The Talk Show Karen Who Hated Punk Rock
Meet Serena Dank, an OG Karen who founded 'Parents of Punkers' and appeared on the '80s talk show circuit to warn parents about the corrupting influence of punk rock.
In the era of Tipper Gore and the PMRC, heavy metal wasn’t the only genre of music in the crosshairs of scared parents. Televised talk shows regularly showcased punk musicians and fans, along with baby boomer parents who clutched their pearls over dyed hair and leather jackets.
For many years, Serena Dank was on a mission to shield children from punk culture. She claimed to field phone calls from worried parents on a daily basis while reuniting families with runaway punk kids. Dank even performed recon missions at punk shows and bars, reporting back with stories too horrific for innocent ears.
“When I walked in [to the bar] I was in a fairly good mood,” Dank said on an episode of Donahue. “When I walked out, I was so angry. What happened was it was just body to body and while I was just standing there, I was just innocently looking around, and I got beer shot in my face and obscenities.”
“Good!” one punk in the audience reacted. He poignantly added, “She was there being a spectator and to pass judgement and we don’t want it. Stay away.”
Dank also seemed to view the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks as a blueprint for the ideology of all punks. “The message of punk, a lot of it, is there’s no future,” Dank said on another show. “We probably won’t survive because of the nuclear bomb.”
Watch some of Serena Dank’s greatest hits in the Loud List below.