As someone who has identified with the punk movement for most of my life and a committed liberal, I found two problems with your report on conservative punks ["Punk Rock's New Colors: True Blue; Beneath the Tattoos Beats a Conservative's Heart," Style, Oct. 13].

The first is that it fails to note the inclusive nature of punk. While leftist politics are the norm, punk rock was formed around the idea that anyone could be a punk. It is a common misconception in the mainstream media that all punks have a tattoo here, a piercing there and radiantly dyed hair. Punk is about passion, and if Nick Rizzuto and people like him have that passion, they are undeniably punks.

Second, while the story did mention Johnny Ramone, the darker side of the history of punk conservatism was left out. In the past, "conservative punk" has at times referred to such openly racist groups as Skrewdriver and the Klansmen, and these and their ilk have been shunned by the punk community at large. Not that Rizzuto is in any way on par with racists, but his actions call to mind Spain's Popular Party, which transformed from an openly fascist group into a mainstream right-leaning one.

While I would never attempt to deny anyone's punk rock credentials, readers who are not intimately familiar with punk rock must be made aware that most of us, while accepting his right to expression, view Mr. Rizzuto's beliefs as an aberration.

-- Joshua Goodman



This article is one of the worst I have ever read in your paper, and that is saying a lot. Finding one self-labeled "punk" who is conservative, citing "informal exit polls" of a "Republican-oriented label" and subsequently generalizing about a generation of young people is not journalism.

Nick Rizzuto is an overprivileged, angry adolescent whose rants are better left to his Web site and his suburban New York community, not The Washington Post.

-- Nicholas G. Arons

New York