We could get into the atrocious politics, the end-of-culture-ness that having a Costume Institute Ball themed around punk entails. We could talk about how political punk icons like Joe Strummer and the dudes from Crass would be appalled by such a blatant cultural misappropriation. About how the Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibition at the Met actually created a replica of the fucking disgusting bathroom at long-dead punk club CBGBs (which has ironically been replaced by a John Varvatos clothing store). Or about how the attendees at last night’s Met Ball — despite their safety pin appliques, dyed hair, spiked heels and studs – had no clue about punk’s tenets, beyond the obvious and cliche aesthetic signposts.
We could talk about all of those things ad nauseum, because the misappropriation of punk — the turning of punk into little more than a fashion statement — is simply another symptom of how capitalist culture dilutes, chews up and swallows cultural movements and distills them into non-threatening, easily commodifiable shadows of their former selves. But hey, let’s just look at the clothes instead.