Last night I saw The Decline of Western Civilization at Cornell Cinema (everybody, go support your campus movie theater). Decline is a documentary directed by Penelope Spheeris (weirdly also the director of Wayne’s World) about the Los Angeles punk scene, and was filmed between 1979 and 1980, just as thrash-hungry scuzzballs were beginning to coalesce into a “scene” of sorts. I went to see the film because I’m taking a class about punk culture (ENGL 2906) this semester, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in the music or punk’s almost unfathomable effect on American/western/global culture. For me, this class has largely meant returning to artists that were heroes and obsessions of mine in junior high, and finding that today I’m pretty much repulsed by a whole lot about them. Decline, which is fascinating in the way that watching a dog eat its own vomit is fascinating, really brought my new and possibly curmudgeonly distaste for punk and particularly for its audiences to a head.