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alt.punk.straight-edge sXe FAQ
Section - 1. About straight-edge

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    Straight Edge is a more philosophical offshoot of the punk movement, a 
    reaction to the hedonism and self-destruction that characterised punk. 
    The basic tenet of the philosophy centres around the issue of 
    self-control. The goal is to regain as much personal control over your 
    own life as possible. sXe is the only youth counter-culture to actively 
    discourage drug use, alcohol use, and casual sex. [2] [12]

    Straight edge is a lifestyle centred around personal development and 
    well being, while encouraging fun and togetherness. sXe is not just 
    about  being into contemporary punk music acts and being against drugs. 
    It goes deeper than this. The movement wishes to attract people away 
    from dependancy lifestyles centred around drug habits (legal or 
    illegal) and unhealthy and exploitative eating and general living
    habits common in modern cultures. sXe is not dogmatic, there are no 
    hard rules, these are for you to decide. Nobody should dictate like 
    the police, or preach an ideology like the church or state. [15]

    The term itself is believed to have been coined by the band Minor 
    Threat of the punk rock/hardcore scene in the early '80s.  Their singer 
    Ian MacKaye eschewed the nihilistic tendencies of punk rock, promoting 
    instead the simple (almost simplistic) philosophy of "don't drink/ 
    don't smoke/ don't fuck." [4]

        Out of Step (with the world)
        by Minor Threat, 1981 [3]

        (I) Don't smoke
        Don't drink
        Don't fuck
        At least I can fucking think

        I can't keep up
        Can't keep up
        Can't keep up
        Out of step with the world

    In the 12 years since the demise of Minor Threat, these simple beliefs
    have transformed the minds of scores of teens worldwide. Increasingly
    disenchanted with societal ills, young men and women adopt the
    straight-edge doctrine as a blueprint to better first themselves, and
    then the world in which they live. While the original definition of 
    straight-edge only included the rejection of mind altering substances 
    and promiscuous sex, modern interpretations include a vegetarian (or 
    vegan) diet and an increasing involvement and awareness of 
    environmental and political issues. [4]

    On 15 Sep 1997 Andy Dempz <adempz@umich!edu> wrote:
    "Well...  [Ian] might be credited with starting it, but he's made it 
    abundantly clear he doesn't care for what's it turned into.  Read old
    Minor Threat interviews, i bet most Earth Crisis fans would be shocked to
    hear him say 'it doesn't mean never drink a beer...'  Besides, after
    watching every "hero" since then fall, from SSD to Youth of Today to
    today's flavor of the month, i think worrying about some stranger's
    lifestyle in regards to your own is a little silly.  I do this for me, 
    no one else."

    On 17 Sep 1997 Andy Dempz <adempz@umich!edu> wrote:
    "I mean gees, just listen to what he mumbles in the middle of Out of 
    Step, 'there's no set of rules, i'm just bringing up three things 
    that are like so important to the whole world... whether they're 
    fuckin, or whether they're playing golf.'  So maybe golf isn't sxe!"

    From a Minor Threat interview in Touch & Go zine:
    "Ian: Like Straight Edge, people have taken it to an far 
    as i'm concerned all we did was put out an idea... if people wanna 
    hear it as preaching if that's what they want.  Straight edge to me
    is someone who is alert enough to benefit from what he or she is 

    "Lyle: the drug and alcohol is only one side of it anyway, it's alot
    more than that, there are other things that can sidetrack you...

    "Ian: That's what "don't Fuck" means... alot of people think that to 
    be straight edge you can't drink, smoke, or have sex and that's 
    silly... what the don't fuck thing is that the whole getting laid 
    and getting head thing 

    "Lyle: living for sex

    "Ian: following your penis around is fucking people up more than 

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