Rave On: The Politics of Dancing
With infuriating predictability, some sectors of the mainstream media and the public are blaming the March 25 Capitol Hill massacre on "zombie ravers" in particular, and on "kids," in general. These condemnations emanate from people who have likely never attended a rave and who tend to perceive all youth-oriented activities through a prism of fear and ignorance. As many have noted, the most pertinent issues regarding this tragedy are gun control and Kyle Huff's psychological state. But it's much easier to point accusatory fingers at those crazy kids with their scary music and fondness for weird clothes and ghoulish makeup. Inevitably, calls for the government to clamp down on the entire scene will follow.
The fact is, hundreds of raves—or underground parties, to use more modern jargon—go off every year nationwide with no violence whatsoever (except maybe to eardrums pummeled by several hours of hard beats). At any given party, an attendee is more likely to be smothered in hugs and PLUR (Peace Love Unity Respect) vibes than to encounter fists or bullets.What clueless law-and-order zealots don't realize is that most underground parties and electronic-music nightclub shows radiate an intense and unique brand of camaraderie. Contrary to what panicking busybodies would have you believe, whenever humans gather to dance to high-energy music, an overwhelming communal love buzz prevails.
Is this euphoric feeling partially facilitated by illicit drugs? Sure, some ravers take Ecstasy and various hallucinogens, but most who do consume them responsibly. Regardless, those substances are not exactly known for inspiring hostile behavior (unlike, say, alcohol); on the contrary, they're more likely to provoke cuddling or a strong desire to wax philosophical.So let's try to keep the party scene in perspective: The overwhelming majority of clubbers and partiers are responsible folks just looking to have fun. We should mourn the victims of March 25, but let's not succumb to misguided hysteria and adopt draconian measures that could stifle the electronic-music community.
By Dave Segal