The Underground Scene Of American Culture Essay, Research Paper
The Underground Scene of American Culture
Picture it: the music is pumping, the lights are shooting through the smoke filled room, your body moves as if taken over by the beat. You look around, and smile, realizing that at that second every person in the room with you is your best friend. This was the very feeling I experience when I attended my first rave, called “Unity.” I had never experience music the way I did that summer weekend. It made me open my eyes to the culture that I had never knew of, and gave me a sense that I hadn’t felt in a while. It was a sense of belonging. Although I didn’t know anyone besides those I attended the event with, I still felt closer with complete strangers than I did with some that I have known my whole life.
Young American culture has always seemed fueled by the concept of having a good time. People in their late teens to early twenties are beginning to make choices on their own, including what they choose to do with their leisure time. However, there has been a culture that has been growing since the mid-80s that promotes equality, peace, and the love of music. Now, it is dangerously close to being eliminated from American society. The rave culture is that very one.
People from all walks of life attend these all night events, with nothing more in mind than peace, love, unity, and respect. They come from far and near with one common interest: the love of music. The euphoric beats are the pulse of the crowd, and the meaning of unity is never clearer. The feeling of togetherness and love provides a desirable escape from all the petty problems in our society. So, why can something that seems so innocent and peaceful, pose such a dominant threat?
There never seems to be one party (rave) that can be thrown anymore, without the arm of the local authorities far behind. This discourages many young people from going, for fear of getting arrested for something they may have no part in. This, in itself, is the real tragedy, as I believe that everyone should experience the joy of a party once in their lives. The scene has been growing at a rapid rate over the past few years. This has alarmed our nation, as most people who have never experienced a party only think of the stereotypical cornucopia of drugs. The rave culture has many positives to offer our growing, young American society, but unless it is realized for what it truly is, this culture may never reach the potential it possesses.
There always seems to be a generation in American culture that has its choice of music deemed “non-melodic noise.” In the 50s, it was Rock n’ Roll, the 70s was disco, and the late 80s/early 90s targeted hip-hop music. Now as we enter a new millennium, electronic music has been given that title. Its primary draw is to those who understand techno music and who have opened their mind to new experiences. To anyone with a closed mind toward this music, it’s often deemed nothing more than “repetitive beats thrown together with no lyrics.” However, the beats serve a much greater purpose to the many people who have an appreciation for them. They are often described with such terms as, immaculate, beautiful, and even orgasmic. This is just one of the reasons why only a small population truly understands the rave generation, its deeply emotional impact on those involved in it, and why those outside of it can only deem it “disturbing.”
Those exercising their concerns regarding the rave culture, mainly concentrate on nothing more than the obvious drug references. True, there are a lot of drugs in this scene. Some ravers do drugs to make them feel better. They may come from a dysfunctional family, and feel a need to escape. This isn’t the best way to escape, but it works for a brief period of time. Others do drugs because they want to fit in. They don’t understand that just being them self will work. The overwhelming increase of drugs is the main reason why society has had a watchful eye on the rave culture, and why it has been trying to shut it down. In 1993, for example, police nationwide seized 196 doses of ecstasy. In 1999, the number rose to 954,878(Pro 1).
Those, in American culture, who are heavy into the drug scene, come to parties for the sole purpose of getting high on a variety of different substances. Ecstasy, also known as MDMA, is now the drug of choice at raves. It combines the hallucinogenic effects of LSD with the stimulants of speed. Ketamine, also know as Special K, is also gaining popularity among these individuals, as well as GHB and LSD (acid). Whether people like it or not, the drug world is a major part of our American culture, and the rave scene serves as a utopia for those individuals involved in it.
In the scene itself, there is a faction of people that do not condone drug use. Although a plethora of drugs are readily available at parties, they primarily serve as an escape for those involved with the scene. We are more mesmerized by the beautiful music. Most of us go to get away from society and all of the bull*censored*. At a rave, no one judges you, no one rejects you, and most of all, no one is better than you. Everyone is equal and free. We have different styles, but all are connected for the same reason-the music, the atmosphere, and most of all, the belonging that we feel. At dance clubs, people put on a front and act better than all the rest. To achieve this front, many people have to get drunk. This causes fights and disorder. At raves, everyone is at peace, and is willing to accept all. All types of people are present at parties. Race, ethnicity, religious orientation, and age, are thrown out the window and the only thing seen is the person.
The unity helps to keep the positive atmosphere alive. The DJ’s are the heart of the show, and if he/she weren’t pumping the beat, none of us would feel the harmony that we do. The sounds and lights feed our mind, body, and soul, putting us in a trance for eight hours. The music is so powerful that we still feel it as we leave the party, and all throughout the next day. People should come to accept this way of partying, instead of worrying about the drugs and violence. Teens today would then have a place to belong, a place to call home.
In our culture, the young generation doesn’t really have many slogans or ideals that are shared. However, in the case of the rave culture there is the common anthem of P.L.U.R. P.L.U.R. simply put is Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. P.L.U.R. is a lifestyle, a state of mind, and an outlook on life. The free-spirited and easygoing aspects affect those who preach P.L.U.R. in everyday situations. It is not just a rave thing, but a mood and aura that one projects to all around them. Those who understand it, show it in their speech, actions, and interests. There is no judgment, no worries, nothing but a solid beat, a good vibe, and the knowledge that everyone around you truly understands what it is to be at peace with everyone else. They are willing to love anyone for who they are without judgment. You can feel the unity that comes from knowing that you are above all worries, and you realize that everyone, including yourself, respects everyone and everything around them. That’s P.L.U.R., and once it take you over you will never be the same. It is the anthem of the raver, and the ideal by which we operate. It is a conscious choice to accept, love, and respect everyone around us, including those who would laugh at our principles and ideals. The message that is presented through P.L.U.R., gives people a chance to enjoy a positive and carefree outlook on life, rather than divided alternatives, such as racism, hatred, and segregation.
Those who don’t understand the rave culture, and those who pass judgment onto us without relevant information are the ones destroying a beautiful thing. In today’s society, teenagers and young adults don’t have many opportunities to “escape” from their lives, even if only for a few hours. Saturday nights, masses of people of all ages come together for absolute fellowship. They play music, dance, and rejoice life together. Unfortunately, most teens are told to avoid the euphoric environment of raves due to its label as “one big drug party.” This can lead to teens turning down other paths, such as gangs, crime, and drugs. In today’s American society, many young people don’t know who they really are as human beings. They don’t have many outlets of self-discovery and escape the hardships of their everyday lives. The rave culture provides an outlet for these young people. Although just the word “rave” sends thoughts of hardcore drugs through the heads of those not involved in the society, the true meaning can only be found through experiencing the joy of P.L.U.R. at parties. The atmosphere can only be described as blissful, where everyone is equal, and a person’s background has no significance.
Despite all these positive factors that come into play, the rave culture is in serious danger of being wiped out of the American society. Those with the power to make this happen, are those who don’t understand anything about the rave culture, but only see the negatives. Due to the negativity today, it’s hard to find something that is positive, and upbeat. The rave culture gives individuals a chance to experience just that. For it to be taken away from our society would be the only true crime.