Punk and the Muhammedean Influence

Muhammedean becoming is the becoming of becomings: the meta-function of all functionality. All functions of input to output are Muhammedean, small or large, from the smallest f(x) = x+1 to the obtuse partial differential equation, from the function of childbirth to the functions of parliament, protest and revolution, from functions of car and textile manufacture and trade, of civilizational collapse and reformation, to the functions of authorship and poetic production. All becomings are transcendental passages through wormholes across the time space continuum, whose nexus is the Muhammedean becoming.

Therein lies my problem with the Religion of Islam and, more specifically, with Taqwacore.

Because Muhammedean Influence is like the influence of punk — or rather, poetic influence is a function that passes through Muhammedean Influence. All poets are Muhammedean, whether they acknowledge this or not, weak or strong. And punk is no exception to this.

Influence and communication can be strong or weak. Strong influence is one in which the spirit (what the Sufis call the ruh of content) is carried, in which there is true communication, effective transmission, a rainbow connection from point poet M to poet M’.

And the law of transmission dictate that a weak communication is no communication at all: it is one game, one life in mismatch to another. There is no flow of spirit. Instead there is only the semblance of connection rendered cultural and embodied according to complex (often academic and scholarly) imitation of form.

A good example of weak influence can be seen in Punk Rock. Here are two examples of 70s Punk in its original form — Johnny Rotten being interviewed and “singing” (before he started selling butter):



And here is an example of the neo-Punk movement that emerged from the USA during the 90s — ostensibly standing in poetic influence to the original movement and certainly claiming the “Punk” genre title — Blink 182 being recently interviewed and then playing:

To be fair that is comparatively recent, but the same principles were at play in the 90s

While neo-Punk imitates the clothing and outward musical form of original Punk (perhaps Blink 182 isn’t the best example — given the orthogonal melodic, bubblegum pop influence at parallel work — but other similar, more underground bands attempted a precise kind of academic, scholarly approach to the pastiche, with the same ontological status), it fails to carry the spirit of Punk. It stands in weak influence to its predecessor — though clothing and musical forms are copied — in fact, there has been no communication, no transmission from one to the other.

The genuinely Punk gesture that came out of the USA in the 90s was to be found in the lounge music revivalists, such as Combustible Edison


If Punk is poetic and sonic rebellion against the musical hegemony, then the weaker neo-Punks represent the opposite of Punk — while the spirit of Punk is carried through the lounge revival in its aggressive rebellion against the mainstream (grunge in the early 90s) in favour of something (at the time) completely disenfranchised: class.

In the wider space, we find the same intrinsic problem of communication and influence at play in religion. This should not be surprising, as poetry derives from Prophecy.

As a rule: if the emphasis is on cultural preservation of form (clothing, style, manner) then the influence is weak and there has been no communication, no transmission of the ruh. There is, instead, Prophecy on one side and simulacra and closed loops of scholarly imitation on the other.

And this is my suspicion of Taqwacore: it appears to commit a double sin. Not only does it pay scholarly, religious (poetically weak) homage to the cultural norms of 70s Punk (gestures sartorial and musical), but it pays weaker homage to the Muhammedean spirit, the Qur’an itself. Its singers are poets, but they are not Qur’anic poets in any strong sense. They are, rather, poets of cultural and political commentary, a commentary of form, not a communication of Qur’an:


There are no angels, no houris, no visions in their work. There is no lineage to Torah in their songs. There is only lineage and reference to the scholars and normative debates of that most Legislative of Religions. And in that sense, they are colonized by the embodied, cultural religion of Islam, rather than being Muhammedean poets.

As a rule: clothing (robes or mohawks) are discarded and a process of reincarnation or gilgul is followed, for Influence to continue her journey, the straight journey, from A to A’.

This is the meaning of the verse:

If you turn away, Allah will replace you by another people, and they will not be like you. (47:38)

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6 thoughts on “Punk and the Muhammedean Influence

    1. This particular piece had a reasonably straightforward outer purpose: to demonstrate how boring and weak (in Harold Bloom’s sense of literary weakness) the Taqwacore (Islamic punk) movement is. Unfortunately for a lot of young Muslims, Taqwacore is where it is at and there is a lot of admiration for its originator, Muhammed Knight, a personality I also find quite objectionable.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taqwacore

      Of course the blog piece is straightforward only to a subsection of Muslims who are familiar with Taqwacore and Knight — but I’d estimate about 40-50% of my readers would fit this category (the other 50-60% being somewhat more Caravansarai or SWB type folk, couldn’t imagine them being so entertained by this :).

      I find the whole Taqwacore thing as boring and weak — and spiritually bereft — as Blink 182. That said, given mainstream Islam is so anti-music, it is unsurprising that its children will “rebel” by proclaiming the weakest of musical expression …

      In terms of the inner message of this piece — well, it’s hardly inner any more. It’s just my usual swipe at all weak imitation — and an implicit equation of Bloom’s notion of strong poetic influence with “real” communication — and links to the concept of gilgul as expounded by Issac Luria.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Anxiety_of_Influence

      Bloom’s notion of influence of course was refined through his reading of Lurianic Kabbalah:
      http://books.google.com/books/about/Kabbalah_and_criticism.html?id=0iTrb4TegZQC

      It’s an underlying theme of a lot of this blog (not just this piece). If the blog serves any purpose (I’m increasingly of the opinion it serves no purpose apart from logging my personal observations and thoughts), the Tailor’s Doctrine functions to push a (strong) reworking of Bloomian Kabbalah onto (primarily) Abrahamic scripture.

  1. Dearestv Mu,

    Thanks for the feedback!

    And apologies for absence of appropriate salute or vale in my last post, wrote it in a bit of hurry.

    Peace 🙂

  2. Whoops. That last post if from me – TRB, even though it has come up anon. Not on home PC.

    Peace ….

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