Drawing on forty-seven ethnographic interviews, this article explores how “straight-edgers” (sXers)—participants in the hardcore music scene who abstain from alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and promiscuous sex—construct and evaluate authenticity. While research on music subcultures documents how authenticity hinges on factors such as gender and race and how it may change over time, sXers place special importance on age, in particular, the legal drinking age of twenty-one. Interviews reveal that, depending on their distance from the legal drinking age, sXers differentially construct authenticity by relying on their selective use of the past, present, and future. Rather than simply serving as one more dimension of authenticity, however, the issue of age and the debates surrounding it serve as an entry point to understanding the temporality of authenticity.
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