I came across this academic site on the roots and influence of zines, kids can study this in college? Good for the kids, that was my scene, just don’t tell me blogs are the natural progression of zines because all the two have in common is the DIY element.
Blogs are clean, they’re self-consious, you don’t see mistakes, misspellings and indeliberate cross-outs on blogs, though deliberate crossouts are all the rage-and that’s about snark, but zine cross-outs were about something closer to panic, messiness was the zine aesthetic, conveying the urgency and intensity you expect to find in notes from the frontlines. I reject any scholarship that misses that.
Hell, I miss that.
Twenty years ago in Oxford Ohio I sat down one night and started
Suicide Survivor Notes, ran off 300 copies on a Xerox and handed them out on streetcorners. My friends didn’t understand what I was doing, I didn’t understand it, and had no knowledge of the thousands of similar-minded misfits then flooding their city with personal zines and cassettes. Punk rock fanzines were ubiquitous and boring, we were a subculture within that subculture, both truly needy and truly rejecting, withdrawn but not apathetic, and resentful of the assumption that hunger for human contact automatically makes you available for what passes for it.
Daniel Johnston started as a nobody and eventually became famous for doing what thousands were doing on their own steam and without support and awareness of each other, freaking out our aquaintances by walking up and handing them brazenly confessional personal zines, dropping them off in record stores, forcing our lives into the milieu, handing them to anyone who looked like they might be receptive or repulsed. We weren’t a part of a tradition, didn’t read “chapbooks” or follow the beats, we were following a similar impulse with no awareness of others doing the same in other cities, or that we were part of a revolution; the only grass-roots activist subculture going on at the time.
Today I compare the sloppiness of zines to blog threads–and all blogs have them– where people double-post in order to apologize for the prior post’s mispelling of a word, even when the meaning is clear and the word doesn’t need to be repaired. I wonder what is going on with these people and figure the correction is for the sake of something sad.
Blogs do one thing zines can’t by creating communities of people talking to each other in the moment, but I don’t want some cocaine sniffing triumph censoring my expression, and Twisty Faster is not the only one who has her head so far up her own ass she doesn’t allow elipses in her comments. Thats when I quit playing, I don’t want that vibe seeping into me, and while I respect everyone’s right to create a climate I don’t think its good to be too self-conscious. I see bad juju in anyone who advocates controlling behavior as some kind of progressive, right-thinking social imperative. I guess that’s why they call themselves grammar nazis. I’ve always had problems with nazis.