Sunday, February 5, 2017

Mosh Pits


The etiquette of a mosh pit. What is a mosh pit? How should one act in this swirling mass of bodies? Here we discuss...

     First, let's define a mosh pit.

Mosh Pit - A form of dancing and enjoying aggressive music. Often mistaken for fighting, and very misunderstood by those who do not regularly participate in such activities.

     Now that is something of a loose definition, but it works for a base line. The part that maybe doesn't work is "form of dancing." So, let's clarify. Dancing, when applied to pit ethics, is really just moving in rhythm to music. There are many "moves" that some pitters (myself included) do while pitting. However, this is one form of dancing that a sense of rhythm is secondary to just the act of moving. Usually, depending on the style of pit, there are many people who are engaging in this activity at one time. Often the view is very much one of "the more the merrier."

     So if, for most intents and purposes, a mosh pit is basically just a swirling mass of bodies, how does one apply etiquette to an anarchic state of being? Simply, don't be an asshole! No one is here to hurt anyone, so don't intentionally hurt anyone. There are a lot of people here to work out their aggression in an enjoyable way, if you are the one who makes it not enjoyable for anyone else, then you're an asshole. Should there be a fallen comrade, pick them up before they get trampled. If you ignore someone under your feet and they sustain an avoidable injury, you are an asshole. And finally, don't assume your injury was intentional. You stepped into the pit knowing that there would be aggressive movements performed by others, and by you. If you get hurt it should be expected. If you assume that hurt was intentional, but you don't have evidence or proof and you freak out anyway, then you are an asshole and possibly a moron.

     How to tell if one is being an asshole. Your first clue should be if you have broken one of the three rules above, then you are probably being the biggest of assholes. But beyond that there are some  more subtle things you can observe.

     Before we can get into the subtleties we need to differentiate the types of pits. First, and most common at metal shows (or other types of aggressive music shows), is what I call a Chaotic Pit. This implies general clashing of bodies, pushing, shoving, skanking, and other similar dance moves. Basically anything goes, so long as you do not violate the three primary rules. Chaotic Pits are possibly the easiest to join and actively participate in, which is likely why they are so prevalent. Next, and possibly more wide spread than just for aggro music, is a Circle Pit. As the name would imply, a Circle Pit happens when the crowd moves quickly in a circular motion. Now, there are different ways to do this, and each potentially could qualify as a different flavor of circle pit. Usually though people pick a movement from the chaotic pit repertoire of movements and then just direct that movement in a circle instead of back and forth, or they run. My favorite variation on the Circle Pit is the Skanking Circle Pit. Finally, and less common thought still noteworthy, is the Hardcore Pit. DO NOT be confused by the name, Hardcore Pits are the least likely to cause injury. They received their name based on the style of music they usually accompany. Hardcore Music is great, Hardcore Pits are for pussies, and if you don't know the choreography you are ostracized. Not that the choreography is difficult to pick up on, mind you. But it IS choreography. Pre-described movements that look like you took those karate classes as a kid WAY too seriously. All pose and no substance.

     So, if you find yourself in a Chaotic Pit, not breaking the three cardinal rules, but people seem to be annoyed by you, here are a few things to check. Have you coincidentally stopped in front of the same set of people multiple times to catch your breath? Have you tried to engage those who are standing around the circle of the pit to no avail? Has the song to which you are pitting been appropriate pit music? If you answered yes to any of those then you might be annoying, and in danger of being an asshole.

     In a Circle Pit pay attention to the following: Are you circling the opposite direction from the rest of the pit? Has the band on stage instigated a Circle Pit and you are just standing around? Are you choosing a more aggressive way to pit than the rest of those engaged in the Circle Pit? If you answered yes to any of these, then you are possibly being an asshole.

     If you find yourself in a Hardcore Pit, kill yourself. You don't deserve to be sucking the same air as the rest of us. You cowardly cunt. Throwing punches and then get confused when you piss people off... Seriously. Kill. Your. Self.

     Otherwise, when at a show of any kind, keep in mind you paid money to be there, and so did EVERYONE else. So enjoy the show at all costs.

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