The Karen Talk Show 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 days of Tipper Gore and the PMRC, heavy metal wasn’t the only genre of music in the crosshairs of frightened parents. Television talk shows regularly featured punk musicians and fans, as well as baby boomer parents clutching their pearls to dyed hair and leather jackets.

For many years, Serena Dank has made it her mission to protect children from punk culture. She claimed to answer daily phone calls from concerned parents while reuniting families with runaway punk children. Dank even performed scouting missions at punk shows and bars, reporting stories too gruesome for innocent ears.

“When I entered [to the bar] I was in pretty good spirits,” Dank said on an episode of Donahue. “When I came out I was so mad. What happened was it was just a clinch and while I was standing there I was innocently looking around, and I shot in the face with beer and obscenities.

“Good!” a punk in the audience reacted. He poignantly added: “She was there as a spectator and to pass judgment and we don’t want that. Stay away.”

Dank also seemed to see the Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bollocks as a model for the ideology of all punks. “The message of punk, for the most part, is that 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 biggest hits from the Loud List below.

The Karen Talk Show Who Hated Punk Rock

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Diana J. Carleton