest for personal growth and in trying to be a better and more compassionate member of society), I think its also important to call attention to things that in hindsight our hero’s might not have been as right-on about as some of us thought they were at the time.
More personally, I wish to say “thank you” and “I’m sorry” to the friends who teenage-me didn’t quite understand when some of these ideas were first presented to me, notably in Saratoga and Sacramento. Being perceived as a straight white cis male I feel a bit weird with this structure of having an authoritative voice on this subject but the topic is especially important for those of us in the position of power to be talking about, and I would very much appreciate any feedback, discussion or criticisms.
Edit: I thought Jose Garza made a clear point with this over on facebook:
Songs like that definitely DID reinforce bullshit attitudes regarding women and romance that are taught to boys. At the time it did help me feel less alone, which is a positive thing, but I mean let’s not try to say the song isn’t what it is.