Confessions of a fifth grade punk

From Taylor-Ruth's Tumblr, a page from her fifth grade diary. She was unquestionably the most punk fifth grader she knew, and possibly the most punk fifth grader in history. If you're trying to place the chronology here, note that Taylor-Ruth identifies as an Indiana high-school senior (she's also a great cartoonist!).

actual diary entry from when i was in 5th grade oh my god (via Wil Wheaton)



  1. “So far, I think I am more punk than everyone else I have met in my life.” – Every punk I have ever met

  2. I am madly in love with the phrase “…I think lying does not count at the library”. I’ve got to get that on a sampler or t-shirt or something. 

  3. That’s the cutest budding delinquency I’ve ever seen. And I totally agree, I don’t like fashists either; style is much more important.

    Some clever cartoons too, albeit awash in (totally understandable) teenage angst that requires a conscious effort not to chuckle at.

    How on Earth do you find this stuff, Cory?

    1. I thought her analysis of fashism was accurate, and also her identification of the Man.  Pretty perceptive for a 5th grader.

  4. That’s awesome. Listening to punk music in my teens (and still today) changed my life in an incredibly positive way. I hope it does the same for her.

  5. “But if the Dead Kennedys don’t like the man so don’t I.”

    Punk political consciousness in a nutshell.

    1. I think it’s probably true of any political consciousness when you’re that age. You’re not really old enough to form really independent political ideas without reference to outside sources.

  6. I’m digging the librarian putting Dead Kennedys on the shelves in the first place.  The edgiest CD at our library is the Grease 2 soundtrack.

    1. I couldn’t agree more.  I’ve always planned to leave part of my estate to the public library where I grew up.  I will have to remember to state that it be used for putting things in the collection at the librarian’s discretion – especially things that might arouse the ire of anyone who would fuss about “public funds”, etc.

    1. The man in the band who got sued by the rest of the band for stealing $$$$$ from their own label ! So he might have turned into “the man” what with the rip-off philosophy and lies about his former bandmates.

      (Even though he was great, when he was great, prior to this disgrace).

  7. When I was in the 5th grade, I used my birthday money to buy the Sex Pistols-NMTB and Iggy Pop – TV Eye albums on cassette. That week, my buddy Ed and I spent Saturday searching for empty beer bottles to cash in for the deposit. We used the cash we made to go to Walgreen’s to buy a three-pack of blank tapes. Ed got a dupe of both on one tape, I traded another dupe for one of The Dead Kennedys, and used the third blank to record the best songs off of the Dr Demento radio show that month. Funk as Puck.

    I totally would have gone swinging on the jungle-gym with T-R.

  8. The misspellings and over-the-top delivery peg my BS meters.  It feels exactly like a high school senior trying to write like a naive fifth grader.  I’m not saying the author isn’t expressing a reflection of her experience, but it’s truthy, not truth.

    Other than “The Man with the Dogs” I can’t think of a DK song with “the man” in the lyrics.  (“landlord man” and “medicine man” i can think of off the top of my head, but not “the man”).  And DK were never shy about naming names.  Now, if there were questions about the identities of Jerry Falwell or Phylis Schaffley or Jerry Brown…

    It’s cute, and we can sympathize with her naievete, but I don’t think it’s real.

    1. Well it damned sure doesn’t sound like me when I was a kid, but then again I scanned a story I wrote and drew when I was six or so and honestly…. I don’t think I’ve made a better piece of art in my life.

      By fifth grade  I would definitely have been writing suicidal poetry and stories about gory murders, haunted apartments, or cruel nihilistic fantasy lands while listening to terrible music.

      So… now that I think about that, nothing’s changed much. And maybe that *is* what makes this seem suspect. There’s the suggestion of sooo much change here.

      But who knows. I remember the existence of other girls in school with me and some of them seemed kind of like they could have written this.

      That being said, I don’t know what song it is referencing either. It seems like if you were going to fake something like this, you’d do the homework.

    2. To me it reads like a few years younger than the 14 it claims. I’d believe this from a 12 year old, but at 14, I’d expect better punk knowledge, more political knowledge, and less hearts.

      But maybe teens changed since I was young.

        1. She claims to be almost 15 in the diary entry. But I fully admit having no idea how American-style grades match to age.

    3. Yup, the wild tonal shift from arch & worldly (“lying does not count in the library”) to shocked – shocked! – and wide-eyed (“They even cuss at him!”) strikes me as utterly false.  

    1. Jello Biafra never rapped about his boyfriend. It was a pretty noticable omission, actually. I think his intention was to snub him.

      1.  Oy…  From her fifth-grade diary: “..the singers do not like the man.  They even cuss at him!  I don’t know who ‘the man’ is…”

        That, and a fair number of rappers (from what I’m told) have homophobic lyrics…

  9. Wow. This brings back memories of forging my parents’ signature so I could check out Slaughterhouse Five from the library and being desperately afraid they were going to find my soundtrack of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

  10. Anybody who dots their lower case “I”s with little hearts is NOT punk. Or at least not completely. When I was in 5th grade, I wanted to be Detroit’s version of Harriet the Spy.

  11. Awesomely cute. I know a bright 5th grader who could easily write something like this; when she was in 4th grade (age 9) she told me earnestly that she was a very weird person and that most people couldn’t understand her. I would never hurt her feelings by telling her how adorable that was.

  12. I wanted the DJ to play the Dead Kennedys at my Bat Mitzvah in 1983. I was overruled by my parents. Of course I was also wearing a Gunne Sax dress with a collar up to my chin, so I guess not very punk after all.  But I grew up to be a real teenage wannabe punk rocker in L.A. and got kicked out of my temple one afternoon in 1986 for having dyed my hair purple with Manic Panic purchased at Wacko on Melrose. 

    So stick it to The Man!

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