I was originally excited to see the article “Driving a subculture” (p. 10) in the Jan. 16 issue of The Hatchet. I was expecting a student newspaper to do a superior job in describing the rave culture compared to what the national media has been able to do up to this point. Yet I was thoroughly disappointed before the first paragraph ended. If the author of the article has ever attended a rave, which I highly doubt, then she completely misunderstood the most fundamental essence of the idea in the first place, which is to achieve an altered and heightened state of consciousness.
First of all, the music terminology is completely incorrect, and the article fails to mention any of the three main genres of music that drive the rave culture in D.C. While giving pseudo-definitions of Chicago house, acid-house, and techno, which is a term given to electronic music by the general public and not a term used by anyone who is a part of the rave culture, never once is progressive house, trance or drum and bass music mentioned. In addition, it is trance music that embodies melodic vocals while house music rarely includes any vocals at all.
After misconstruing the music aspect of the rave culture, three specific quotes appalled me. First, I feel it is absolutely ridiculous to compare clothing brands such as UFO and Polo. Ninety-nine percent of the population knows the brand Polo while around nine percent – if that – have probably ever heard of UFO clothing. On top of that, in my two plus years as part of the rave culture, never once have I seen someone wearing a Polo shirt at a rave.
Second, to imply that ravers are a social movement and to compare them to hippies or beatniks is a misrepresentation. Going to a rave is a completely personal experience about finding out things about yourself through a 100 percent positive social situation. The rave culture is about improving yourself, not improving the world.
More upsetting than anything else in the article was the quote “(Raves are) very drug oriented.” While drugs are present within the rave culture, the ideology behind raves has nothing to do with drugs. If you cannot go to a rave sober and have a good time, then you are not a part of the rave culture because you cannot comprehend the purpose or undergo the intended experience. Ecstasy and ketamine are no more common within the rave scene than cocaine and heroin are within the bar scene, and they are far less dangerous chemicals. While I feel it is understandable to associate drugs with raves, it is a misconception to associate raves with drugs.