This is the end of Rebellion Week on The Spiders Lair, Where Chaos Resides.
What prompted rebellion week in the first place? Well for starters it was an event I covered for work, an Elvis Presley birthday bash at a local Harley-Davidson dealer. It was such a strange event it got me thinking about the spirit of rock n roll, teenage rebellion.
When I was a teenager my teenage rebellion was mostly me listening to music my parents hated and playing lots of Mortal Kombat video games. There were, of course, things I did in secret I hope my parents don’t find out about but that’s often the way it goes.
The non-conformist spirit remains largely at the core of everything I do. I have always believed in being true to yourself. Sometimes, to my detriment, I take it too far and become a contrarian for the sake of being different, but the point stands I don’t want to be a sheep. Well, except in the religious context because Christians are supposed to be sheep but that’s a different allegory altogether.
When asked I often tell people my favorite movie of all time is Star Wars. It depends on who I am addressing if I tell them this answer or the real one which is in fact A Nightmare On Elm Street. Since there are caveats and explaining the appeal of Freddy Krueger without sounding, weird, is difficult. Yet Star Wars went from being a thing only loners and nerds like myself was into before it passed into the mainstream. It’s gone far beyond cult status and become the de facto pop culture example. Still, the Rebel Alliance always resonated with me even as a kid. I thought it would be great to live on the fringe of society and fight for a cause of freedom. Then around the fifth grade I began learning about the American Revolution, or the rebellion of the colonies, depending on who you ask.
The idea that we, Americans, were in a similar position to the Rebel Alliance made me not only appreciate Star Wars even more, but helped foster a deep patriotism that remains largely alive to this day. As time has passed, however, I began to identify more with the Empire in the films as my appreciation for Rule of Law settled in. I digress, nobody wants to read about that. You want to know more about the art of being a rebel right?
In many ways I was far from a rebel. I read books, did my homework to the best of my ability and attended church services regularly. For the most part I was a firm believer in following the rules, so long as the didn’t interfere with me living my life the way I wanted. I am, however, firmly able to assure you I spent a great deal of time being disciplined. I lived in after-school detention and ISS (In School Suspension) and was often fighting back against the bullies, the teachers and the authority figures who were interfering with my overwhelming desire to be left alone. In those respects, you could say I was somewhat of a rebel.
For me rebellion is like an art form. You have to find the right way to express yourself. Most of us find some way to rebel in our movies. This is how we spend a great deal of our time, either alone or socializing. I often enjoy movies as a solo experience so for me it’s easy.
The movies I tend to favor that most others don’t would be a rather large list. I think I even did a video on it at one point in time. There are a few films, however, that really capture the heart of what it means to be a rebel.
The first is The Virgin Suicides. Telling God and society you alone are placing your life in the destiny you choose is the ultimate teenage rebellion. A film centered on a host of teenage girls struggling with the desire to take their own lives somehow resonated with me in a weird way.
Rebel Without A Cause
Of course this is the post child of rebellion. Not making a list here just picking a few movies to put into your brain to consider. I shouldn’t have to mention this one as it’s been discussed to death.
Or really any cop movie. There is always the good cop/bad cop thing going on but you do have to give credit to the actual antagonists who go out of their way to disrupt the system with their criminal activity. Lethal Weapon is one I enjoy exploring because it, too, deals with suicide but also takes on a whole life of it’s own. It shows how good, soldiers fighting the good fight can turn to criminal activity while thinking, to some extent, what they are doing is good for society.
Not the movie, the character. A vigilante is the embodiment of a rebel. He makes his own rules and throws caution to the wind. Batman has always been one of my favorite characters in popular culture, including cinema and comics, because he is the most famous rebel I know.
As far as music goes, rebelling against the social norms is all too common a theme among teenagers. For me it was actually disassociating myself with the rebel music of the time, the 90’s Grunge and Punk Rock and instead embracing the pop music and overly commercialized hip-hop they were often rebelling against. I rebelled, against rebelling in a sense. Ben Kenobi once said it’s all dependent on your point of view.
But I did have a few rebel bands I enjoyed listening too. Garbage and Marilyn Manson were among the two most popular. I also really enjoyed The Beastie Boys, Cake, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Those were the artists I put the most time into enjoying and in some cases mimicking.
For me rebelling is something we all do in our own way. Fighting the power means something different to everyone. To some it’s resisting the temptation to give into the desires of the world and rebelling against sin. For others its rebelling against the Laws of God and embracing the desires of the world. For me it’s all about living my life my way. Being true to myself while finding my own way to conform to those ideals I deem worthy of my commitment and respect.