That obsolescence was built-in, as philosopher Simon Critchley says in an interview in the book: “Because of the acute awareness of the fact that punk . . . would become a creature of the very music industry whose codes it subverted, we knew that it was going to be shortlived. And that was fine.”
In Critchley’s view, punk was a Reformation without God: “We wanted to see reality for what it was in all its ugliness . . . and tear away the decadence and fallenness of the culture industry that surrounded us.”Even while it lasted, it depended on the bourgeois world it rejected. Kraus quotes from Judy Nylon: “There’s a lot of people saying ‘we’ when they write about punk, but those who had a job working for the record companies, or music papers, or clothes shops have a whole different level of immersion than those of us who didn’t . . . . In punk, having backup was all-important if rarely mentioned. You can’t get philosophical if you’re in real danger of not surviving . . . . My punk story is a diamond slice I can show you to help you imagine a rock too big for the frame.”
Pity the avant garde: If successful, it sells out to commercialism. If unsuccessful, no one hears of it.