April 6, 2006

"Punk culture and ideals promote all body types, all sexualities, all genders and all esthetics."

Punk, Madison style: Slutfest.

160 comments:

lindsey said...

"It's not about reclaiming the word slut," says Pagowsky. "It's more like, if someone calls you a name, it sucks, but instead of being upset, do something constructive with it."

Blecch. I remember the riot grrls trying to do this in the early 90s. These people are stuck in the mud spinning their wheels. Pathetic.

lindsey said...

Also, that quote is hilarious because that girl just basically said that punk culture promotes pedophilia. Good luck with that.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

I would love to hear what John Lydon would have to say to this weird mutation of multi-culti identity pablum.

If "punk culture" promotes all this diversity, why the hell do they all look the same? Walk down St. Mark's Place in New York (avoiding the crowds of Japanese youths waiting outside the bumper crop of Japanese restaurants that have recently popped up there) and you'll still see the same fat girls with carefully torn fishnet stockings and streaks of magenta in their dyed jet hair, studied crudeness issuing from their black-lined pierced lips, their boyfriends, Westchester boys in scumbag drag, skulking in their shadows, their carefully ill-fitting pants held together with safetypins- mimeographs of copies of photographs of sleazeballs from 1977.

There's nothing avant-garde about decadence. It's a symptom of a terminal illness. There's no reason to celebrate decline.

Aspasia M. said...

Eh. I'm not hip enough myself to be a punk, but I liked the straight-edge punks at my college.

As the editors of the literary magazine Mr. Geo and I sponsored a punk show to raise money. It was fun.

One time Mr. Geo and I ran into a member of Negativeland who was wearing a T-shirt that we recognized from their CD's. Mr. Geo complimented him on his shirt. The band member was taken aback as we were both wearing suits at the time. I think he was surprised we had heard of his band.

Wickedpinto said...

"Punk" isn't a specific thing, if it were, it wouldn't be punk. Generaly, I saw it as minimalist fashion with extravagent culture built on individual taste.

But, like I said, "punk" isn't a specific thing, but I think the music supports my opinion.

chuck b. said...

I don't think punk means the same thing or serves the same purposes everywhere it manifests. The Madison scene is going to be different than the scene on either coast or the south. Let them enjoy Slutfest.

Michael Farris said...

Once more the Althouse commentariat displays how litle they understand that which lies just outside their cozy comfort circle.

I never became a punk but I known a bunch and always had a great appreciation for them (once I got to know them). The following are a couple of quick observations (may be dated, from the 80's):

Punk is partly a 12 step program without the 12 steps. The punk scene is a magnet for alienated (usually smart) kids with a low hypocrisy threshhold. The punk-cycle is obvious to anyone who hangs around them for any length of time. I've known lots of people who went thru the program and came out happier and better adjusted than they were going in (or would have been otherwise).

The clothes and appearance are to separate out the losers from the okay people. If you react too strongly in any particular way (negatively _or_ positively) you're a loser (though the occasional understated compliment is okay as is occasional joking criticism). If you can ignore the look and deal with them as people, then you're one of the okay people.

How to tell if someone is a punk: Ask them. If they say no, then they're not. If they say yes, then they're a poser. If they say "What does that mean?" or "That's a meaningless question.", then they are.

Palladian said...

Blah, blah, blah. Just another sad vestige of tribalism.

Goesh said...

No wonder religious fanatics want to kill us all

knoxgirl said...

""It's great to have a community come together, of all different kinds of people, to be able to discuss and relate to one another."

WTF? If that's punk then punk's dead. Boringness!

lindsey said...

"The punk scene is a magnet for alienated (usually smart) kids with a low hypocrisy threshhold."

hehe This is why I eventually ditched the "punk program". Low hypocrisy threshold. The whole punk thing began to feel so oppressive and it really was. It took finding non-punk friends in college to understand how much more free they were to behave any way they wanted. The punk scene at my college was really quite WASPy. The social codes were so rigid that I realized one day I may as well be in a Merchant-Ivory film.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

Sippican: Great post, but I have to take a sentence out of it. Here it is with one deltion:

"Once more the Althouse commentariat displays how litle they understand that which lies just outside their cozy comfort circle."

Really? Does it now? Do tell!

While you're telling us all about this, why don't you tell us how many times you played bass with Smegma and the Nuns. Why don't you tell me how many years you lived upstairs over the Rat in Kenmore Square in Boston. Why don't you tell me the name of the doorman, who let you in all the time to sit in the bar because he knew you, and knew you had no money, and let you watch the Carz still with a z at the end of their name, or GG Allin or the Dogmatics or Human Sexual Response. Why don't you tell us how many shows you went to at the Living Room in Providence, to see Lou Miami and the Cosmetix. No, not that Living Room, the original one. How many times did you perform there, exactly?

How many times did you turn down a performance at the Paradise Club on Commonwealth, opening up for The Plasmatics, because [deletion].

I've seen your friends, Mr. world weary adventurer, and if they dressed up in poodle skirts and danced to Four Freshman records, or wore zoot suits and danced to Louis Jordan songs, they couldn't possibly look more dated and derivative. Although the music would be better.

Why don't you go to http://www.bostongroupienews.com/BGNInMemorium.htm

and see what happened to all these real people? They're all dead, in the most pathetic and lame fashion. So why don't you tell us, mr expert on such matters that's no doubt ever been outside a college campus or a cubicle, all about why this pale imitation of poor miserable dead people is such a hoot.

Gee, I hope I didn't harsh your mellow.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Icepick said...

Holy crap! GG Allin makes an appearance in the Althouse blog! Okay, I need to go lie down now, I'm feeling a bit light-headed....

Jack Wayne said...

The pitiful thing about punk today is that the original "anarchy" has turned into solid middle-class socialism. There is nothing individual about it anymore.

somefeller said...

I'm with chuck b. Let them have some fun at their festival, even if the fashions and music are a bit derivative of what came out years ago.

Could be worse. These kids could've decided to become neo-hippies. All things being equal, better a circa-1977 safety-pin and leather jacket look than tie die.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LordSomber said...

Hmmm. Punk-Affiliates have de-emphasized traditional attention-mongering in Hipster Outreach; they're solely concerned with assembling a winning coalition of ‘The Globally Concerned.’ Sadly, they will find that attitude very hard to shift, in witness whereof we can see how the top figures in the scene have cold-shouldered any questioning of motives. Is this shot in the foot merely a case of the ‘Dummies’ or are these unwitting self-parodies designed from the start to fail?
It may be that this is a necessary stage in the lifecycle of a played-out meme.

Danny said...

Lately the Althouse comments section has resembled social hour at the old folk's institution. There's virtually no stimulating discussion--it's all complaining at others, nad by 'others' I mean anyone who isn't middle-aged and leaning to the right.

Nicole has applied for grants, sat through meetings, pursued co-sponsorships and set up fundraisers for this festival. As a Madison student she could've easily fallen in with 'the get drunk/find stranger/have sex/forget it all' crowd. Slutfest is a Madison tradition and it's always a good time, I'll be going there tonight to check out a few bands.

jeff said...

"I want to be different."
"You mean just like everyone else?"

I know I'm quoting but I have not idea who or what.

Icepick said...

Danny, has it occurred to you that perhaps people who remember the original punk rock movement from 30 years ago may simply be bored with seeing people badly imitate that now ancient scene? And how many times have we seen it regurgitated now? Just because it's new-to-you doesn't mean it isn't hackneyed and trite at this point.

And all of this reminds me of how much my wife enjoys driving through downtown Orlando on Friday or Saturday nights. All the kids are out with their blue mohawks and safety pins, and she always says the same thing: "Ah, look at all the little baby punkers! They're just so cute!" And then she starts giggling. So much for the Revolution....

VW: poodl

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danny said...

I'm not going to even address all the leather jackets and safety pin comments, you'll see none of that at Slutfest or really any other underground show in Madison. I do understand where you're coming from (complaining about the younger generation), the great thing about the internet is it gives you a medium to express opinions that are otherwise met with a bored sigh.

Ann Althouse said...

"applied for grants, sat through meetings, pursued co-sponsorships and set up fundraisers"

These activities don't exactly sound youthful, Danny. In any event, what I found interesting about the quote I featured is that it sounded like the usual expression of Madisonian diversity values -- thoroughly bland too.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

"Punk culture and ideals promote all body types, all sexualities, all genders and all esthetics,"

Bullshit. Punk "promotes" nothing, except perhaps the DIY ethos. It certainly rejects many things, especially on the basis of aesthetics. Punk began as an implicit rejection of both the hippie scene and it's corporate rock spawn. This woman is basically a hippie in punk dress, her taste in music nonwithstanding.

Danny said...

"These activities don't exactly sound youthful, Danny. In any event, what I found interesting about the quote I featured is that it sounded like the usual expression of Madisonian diversity values -- thoroughly bland too."

I've applied for grants through multiple campus and city commissions and the fact of the matter is a successful application needs to be inundated with words like 'diversity', 'inclusion' and boy do they love 'gender'. Of course it's bland bull**it, but that's the formula needed to secure funding from university, city and state arts boards. It's a ridiculously annoying process but it succeeds in that it weeds out grants going to events like Pat McCurdy's Backyard Barbacue or a Packers' Fan Rally.

Nicole has works extremely hard every year to get the festival running, an event that raises funds for Planned Parenthood and the Madison Warming Center. I get the sense that it's a lot of fun to crack jokes on how we're pathetic and misguided adolescents, but Nicole is one of the most hard-working and responsible members of the Madison music community. If you're looking for a demographic of youth who are "spinning their wheels" I'd advise you to walk the length of Langdon St. (essentially frat row) at 2 am this weekend.

Ann Althouse said...

Danny: No one questioned whether Nicole works hard or whether the concerts are nice or worth funding. The question was about the meaning of "punk culture and ideals." You're saying what is needed to "secure funding from university, city and state arts boards." When did punk culture become a matter of securing funding? When did complying with "a ridiculously annoying process" become a punk concept? It strikes me as the antithesis of punk -- not that I'm purporting to be an expert on the subject. I'm just bemused.

Danny said...

Nicole wanted to make a festival that is bigger than an E. Side basement show but still independant of corporate influence. If she pays seg fees to the University, of course she can tap into those funds to pay for gas for touring bands. Nicole isn't striving to make a profit, she's putting in the work to make her event a success. You seem to equate 'punk' with laziness, would you do the same for hip-hop or folk or any other often-political subculture?

Joseph White said...

Talking about punk culture "promoting" anything is fairly ironic, since punk rock originated in part as a nihilistic backlash against the idealism of 1960s and early 1970s rock and roll. Anarchism and destructive violence were at the core of early punk rock "ideals".

Ann Althouse said...

Danny: I think art -- not just punk, though perhaps especially punk -- should be independent of the kinds of conventional minds that make arts grants. Am I impressed by people who get grants? I'm impressed by their business acument.

nedludd said...

"applied for grants, sat through meetings, pursued co-sponsorships and set up fundraisers"

As someone who had his nose broken by Kieth Morris (when he was with Blag Flag -- pre-Henry Rollins and pre-Kieth going to Circle Jerks)stage diving I can pretty much assure that that was not part of the late 70s to mid 80s punk scene.

Applied for grants? What the f is that?

"Punk culture and ideals promote all body types, all sexualities, all genders and all esthetics,"

Wow, the scene has certainly changed. I wonder if you need to undergo a harrassment teach-in prior to going into the pit.

I just wish they would find some new bands to where on their jackets. I mean The Exploited? Dead Kennedys? DRI? I was wearing them in 84. Is there no punk being made today?

I must stop. I sound like one of those boomers I have always hated who prattle on about how much better the music was in their day and how it mattered more.

nedludd said...

I just wish they would find some new bands to where on their jackets.

Uh, might want to read theat as "wear"

The pitiful thing about punk today is that the original "anarchy" has turned into solid middle-class socialism. There is nothing individual about it anymore.

Duke: The lights are growing dim Otto. I know a life of crime has led me to this sorry fate, and yet, I blame society. Society made me what I am.

Otto: That's bullshit. You're a white suburban punk just like me.

Duke: Yeah, but it still hurts.

God, I love that movie.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

Sippican, will you marry me?

Jeff said...

Punk is, if anything, DIY.

Do It Yourself.

Not, Get the Government and the University to Do it For You.

Expecting the government and society to pay for your fun is the essence of the 60's hippie entitlement mentality. By the time the punks showed up, the Great Society had burnt out and nobody expected any kind of a handout from anyone. In fact, they mostly expected to get punched in the face!

Danny said...

Ann: I think it came down to a choice between charging admission at the door vs. getting a couple grants to cover the small costs. Whichever is more acceptable is a matter of personal opinion, but I've never met anyone who'd prefer the former.

nedludd et al: If you are saying that 'punk' has changed since 1960-1980, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Times change, music changes and the older generation is always there to reminisce/whine to anyone who is willing to listen.

chuck b. said...

If you take any scene too seriously, it's going to disappoint you sooner or later. No reason to project disappointment on to everyone else.

Ann Althouse said...

Danny, you're relying very heavily on the assumption that young is better than old, and you may think some of us are relying too heavily on the notion that original is better than copy, but I think the question is where are the good values? If we are to think that there are some good values that fall under the label "punk," what are they? And do you have them?

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aspasia M. said...

Ok, everybody. I know you all are having fun with your snark, but one generation doesn't get to define "punk" for the future generations.

Are "straight edge" punks really punk? They don't drink, don't smoke and don't do drugs.

Can women be "punks"?

Can riot grrrls be punks?

Could bands like Soundgarden be classifed as punk in the late 1980s?

One generation doesn't get to define all subcultures for the end of time.

Joplin didn't get to define Jazz. He got his own time and his own place. Ragtime in St. Louis. That's it - time's up.

I can't believe you all are being so snarky about someone who organized a music concert.

FXKLM said...

As a Madison student she could've easily fallen in with 'the get drunk/find stranger/have sex/forget it all' crowd.

It's great that we have punks to keep us interested in things like applying for grants and being socially conscious. Surely the true punks can save us from a meaningless life of getting drunk and screwing random strangers.

Ann Althouse said...

"I can't believe you all are being so snarky about someone who organized a music concert."

I think we're being snarky about the assertion about "punk culture and ideals" that was made by the person who organized the concert. Why shouldn't we be?

Aspasia M. said...

You and your friends should adapt the only thing, if there's anything worthwhile, from that thirty year old mess: Tell the campus commitees, the town commitees, the city commissions,the campus fiends meting out money and multiculti PC drivel, to SH*VE it, get a keg, and be a normal adolescent human being for ten minutes.

And have a drunk frat party? Whee? Are you kidding me?

I'd much rather hang out with straight edge punks and talk about music, art and politics then get drunk with the frat boys.

Yeah - I get that people are annoying. But anyone can be annoying -including drunk frat boys.

(Hey - I bet people have a lot of fun at Duke Lacrosse parties with a keg.)

Aspasia M. said...

I think we're being snarky about the assertion about "punk culture and ideals" that was made by the person who organized the concert. Why shouldn't we be?

(It sounds like Sippican is being snarky about Danny going to the concert.)

Well, if the bands aren't any good - then I'd say snark away. But if she managed to bring in some good bands - what's the problem?

If the bands are good, it'll be more fun then a frat party or a bar hop.

I guess there's so many students who waste their weekends drunk, I find it refreshing to see a college student do something potentially interesting. We should encourage this - not encourage students to get a keg and drink!

Aspasia M. said...

It's great that we have punks to keep us interested in things like applying for grants and being socially conscious. Surely the true punks can save us from a meaningless life of getting drunk and screwing random strangers.

Oh please, that's not the point at all. Music is just one of many interesting things that a university student could choose to do on the weekend, as opposed to drinking himself into a sot.

But living in a University town, I can see there's a big problem with alcohol as the main form of entertainment for the students.

Ann Althouse said...

Well, Geoduck, you just don't seem to care in the slightest about punk or other cultural values. You're just hoping the kids will stay clean and not get into trouble. If that's your standard, fine. There's nothing to talk about.

Aspasia M. said...

(Well, I was in part responding to Sippicans snark about the keg; and also my own concern about the level of drinking of the undergrads.)

But - here's some of my general ideas about Punk; and about this particular subculture in Madison.

Punk can mean several different subcultures, so it's hard to know which one is being discussed.

In Seattle (late 80's early 90's) there were several different subcultures of music at the same time. In Olympia, Washington - the more "traditional" punks and the "riot grrrls" were two very distinct types of "punk".

I haven't heard any of these bands - but it sounds potentially promising. It also sounds fairly straight-edge, which I'm much more comfortable with, on a personal level. So I'd probably enjoy going to a show or two.

I also don't have a problem with the title "Slutfest." Good for them for taking a word and making it their own. Especially considering that that rape-awareness week just happened.

Anyways, I don't know this particularly subculture - but it sounds like something I wouldn't have a problem with.

But many people seem to be conflating it with late 1970s punk. And it's fine to have contempt for a particular subculture. But it's not the same 1970s punk subculture and it's not trying to be that same subculture.

Palladian said...

"Palladian- It's a tempting offer of course, but Mrs Sippican would be displeased.

And let's not start another polygamy thread"

Not only polygamy, but also gay marriage! Two good things that taste great together!

Apologies to Mrs Sippican!

---

I think the most punk thing to do would be to follow Pascal's advice: the sole cause of man's unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room. Forget the crap music and the pablum about "punk culture and ideals" (that sounds suspiciously like some liberal arts university's diversity policy). Stay at home. Be quiet.

I still don't understand why some commenters can't seem to understand that we are making fun of this woman's silly statement. If you want to have a music festival, fine. Can the crap sociological pronouncements (Woodstock was not a religious event, forget that mythos!), stop looking for grants and instead sell something to raise money. Do it up super cheap. Have your music festival.

Aspasia M. said...

As Mr. Geoduck says "I like punks; there's not enough of them in this town."

Aspasia M. said...

Why do we like punks? Eh - hard to articulate. But I'd rather see an influx of punks then a bunch of frat houses.

(Mind you - it's scary if anybody takes themselves too seriously.)

But I can tell you we both love the song "I want to drink the blood of a hippie." by the Doug Anthony All Stars.

Aspasia M. said...

Woodstock. Mythos. Are you kidding me? Blah!!!

Like I said - blood of a hippie. Yum.

Aspasia M. said...

I still don't understand why some commenters can't seem to understand that we are making fun of this woman's silly statement.

Because I think it's great she organized a music festival. Good for her!

Stay home? This type of organizing is how things get done. If everybody in Seattle had stayed home in the late 1980s things would have been much less intersting in the cultural sense.

Stay home??? No! Go start art shows. Go organize music shows. Go write fiction and poetry. Why not?

Palladian said...

The better question, geoduck, is why?

Aspasia M. said...

The better question, geoduck, is why?

Why have art, music and literature festivals.

1) Sounds fun

2) I would prefer to live in a society that had a vibrant selection of music, art and literature festivals. (Because it's fun. And it feeds the soul.)

-----------------------

"Slutfest"

Specifically regarding slutfest. This woman wanted to take a word that's demeaning to woman and turn it around.

Just as "punk" is turned around in a positive sense.

I think this particular festival does raise the question of how, and in what ways, can women and girls be considered as part of the punk subculture.

Women and girls are not "usually" considered "punk."

I find this aspect one of the more interesting things about this festival.

Aspasia M. said...

More on 'why" and theories of Habermas....

On the Public Sphere, Festivals, and SLUTFEST!

People are going into the public sphere to interact with each other.

The creation of public and semi-public space is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society.

So the creation of cultural institutions help maintain the presence of public space. The availability of diverse types of public space add to the democratic vibrancy of a particular society.

For example, if a mosque is the only form of semi-public space in a state, that country has a very restricted public sphere.

But the enlargement of the public sphere through public festivals add to the democratic vibrancy of that community.

Aspasia M. said...

(Because I referred to Jurgen Habermas, but didn't explain him.)

On why I like the idea of public festivals and I love the idea of people organizing new festivals:

"For a more democratic social base, contemporary political philosphers turn more often to the work of Jurgen Habermas. By locating his "public sphere" in the eighteenth-century West, Habermas opened up civic life to a much broader citizenry and wider realm of rights and freedoms. His public sphere was a 'realm of our social life in which something approaching public opinion can be formed...A portion of the public sphere comes into being in every conversation in which private individuals assemble to form a public body,.."

In addition Habermas located "public life outside the state, finding it in the press and the cafes and clubs of eighteenth-century European capitals, wherever public opinion could be formed, Habermas placed the humanistic political lideals on the grounds of social practice and in the reach of many."

Thus the Do-It-Yourself "punk" ethic merges with Habermas and the public sphere.

** See Jurgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trans. Thomas Berger (1989) quoted in Mary P. Ryan, Civic Wars: Democracy and Public Life in the American City during the Nineteenth Century (1997) p.6.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aspasia M. said...

Sippican,

no, no, no - I don't think you're an "old fart" or anything like that.

You were part of a "scene" that I know nothing about. I know that you didn't like it, and it doesn't sound like much fun to me.

I'm fine with people drinking alcohol - particularly if they drink it as food. But I do have a problem with people who drink to get drunk on a regular basis. In our University town, it's a big problem.

Of course, I'm pretty much the anti-hip. And perhaps straight-edge punks are anti-hip, as they advocate no drinking and no drugs.

The punks I have known (and there are several different subcultures - and my reference is ten years in the past.) were not nihilists or dissafected. They didn't pretend to be "poor." I suspect you are referring to a different subculture that is out of my area of experience.

It's an error, though, to assert that "punk" is one monolithic subculture. Certainly by the late 1980s it was made up of several subcultures who could be in conflict with each other.

In general, I like feminist punks and straight-edge punks. I don't know many other punks. I've met a few "traditional" straight edge punks who were very nice young men.

(But I never hung around with people who drank to get drunk or did drugs. Not interested.)

---
On the sssertion of racial and gender diversity in certain punk cultures:

We have to remember that there exist so-called "punks" who are white supremacists & homophobic who are scary, scary people. So I don't underestimate music that calls for racial diversity, especially when there is white supremacist music geared to actively recruit to that other dangerous, ugly subculture. (Orcinius is a blogger who has closely followed the white supremacist movement for more information.) So this is the context in which calls for diversity takes place. I wouldn't discount the value of those calls for diversity within this context.
---

Sluttfest sure sounds like a feminist/straight-edge festival.

Aspasia M. said...

I wonder if this is something of a west coast/east coast difference?

I lived in Seattle in the late 80s, early 90s. And I have very little exposure to the east coast. I've never been to NYC.

When you all are talking about punks, are you talking about riot grrls? (I also lived in Olympia.)

Do you know what straight edge punks are?

Aspasia M. said...

Zines.

This is another example of the formation of public space.

Townleybomb said...

Leave it to Althouse to start a long literate discussion about whether it is Punk Rock to go to comittee meetings. I have to say that I lean towards the bemused and nostalgic 'they'll grow out of it too' view of things, but how sadly un-slutty is slutfest going to be if they're bragging how there aren't gonna be any leather jackets or safety pins there?

Palladian said...

Wow, Provincetown is too gay for me, and I'm gay. Hats off to you and the Mrs.

All this talk of public space and spheres and socializing is giving me hives. I'm a misanthrope. I have a misanthrope festival in my house each night while I'm practicing my Pascal- no public monies required.

Aspasia M. said...

Well, all this talk and I had to listen to the Gits.

One of my favorite songs is Mia Zapata's Second Skin. I love the live recording. Outstanding.

Aspasia M. said...

I won't make anybody talk about public space anymore.

I love the idea that going to comittee meetings is punk rock. I told you I was the anti-hip.

Wickedpinto said...

Birth of "punk" Ramones, a bunch of lazy F's. Market of "punk" Sex Pistols (who themselves called it a swindel only 3 years later) the Political VAlUE of punk? hard to say, but I pick dead kennedies, socialists of a sort that is insane, but their songs, taken for the time were VERY topical, very poorly written, very poorly performed and VERY GOOD!!!! in general.

Punk is a unique thing, it's SORTA a sound, it's SORTA a group, it's SORTA a philosophy. It's like LAW in music. You don't have to believe anything, just believe in punk.

Don't believe in truth, just believe in law.

lindsey said...

"I'd much rather hang out with straight edge punks and talk about music, art and politics then get drunk with the frat boys."

You don't have to do one or the other. You CAN do both. This is what I mean about non-punks living a much more free (and fun) life. They would never think for a second that they could only do one or the other. You don't have to hang out with straight edge punks to talk about music, art and politics. You can (believe it or not) actually speak to fratboys about these topics. No, I'm serious. You don't have to stay in this little hermetically sealed world you've constructed where only the "good" people with aything worthwhile to talk about do the exact same things you do. This is where the error happens and a lot of punks end up living a more narrow and unadventurous life than the frat boys they spit on. BTW in my experience those straight edge punks within a year or two will be lining up at the keg !)

SippicanCottage said...

What a rollicking good time it was talking about all this, with everyone.

A light bulb went off over my head this morning, and it occurred to me what this fest reminds me of, exactly, to a tee.

Christian Rock. The earnest seriousness coupled with the desperate grasping about for any affectation you can latch on to that represents lamebrain teenage disaffection, and the insane void between the purpose of the exercise and the image you try to graft over it. There isn't a dime's worth of difference between the pastor running your fun and the mildewed academics telling you slutfesters you've got to pray to their gods first.

It's depressing to see young people, and watch their mouths moving, but seeing a cold, dead hand rammed up their backsides, moving their arms and legs, and wondering if the committee members they massaged for permission for their fun can drink a glass of water while the children speak.

For god's sake, get up off the padded floor, take out the binky, remove the helmet, take off the elbow pads and the shin guards, disconnect youself from mom's apron strings and have some fun. Before your whole life turns into those committee meetings.

grass is good as carpet anywhere is fine

Danny said...

Sippican is right. Even though all of my friends were there at the festval, and even though I heard some incredible music and even though the night was topped off with fifteen of us jumping in the awesomely frigid Lake Mendota, I had no fun last night. Instead of taking part in the aformentioned uber-PC and exclusively 'punk' activities, I should've lined up outside a bar for 45 minutes with a fake ID so I could enter an over-packed room and purchase a Miller Lite for $5. Now go and tell me how fun and un-PC it is to wake up the next morning having no idea what you did last night.

lindsey said...

"Now go and tell me how fun and un-PC it is to wake up the next morning having no idea what you did last night."

Danny, Danny, Danny. Most people who lined up at that bar know exactly what they did last night.

Aspasia M. said...

I wonder why it bothers people that Danny had fun last night at a music festival?

somefeller said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aspasia M. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

Somefeller: " It seems to me that "punk rock" means whatever most people who consider themselves part of the punk rock scene at a given time and place think it means. "

Go back to the original post. That was my point: "Punk, Madison style." It's not so much what it says about punk as what it says about Madison.

Townleybomb said...

You don't have to stay in this little hermetically sealed world you've constructed where only the "good" people with aything worthwhile to talk about do the exact same things you do. This is where the error happens and a lot of punks end up living a more narrow and unadventurous life than the frat boys they spit on.

A-frickin'-men, Lindsey.

In defense of the slut kids, though, seeing everything in terms of mindless black and white and pink is pretty darn punk rock. Which I guess is why I liked Velocity Girl more than Fugazi or Blatz back in the day (and still today).


BTW, does anyone remember the classic seven inchers that pmunuvra put out on WV records back in '91 or so? Great stuff-- sort of like a sludgier Victim's Family.

Aspasia M. said...

It seems to me that "punk rock" means whatever most people who consider themselves part of the punk rock scene at a given time and place think it means. There is no Ur-text or something of the like that one can turn to determine whether or not something or someone is punk rock. The scene in Madison in 2006 will be very different than that of Boston in 1980 or Austin and Houston in the early 1990s (the scene I'm more familiar with), so what is "punk rock" in one time and place may not be in another.

Thank you for saying this so clearly.

Madison will have it's own scene and subcultures right now.

It sounds like people are more interested in projecting their own antagonism from past "scenes" onto this festival.

SippicanCottage said...

Imagining you're being persecuted might be the least attractive aspect of the proceedings around here.

I went to slutfest! It's just my way of sticking it to the man.

But you ARE the man.

Maybe.

Aspasia M. said...

Sippican,

I don't understand why you have a problem with Univ. of Wis. students going to this music festival?

There's lots of bars and "classic" student drinking in Madison. Must every single student do the bar hop every weekend?

Townleybomb said...

I wonder why it bothers people that Danny had fun last night at a music festival?

Who has said that this bothers them? Lindsey and I are somewhat bothered that he seems to have a somewhat constricted idea of what can be fun, but hey, he's like 20 and will probably grow out of it. I know that I did, and so did (most of) my snotty friends.

somefeller said...

"Go back to the original post. That was my point: "Punk, Madison style." It's not so much what it says about punk as what it says about Madison."

I understand that. Much of the discussion on the board, however, has dealt with whether or not the festival and its sponsors are really "punk rock" or not, not about the extent to which Madison's local culture influences the festival and its participants. That's what I was responding to, and why I focused on the punk, not the Madison.

Aspasia M. said...

Who has said that this bothers them? Lindsey and I are somewhat bothered that he seems to have a somewhat constricted idea of what can be fun, but hey, he's like 20 and will probably grow out of it. I know that I did, and so did (most of) my snotty friends.

Just for the record - Danny never said he couldn't have fun in other ways. He was responding to Sippican who said he should go get a keg instead.

And, for the record, I have never identified as a punk. I reacted to the idea that the festival was BAD because it was PUNK. I like music festivals. In contrast, found college "keg" drinking to be BORING long ago, when I was in college.

As a college student, I would rather go listen to music then go to a kegger.

But to each their own.

Danny and I never tried to tell other people what to do with their lives. But for some reason - there's plenty of advice for Danny.

Projection anyone?

sarah said...

Okay so I'm one of the people who organized Slutfest this year, and I didn't put in a third of the work that Nicole did. I hate to sound cliche, but as far as I can tell, I've seen ONE person who actually knows her comment here (although I don't have the time, patience, or energy to read all 83 comments).

The fact is, you probably don't know Nicole, you probably haven't been to Slutfest any of the last three years, and you probably don't have any right to complain about the name, the concept, the funding, the music, any of it. "Punk is dead." No, it's not. Maybe it's not the same as it was in 1977, but the fact remains that as long as there are disenfranchised, alienated kids growing up out there, there will be punk. If punk was the same that it was thirty years ago, it would be dead. Life is metamorphasis. I am not the same person I was 3 years ago, and I doubt anyone else is. The scene is not the same - the fact is, "scene" is huge right now but if you were at SF two years ago, last year, last night, tonight, you won't see "punks" or a "scene." The people who go are not necessarily members of any group and do not dress the part. Last night I saw people dressed as "punks," with patches and green hair, but I also saw someone in a (non-ironic) Hawaiian shirt. I saw someone wearing a Wisconsin sweatshirt. I saw someone who, if I saw her on the street, I would call a hippie. The music is not the same - music is alive, and as I said, life is change. Compare "punk" bands (whether from 1977, or current) to hardcore bands, they're nothing alike. The only thing they have in common is that they call themselves punks.

As for complaints about where the money came from, Danny is right because he knows not only what Nicole did, but also because he's done it himself. Nicole applied for grants. These aren't corporate grants - they came from the University, to support an event that actually teaches people things. Locally owned businesses like A Woman's Touch were kind enough to help as well. A lot of the money came from the people who go to SF, too, through fundraisers we did. The idea was to have an event that anyone can go to, and not have to pay, and a small group of people (mostly Nicole, actually) did all that work. This is not a "UW" event - any money that came from the University came from the seg fees that all UW-Madison students pay, and which are available to all students to use. Events like Slutfest are one of the reasons that we have seg fees, to enhance the learning experience. Much of the money though came out of DIY fundraisers, and we used NO corporate money. That's one of the reasons why Slutfest is called punk.

Danny has been accused of just assuming that young is better than old. Well, I'm young (although older than Danny). Based on the majority of comments here, I have no evidence that old is necessarily better than young. All I can tell is that old seems to mean crotchety.

SLUTFEST said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sarah said...

Back again, just giving some feedback from a non-blogging friend. She says:

"What's not punk about it [Slutfest]? That it's DIY and actually intelligent?"

Danny said...

Hi Sarah!

sarah said...

Hi Danny!

SippicanCottage said...

I, I, (bursts out laughing)

The My Little Pony nihilism is cute. I liked that you imagined that all those squares would be shocked, shocked, I say, that you called it slutfest. Personally, I'd have been shocked if you had the nerve to call it antything else. It was especially poignant that you didn't sully your hands with --Egad lovie! --corporate money, you bravely went and smooched some tail and got access to that big-vat-of-rich-daddy's-money that little farm stand --the University --keeps on hand, and kept it real

I must go now, and... try and accomplish something now. The light is getting dim, but someday I might...throw a costume party with atonal music with other peoples money. I can dream, can't I?

Oh, these kids are so darn cute.

Townleybomb said...

A note of apology to the Madison kids-- I've been confusing Danny's and Geoduck's comments above, and it's Geoduck who's been the source of most of the self-righteousness, constriction and general NO FUN here.
I still think that the sophomoric high seriousness of "punk cultures and ideals promote...." is silly, that it's just plain sad that punk turned out to be a sober and self-serious tradition instead of a brief burst of fireworks inspiring future kids to make something truly new and their own, and that going to committee meetings and throwing a party with other people's money is pretty far from DIY. However, I'd probably go if I were in Madison, since some of the bands sound like they might be OK, and it would be an opportunity to corrupt boys in raggedy Misfits shirts.

PS Nichole: Way to make me want to not hump my computer by talking about tofu farts and thinking it's clever not to capitalize things.

Aspasia M. said...

Ha! Go Nicole!

I loved the idea of incorporating burlesque into the festival.

Aspasia M. said...

A note of apology to the Madison kids-- I've been confusing Danny's and Geoduck's comments above, and it's Geoduck who's been the source of most of the self-righteousness, constriction and general NO FUN here.

Look - NO FUN Puritan Geoduck is BACK!!!

I think you should just be happy that I'm not going to try to get everyone to talk about Habermas and public space again.

(as I fall off my chair laughing...)

SLUTFEST said...

you must have missed this part:

"i don't give a shit how the name of the fest makes you feel"

time to go OUTDOORS now--try it!

somefeller said...

Townleybomb said: "going to committee meetings and throwing a party with other people's money is pretty far from DIY".

I don't know, going to meetings and throwing a party with other people's money sounds like a pretty good description of what Malcolm Maclaren did with EMI and other record labels during the short life of the Sex Pistols. So while it may or not be DIY, it is arguably very punk rock.

I believe there is only one way to settle this discussion. Ann, you need to take Nicole and Sarah out for coffee at your favorite local Madison cafe. The experience will be good for all involved, I'm sure. Take photos, please.

SippicanCottage said...

What times does the orchestra start?

Townleybomb said...

I think you should just be happy that I'm not going to try to get everyone to talk about Habermas and public space again.

Holy damn that makes me happier than the Ramones (or having decided not to go for a Comp Lit PhD after undergrad).

time to go OUTDOORS now--try it!

Nichole: this would be a more effective debating point if you were not of necessity indoors while making it.

Llduczo: I was always a big fan of this music/ performance/ graphic arts collective, despite all of the Basque situationist agitprop that went along with the good times. Does anyone know if they put out anything after "Word Verification Gas Chamber"?

Townleybomb said...

I don't know, going to meetings and throwing a party with other people's money sounds like a pretty good description of what Malcolm Maclaren did with EMI and other record labels during the short life of the Sex Pistols. So while it may or not be DIY, it is arguably very punk rock.

Point taken, at least when it comes to parties with other people's money, but I am willing to bet dollars to old Screeching Weasel vinyl that no toilets got broken in any of Nichole's meetings, and that none of the filth at Slutfest is going to inspire fury in anybody but Sippican Cottage.

Also, I heartily second the idea of some kind of mash-up between Althouse and the Slutfest kids. I wonder how something like Slutfest would compare to those boring old hippy concerts we're always hearing about here!

Aspasia M. said...

Holy damn that makes me happier than the Ramones (or having decided not to go for a Comp Lit PhD after undergrad).

hmmm. Well, I always try to give fair warning that I'm a geek. :)

time to go OUTDOORS now--try it!

eh - I thought it was pretty funny myself.

I'm sick with a spring cold. But everyone who's well enough to go outside - have fun!

Aspasia M. said...

Also, I heartily second the idea of some kind of mash-up between Althouse and the Slutfest kids. I wonder how something like Slutfest would compare to those boring old hippy concerts we're always hearing about here!

oh yes!

And please take pictures!

(& I bet Slutfest is much more fun then the boring old hippy concerts.)

Palladian said...

It's so cute when they learn to swear too! It makes them seem so grown-up and edgy! I'm so proud... Grandma's little slut!

SippicanCottage said...

It's hilarious that you folks need to imagine I'm "furious" or shocked or something.

I keep on telling you, you're not raging against the machine- you are the machine.

I'm having a swell time -- 24/7

Ann Althouse said...

Well, we're pretty far into the comments -- who knew this would go on so long? -- but I don't think anyone got upset about the word "Slutfest." People keep dropping by to defend the fest against criticisms that were never made. No one ever said Nicole didn't work hard to get grants or that the kids shouldn't enjoy their music, etc. The original point of the post was mocking the Madisonian diversity cant that Nicole connected to punk culture. I thought that was funny. Sara, and Slutfest just haven't responded to that. Danny agreed with me that it was bullshit. So, whatever. For all the complaining and trying to change the subject, I read a concession: the original mockery was apt.

Ann Althouse said...

"I wonder how something like Slutfest would compare to those boring old hippy concerts we're always hearing about here!"

Have I been writing about hippie concerts? You probably were not reading this blog when I wrote this.

Townleybomb said...

Sippican-- I think it's hilarious that you seem to need to think that we somehow need to think that you think that this is all terribly shocking. Surely you've got to admit that some faceless person on the net saying he wants to go up to some Nichole and ask when the orchestra starts would bring to mind the image of a shivering old man in an ascot and monocle trying to run some freshman's feet over with his walker?

As for the longevity of this comments section, you've got to remember that most of what punk rock is is vitriolic, potty-mouthed arguments about what punk rock is, and any mention of it is going to inevitably start a shitstorm where people wind up bragging about GG Allin.

SippicanCottage said...

Ann, at least one of your children make an occasional appearance here, both in your comments and their own. They acquit themselves admirably and intelligently.

They make their own music. And in your basement, before you cleaned it up, you showed a picture of the graffiti:

WE DON'T NEED NO EDUCATION.

That's in the basement of a notable college law professor.

They might say they don't need it. But they certainly got one. And correct me if I'm wrong, but you probably thought: There's no deeper meaning there; they are assuming a world weary pose that ultimately is harmless, or perhaps a faint echo of any real discontent. They're working out the idea of what it means to fit in without losing their identity.

I hope the kids at slutfest had fun. And no matter how they protest, I imagine they're lovely salubrious young people. It's curious they so desperately want to believe they're a mess -- or at least associate their persona with the truly disaffected --and everyone's out to get them. They seem to being trying to provoke some backlash that never comes.

Their fun seems awful serious.

Danny says they jumped in the lake for fun. Did Nicole file an environmental impact statement, apply for an NEA grant, and call OSHA to hand out flotation devices at the water's edge? I doubt it.

Maybe Danny was taking my advice after all.

SippicanCottage said...

townleybob- I can't talk about this forever. Now you're saying I need to think that you need to think that I need to think I'm angry. The snake is swallowing its tail. Someone described me as furious. Actually it was you. You're being silly.

Many people seem to think that if you mention a notable person, you're "bragging." Perhaps you need to rethink your attitude towards any Tom, Dick and Harry on a stage. I'm sure I've performed in front of more people than GG Allin.

You're very prescient about one thing though; the line about "when does the orchestra start was real," and said to me by an old fart. We always said it to one another afterwards to refer to a deadbeat audience.

Have fun kids.

Aspasia M. said...

The original point of the post was mocking the Madisonian diversity cant that Nicole connected to punk culture. I thought that was funny.

Probably because it's not new(in the last fifteen years) in punk culture, nor it is unique to Madison. Punk rock has been explicitly exploring sexism, homophobia and gender inequity since the late 1980s/ early 1990s.

For example: Heavens to Betsy (Corin Tucker/ Tracy Sawyer; Sleater Kinney; Bikini Kill; Kill Rock Stars (label); Home Alive(Joan Jett & the Gits in response to Mia Zapata); Posititive Force House(Riot Grrrls); Bratmobile; 7 Year Bitch...

Aspasia M. said...

And we should notice that the Madison take on sex and sexuality is actually a critique of PC/ hardcore feminist punk (for example, Olympia, WA circa 1991-1993):

ABOUT SLUTFEST

Slutfest is a two-day music and skillshare fest focusing on the theme of (healthy) sex and sexuality. The name is tongue-in-cheek, and not an attempt at reclamation of the word "slut". All that aside, the majority of us, especally those in the hardcore scene, could benefit from two days devoted to a favorite activity to most, since sex is typically absent or portrayed in an unhealthy way in hardcore. Slutfest is a chance to boldly point this out and dwell on it.

FAQ (to prevent another onslaught of message board fights)
1. Why Slutfest? Why not Sexfest or Lovefest?
Because the name is funny, that's why. The hardcore scene tends to be entirely too PC. Not everything has to be a battle or taken super seriously.


(from www.madisonslutfest.com)

Ann Althouse said...

geoduck: "Probably because it's not new(in the last fifteen years) in punk culture, nor it is unique to Madison. Punk rock has been explicitly exploring sexism, homophobia and gender inequity since the late 1980s/ early 1990s."

I realize that, but read the quote again. It's pablum. You're lumping things together that are different. I don't think you've rescued that quote from the original mockery. Cite me some lyrics that sound like that -- bland and bureaucratic. That is grant-writing genuflection, as Danny conceded -- what? -- 50 posts ago.

Ann Althouse said...

And the quote I highlight is still blandly Pc. You can point to other quotes, but so what?

chuck b. said...

Ann said, "I read a concession: the original mockery was apt."

No, it's not--you're wrong. I would rather go to Slutfest than Music Concert.

Aspasia M. said...

I realize that, but read the quote again. It's pablum. You're lumping things together that are different. I don't think you've rescued that quote from the original mockery. Cite me some lyrics that sound like that -- bland and bureaucratic. That is grant-writing genuflection, as Danny conceded -- what? -- 50 posts ago.


My point was simply that in the late 1980s, early 1990s the riot grrls were a big influence in US punk music. They pushed things exactly lilke the above quote. I lived in Olympia (home of K Records and Kill Rock Stars) during those years. This particular style of feminist punk movement isn't native to Madison. It started in Olympia, WA and Washington DC in the early 1990s.

My second point was that Slutfest is explicitly reacting to some of the PCness of hardcore. (ie - Heavens to Betsey/Sleater-Kinney)

Now - lots of people mock and mocked the riot grrrls. In the early 1990s there was a significant ammount of antagonism between "traditional" punks and the riot grrrls in Olympia and Seattle.

It's fifteen years later and I don't live in Madison, so I don't know the specific dynamics of that subculture. But this festival sounds fun. Burlesque dancing!

nedludd said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
nedludd said...

"Probably because it's not new(in the last fifteen years) in punk culture, nor it is unique to Madison. Punk rock has been explicitly exploring sexism, homophobia and gender inequity since the late 1980s/ early 1990s."


Boy (or grrrrl), if you are going to talk about punk at least have some idea of what the hell you speak.

"Punk rock has been explicitly exploring sexism, homophobia and gender inequity since the late 1980s/ early 1990s."

Yes, this only began in your lifetime. Poly Styrene, Souixee Souix, Fear, The Dickies, et al. did nothing like this.

Thanks for making an old man laugh. Your ignorance of what you speak shines like a beacon atop a hill for all to see. Keep at it, slugger. There may be some insipid comment you forgot to make, don't let it go unmade.

Aspasia M. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aspasia M. said...

Yes, this only began in your lifetime. Poly Styrene, Souixee Souix, Fear, The Dickies, et al. did nothing like this.

Uh, I never said that it did "just start" nor did I claim to be an "expert." (For the record - I am not an expert. And I am not a punk. I've never been a punk. It's never been part of my identity. And for the most part I know very, very little about music or the history of music.)

I am responding to the comment that the quote is unique to Madison, Wisconsin.

My point is to say - hey - no it's not new. Look at the riot grrrl movement.

That's all I'm saying. I'm making no other claims.

Wow - people get really sensitive about definitions of punk. I can see why people hate to teach the popular culture of music. (People are really responding strongly to a music festival.) I know a cultural historian who vowed to never teach a class on the history of music. I can see why!

Aspasia M. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

Geoduck, I said "I realize that, but read the quote again. It's pablum. You're lumping things together that are different. I don't think you've rescued that quote from the original mockery. Cite me some lyrics that sound like that -- bland and bureaucratic. "

How can the things you quoted possibly be thought to be what I asked for??

Ann Althouse said...

It's like you're specializing in missing the point!

Danny said...

Ann, I think you've gotten the point that SF was nothing more than a chance to have fun. The point you're trying to make is that Nicole's answers in the interview concerning 'punk' reflect on the nature of Madison to make bland what once wasn't. After thinking about it more, I'd take back all I said about 'grants and funding'--I think the actual explanation is a lot less satisfying for those looking to identify Madison's culture climate.

Have you ever been asked a rather inane question by a member of the media and felt the need to provide an answer as opposed to calling them out on their stupidity? So if the quote you selected is bullshit, it's only because it's an answer to a bullshit question directed to a person who simply didn't care. You see the bullshit as being connected to/represenative of Madison's omnipresent PC culture. I'm not Nicole so this isn't an official stance, but the quote you selected is a response forced by the Isthmus's need to give an overarching meaning to Slutfest, an event which is really nothing more than a gathering of bands.

I see a pattern of media outlets sometimes trying too hard to find deeper meaning where there is none (Cheney's shooting for example). I'd say Althouse and the Isthmus are both guilty in this instance.

Palladian said...

Wait, so now you're equating a random event (Cheney's hunting accident) with a planned, premeditated, publicly-funded rock concert? So you're either saying that Slutfest was as unpleasant and unfortunate as taking a face full of bird shot at close range, or you're calling Cheney a slut... I'm very confused.

Aspasia M. said...

Geoduck, I said "I realize that, but read the quote again. It's pablum. You're lumping things together that are different. I don't think you've rescued that quote from the original mockery. Cite me some lyrics that sound like that -- bland and bureaucratic. "

How can the things you quoted possibly be thought to be what I asked for??


I'm not trying to rescue the quote from mockery. Likewise, I'm not trying to convince people to like a particular genre of punk. But I am trying to explain that it was (and is) a common criticism to call the riot grrrls P.C.

My point is that type of statement isn't unique to Madison in 2006. Those type of statements were all over the riot grrrl movement of the early 1990s in Olympia WA and Washington DC.

For example: Here is an excerpt from the Positive Force website:

Positive Force isa collection of diverse individuals. Nonetheless, we are united inopposing racism, sexism, homophobia, militarism, violence, classism,hierarchy, ageism, excessive materialism, economic inequality,censorship and discrimination against disabled people, among otherthings. All should be guaranteed basic needs like food, shelter, healthcare and education. We also generally encourage people to move towardssimple, communally-oriented lifestyles that are free of chemical abuseand that show respect for the Earth and all life forms. We are notdogmatic. Cooperation and tolerance are far more important to us thanany self-righteous idea of purity.

Since Positive Force arose from the punk underground, we are about farmore than just "alternative" music. We promote active, questioning,responsible, alternative lifestyles.


Postive Force started in Washington DC in the early 1990s. It is directly connected to the riot grrrl movement.

-----------------------------
Or...here's an excerpt from the website: http://www.dragking.org/Queercore.html


Some folks have pointed out that music has little to do with sexual orientation and to develop a genre of music (or even a sub-genre like hardcore punk) around a particular sexual orientation or set of orientations, is foolish. Perhaps, in a perfect world I would agree that music should be about music and not about other things. But we don't live in a perfect world. We live in a white supremacist, homophobic, patriarchal world. So if we can use music to help confront those structures of oppression, let's do it! And besides punk rock, like rock n' roll, has always been about sex!

For more examples, so a google search on key words like:

Queercore, riot grrrl, Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill (or other band names) and match with words such as

sexualities, homophobia, sexism, gender, queer and racism.

Ann Althouse said...

Danny: "Ann, I think you've gotten the point that SF was nothing more than a chance to have fun."

I never questioned whether people enjoy their concerts, so don't act as though you've somehow succeeded in revealing that crushingly obvious point that could scarcely have escaped me. I wrote a post about a quote, and I had to repeatedly ask commenters to focus on the quote?

What is this new long post of yours about? Isn't it just you once again admitting that the quote deserved mockery? Or did you need to express regret that you knocked Nicole for saying what she had to say to get funding.

Or do you really mean to say that Slutfest "was nothing more than a chance to have fun"? There are no ideals and culture here, it's just happy fun music for the kids? In which case, why did it get funded?

Ann Althouse said...

Geoduck: You brought up the subject of the uniqueness of Madison. I never said that. PC blandness exists outside of Madison. I never said it didn't. I was expressing dismay at the same old diversity cant. I'd be less dismayed if it were limited to Madison.

Aspasia M. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
somefeller said...

Ann, I'll agree with you that PC cant is boring, as all cant inevitably must be. Hell, the whole PC thing helped made me consider myself to be a libertarian rather than a liberal in the 90s, but that's a story for another time.

That having been said, I don't think the whole anti-sexism, anti-racism, anti-other objectively bad things attitude that the Slutfesters are promoting is a just a pose to please the PC gods and the grant funding community. It looks to me like they've thought through their positions, and consider such issues to be important to them, much like the riot grrls of the 90s did. As such, it seems to me that focusing on the way they've structured their rhetoric, with the implication that all they are doing is reciting shallow cant is deeply unfair to them, and is itself missing the point that they (and their allies, like geoduck2) are trying to make.

Ann Althouse said...

Geoduck: Title Nine in a song. Interesting.

Somefeller: I don't doubt that the organizers of the festival actually oppose racism, sexism, and homophobia. Why would I? Why would you think I would? It's deeply unfair or you to call me deeply unfair. It's also really silly.

Palladian said...

"Positive Force isa collection of diverse individuals. Nonetheless, we are united inopposing racism, sexism, homophobia, militarism, violence, classism,hierarchy, ageism, excessive materialism, economic inequality,censorship and discrimination against disabled people, among otherthings"

Dear God, after that list, I can't begin to imagine what the "other things" are. There are so many contradictory ideas in that statement that the sheer ponderous weight of the whole mass of them together will probably collapse space/time into a black hole.

All this garbage is just a way for the irreligious to be pious and dogmatic.

Ann Althouse said...

Well, if they are against ageism, this comment thread ought to be quite disturbing to them.

somefeller said...

Ann, you said things like:

"I think the question is where are the good values? If we are to think that there are some good values that fall under the label "punk," what are they? And do you have them?"

"That is grant-writing genuflection, as Danny conceded -- what? -- 50 posts ago."

"Am I impressed by people who get grants? I'm impressed by their business acument."

The implication that I drew is that you thought the Slutfesters (now that is a great punk band name waiting to be taken!) were either not seriously thinking through the values that they were reciting or that they were just using their business acumen / reciting some pablum to pick up a few grants. I don't think I was alone in picking up that implication, if I am reading geoduck2's commentary correctly. They, and others, have pretty well shown that their rhetoric, while it might sound a little PC, is in line with what these crazy punk rock kids are all up to these days.

Damn, I'm surprised I've spent so much time discussing this. Nowadays my contact with punk rock is mostly limited to listening to the Fungus on XM every now and then.

SLUTFEST said...

i skimmed most of the rest of the comments, but danny you pretty much got it right on. the isthmus daily page and print journalists asked me what i'm trying to do with slutfest and i said nothing at all--it's nothing new i'm doing nothing different, just trying to combine two things that should be combined--whatever. the reason it got so much press was because some people WERE shocked by the name. i don't care either way--it started off as a joke on a message board and i just ran with it, later deciding it might be fun to have skillshares about sex. that never got included of course because it's a boring answer--but as liberal a media source as some may be, it doesn't always mean the whole story is there.

anyhow, the fest was fun and everyone who went said they had a blast--thanks for caring about me and what i have to say so much that there were so many replies--have a nice day i'm going on a bikeride now since i'm such a hippie... it seems a bit chilly outside though, so perhaps i should bring my leather jacket with safety pins

SippicanCottage said...

Hello, Muffie? this is Tammy. Let's like, totally end war and injustice and famine, and like bad people who are just so, like totally against everybody and not for anything good and stuff and stand up to, you know, the like, what the cool teacher said, you know -- the blutocrats or something -- that aren't for being against things or anything, and fly in their corporate jets covered in seal pup fur between their landmine factories. They don't eat just cucumber sandwiches, rainwater from terne metal gutters gathered from cathedral rooves in France and pringles like normal people like us do
.
We can so like totally end all this bad stuff if we just get like, my dad to like give us money and go down next to the place that sells the crystals, you know, next to the tarot card reader's and the 7/11 and the feng shui pedicurist and get a bunch of like, totally committed people that aren't skiiing in Vail this week to gather in public and shout DOODIE POOPIE! at everybody that goes by and dress like Morticia Adams on a three day jag.

Totally.

Cousin Don said...

In the words of the Ramones:

I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care about this world
I don’t care about that girl I don’t care
I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care about these words
I don’t care about that girl I don’t care
I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care
I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care
I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care about this world
I don’t care about that girl I don’t care

Aspasia M. said...

Like Somefeller, I'm also surprised I've spent so much time writing about this. I lived in Olympia from 1990-94 (And Seattle from '86-'90; I was never a riot grrrl, but it was very interesting to watch it grow as a subculture.

Disclaimer:

I'm pretty much an idiot about music. All music. My friends and my husband think I'm hopeless.

The music subcultures pretty much exploded all around me in high school and college. Everyone was going to shows. And I had no idea that there were more opportunities for Seattle residents to see local music in the late 80s, then in previous years.

I only know about the riot grrrls because some of them lived near me in the dorms at The Evergreen State College and a good friend was heavily involved.

Kathy Acker was a big influence at the time. And yes, there could be too much of a emphasis on "purity." But I also like their challenge to the traditional punks. And I like how they will invert the insult of "girl" and "slut."

Johnny Nucleo said...

Geoduck,

Punk is about Anarchy. Punk is anti-politics. These Slutfest poseurs are not punk. There is a movie, "SLC Punk", that is not that good but does not completely suck. It has a scene where the main character, a punk in Salt Lake City, very accurately lays out what is and is not punk. Rent it, just for that scene. Then you will understand.

Aspasia M. said...

I've seen SLC Punk. It liked it. It did a good job showing the fun and annoying things about traditional punk culture.


Hype is also a good documentary, but for other reasons. Mostly it does a good job of showing the anatomy of a subculture and its interactions with the main stream media.

Ann Althouse said...

The nice thing about that Ramones song is that you can tell he really does love the girl.

Aspasia M. said...

Johnny Nucleo,

Thanks for the recommendation. I'll watch it again soon and think about that scene.

My impulse reaction is to say that anarchy is a political ideology.

(And that almost all physical expression in the public sphere, like singing, can also be a political act.)


If we imagined these performances in states where people do not have the same citizenship rights - the political nature of the singing becomes clear:

For example - let's say we heard of a all woman punk band performing in Iran or Pakistan. Let's say they sang about domestic violence, rape, women's rights, honor killings and incest.

I bet we'd be thrilled for a number of reasons. Their performance would be, in itself, a political act. In fact, in those countries the mere fact of women singing in public would be a political act.

Ann Althouse said...

"in those countries the mere fact of women singing in public would be a political act."

The first at all political post I wrote on this blog was on this topic.

nedludd said...

it started off as a joke on a message board and i just ran with it, later deciding it might be fun to have skillshares about sex

Assuming geezer pose, leaning forward in my rocking chair to put the weight on my cane and adjusting the dentures

"have skillshares about sex"

Back in my day we called that getting laid, and we didn't need no steenkin' university grant to do it. Hell, we frequently didn't even need a partner (and this was before Dr Elders taught us all how to masturbate, we had to figure it out on our own, through hours of practice).

"have skillshares about sex"?????

Congratulations, you just made sex sound incredibly boring. I bet your orgies are just committee meetings.

Aspasia M. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LordSomber said...

Punk wannabes with stunted emotional bandwidth who've dwelled for too long in the all-too-familiar milieu of studied eccentricity have emerged as 'inarticul√© rebelles' that are detached from the realities of getting older… and getting a life.
Their shallow fatalism is puzzling, much like how one can both whine and claim to be defiant at the same time.
Shameless piggybacking on vintage subcultures is more than a subtle indicator of a lack of content… especially when you're going on thirty.
The Bottom Line: Cognitive Disengagement and Poor Self-Marketing has resulted in Role Strain.

What 'program' could these Unoriginals possibly get with?

Ann Althouse said...

Well, Nicole has started emailing me, flailing wildly, but she refused permission to reprint the email she sent me, so I've taken down the post I did on the subject. Suffice it to say, she's doing the ultra-punk thing of telling the dean about me. You know, me, who just quoted her, and let a discussion flow in public, where she could fully participate.

It was interesting that she was so thin-skinned about reading her own quote and hearing ordinary people respond to it. She's accepting of all body types, sexualities, genders, and esthetics, but pissed as hell at diverse ideas.

I've never encountered that before.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
P. T. Fogger said...

Coming in very late in the debate, can I just say "Replacements"? Their first four or so albums?

And, echoing others, I never understood how "Punk" transmogrified from -- well, from whatever that anarcho-autodestruct thing it was -- into something that would throw its weight behind the soggy panoply of liberal & leftist causes. I mean, you have to worry about what you say around those folks!! So easy to offend.

And the irony of getting behind a political ethos that, by and large, means more comprehensive government involvement and regulation of public and personal life.

heh.

ChrisO said...

OK, I'm 55 years old, and was a hippie for years, and I hope I never become as insufferable as Sippican. All this Muffy and Buffy stuff is crap, and not even particularly amusing. You complain about people being poseurs, then play the part of the "these damn kids today" curmodgeon to a T. It's no wonder the punk scene died out, since I presume from listening to you that no one ever charged admission and money never changed hands. Just because the doormnan let you in free, you think no one was minding the finances? Someone gets a University grant, and you start all this "spending Daddy's money" crap? So no punks were ever on welfare, or used food stamps? Ann can keep reminding us that her original post was about Nicole's quote, but that isn't what you've been addressing, or what commenters have been responding to. Every time someone tries to make their case, you either start your ridiculous namedropping or ridicule them with lazy stereotypes. I actually came to this thread because Ann spoke highly of your comments here, but I have to say she's easily impressed. Admittedly, you can turn a phrase on occasion, but most of your commentary is pretty lazy. I found the whole "did you live upstairs from the Rat" spew to be particularly annoying. Making people prove their credentials: how punk.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sonicfrog said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sonicfrog said...

One generation doesn't get to define all subcultures for the end of time.

This may be true. But the "definition" of a subculture really doesn't start to change until those who helped create it have mostly passed away, and there is no one left to retell what the experience and expression was all about in the first place. I mean, were the "flappers" of the 1920's thinking of themselves in the same way we perceive them today? Worldly, bold, partyers, revelers... Or were they just doing what was theirs to do???

I was a teenager during the Punk Peak (late 80's), so I remember allot of it. I thought it was crap. But then, I lived in a tiny town during that time, with no bowling alley, movie theater, stop light, or Punk scene to speak of (on the back of the "Welcome To ______ sign was the one that said "You Are Now Leaving _______, Please Come Again!"). And I was, and still am, a non-conforming non-conformist. So naturally I never attached myself to any of the passing fads. Wearing different things to hang with this crowd or that never made sense to me. Unlike those who are followers, I never spiked my hair, wore earrings, got the Duran Duran surf cut, smoked cloves, never wore parachute pants, or a pink shirt w/ a yellow sawed off tie (or did I), got a tattoo, etc. etc. I saw all this as fake; it seemed like hiding your true self behind a youth-culture image, obscuring who you really are.

God I was soo bored as a kid. I really missed out on a lot of fun!!!.

What were we talking about again?

PS. Password is "nsaked"

sonicfrog said...

Modern Gay Pride parades are the same as the modern punk movement. They mean well, but they don't, and can't, mean the same thing now as they did then, when being gay meant being a pariah of society, with seemingly little change of being accepted by the whole of society. It was something of a brave soul that participated in those first few events, and I admire them greatly for taking the chances they did. Todays parades seem like little more than an excuse to get drunk and be queenier than usual. Let it all hang out. Which is fine. But still, it's not the same and can never be.

Transplant said...

Well, I followed a link here and I can't help but say that what I've read makes me feel a little worse about what some people do with their time.

I see nothing but positivity coming from the event Nicole set up. I feel bad for anybody who has spent hours of their time (we only get so many hours on this earth) negatively putting her and all the good kids who went to the event down.

I also think the response from the "punk" side in terms of putting down kids on langdon street or older individuals is just as childish as the "adults" they've been arguing with.

I really don't like how some people have sat on the ivory tower of aged experience to talk down to people younger than themselves. I think it's horrible to encourage kids to give up their ideals because you were let down by your own not long ago, or because their idea of a word or movement doesn't match up to what it meant when you were their age. (should we not be happy Punk is no longer totally embodied by the mindless anarchism of the past?)

With added years I myself have grown more jaded, but I don't find myself speeding the process for my younger cousins and other young people I meet from time to time.

Everyone is wide eyed at one point. You likely were at one point too. So who are you to fault anyone? Some people actually never give up in things they believe in. As long as what they are promoting is positive I think it's great. We need more people like that in the world.

Lets not waste our time shitting on their parade.

Thanks

Ann Althouse said...

Transplant: "I see nothing but positivity coming from the event Nicole set up..."

Thanks for your comment, Transplant, but I wish you showed more signs of understanding what we were talking about. "Nothing but positivity" -- that doestn't seem the slightest bit punk. It's fine that people heard some nice music and enjoyed themselves. But this is a discussion of the meaning of a cultural term. It's really a shame that you don't see what's interesting about talking about such things. Some of us think discussions about ideas are as interesting as concerts. That's what we're doing writing here. We don't feel that we're wasting our time anymore than a person going to a concert he likes feels he's wasting his time.

Transplant said...

Ann I wish the discussion had actually gone the way you describe it, but I guess you must be living in a bubble. A lot of it has been negative (on both sides yes, but guess who started it?). The kids involved in this event have been portrayed as fools because of their ideas of a good time or a culture they call their own. They have been called posers and had their work labled unimportant simply because they identify with the word punk and they don't want to go break things and destroy the system from the outside. Positive statements have been mocked because some people have nothing better to do than rant against the actions of others (even when they're doing more good than harm). I don't care what you think Punk means or meant. I don't think Punk was really ever set in stone. Ideas and times morph in form over the years. It's just in the way "conservatives" used to be about conservation, and are now concerned with spending our national wealth on expensive wars and homeland securty spying. It's just in the same way Democrats have morphed from southern racists to central left liberals with pocketbooks bigger than their desire for real justice.

Maybe they're carrying a flag that had a different meaning 30 years ago. Perhaps they've changed the colors and made it their own, because stagnation in society leads to its destruction. Accept the changes I say, and realize tomorrow is not going to look like yesterday.

People have been faulting the punk of today because it doesn't live up to that original imagined definiton. They haven't been making objective comments, they've been tearing the new and the different apart for its advancement. It's one thing to simply observe that things have changed, and another to be critical of that change without much reason to be so.

Ann Althouse said...

Transplant: I agree with you that some of the comments here are pretty mean, but the irony is that punk originally was mean and not at all about positivity. It WAS about tearing things down. That's what makes this conversation so interesting and not -- as you tore me down by saying -- a waste of time. Everytime your side came back and asserted that they were nice people with good values, they added fuel to the argument of the other side. It was comical, and one of the good values that your side was sorely lacking was a sense of humor. Being thin-skinned is so not punk -- from an originalist perspective. The irony is quite hilarious. Please try to see it. It will do you good. And you're all about good, right?

lindsay said...

wow! I am shocked at how many people have totally missed the point of what punk is! Punk is about doing things by yourself and not caring about what others will think. you can't all be the same when you are punk because how do you make something that someone did by themselves on their own time to make a killer whatever it is like everyone else's? punk is about loving everyone no matter how they look or where they come from becasue punks are stared at and made fun of just like you people are doing right here, so they know what its like to not fit in at they will love everyone. It's not about codes and how to be "punk" because if you try to be punk you will never be punk. To be punk you just have to be yourself and try to do your own thing at you cant care about what others think. Punk started becasue there were peopl that felt like they didnt fit in anywhere, and now there are people who don't feel alone becaise they know that they are not the only ones out there that feel like they dont fit in. so why don't you stop wasting your time back talking a sub culture that you obviously know nothing about and get back to your preppy- hating-everyone-who-isn't-like-you lifestyle. Look if you are ready to understand punks than they will accept you for who you are.....but if you just want to make fun of them...then they wont listen to you and get offensive..trust me they get enough of that at home. Do you know how hard it is? To have people cross the street when they see you comming at they just judge you by how you dress? but we are not complaning because we would live no other way.

lindsay said...

Punk is about doing things by yourself and not caring about what others will think. you can't all be the same when you are punk because how do you make something that someone did by themselves on their own time to make a killer whatever it is like everyone else's? punk is about loving everyone no matter how they look or where they come from becasue punks are stared at and made fun of just like you people are doing right here, so they know what its like to not fit in at they will love everyone. It's not about codes and how to be "punk" because if you try to be punk you will never be punk. To be punk you just have to be yourself and try to do your own thing at you cant care about what others think. Punk started becasue there were peopl that felt like they didnt fit in anywhere, and now there are people who don't feel alone becaise they know that they are not the only ones out there that feel like they dont fit in. so why don't you stop wasting your time back talking a sub culture that you obviously know nothing about and get back to your preppy- hating-everyone-who-isn't-like-you lifestyle. Look if you are ready to understand punks than they will accept you for who you are.....but if you just want to make fun of them...then they wont listen to you and get offensive..trust me they get enough of that at home. Do you know how hard it is? To have people cross the street when they see you comming at they just judge you by how you dress? but we are not complaning because we would live no other way.

Nick said...

Its strange to see how much of a reaction this topic has spurred on...
"Punk" still has that vestige of oh so cool british SNARL to it I suppose,which is a little funny considering what it started out as...JESUS!!! I could go on and on about all of it being myself a recovering "gutterpunk"-which is a completely differant thing I assure everyone...
But firstoff,"punk"for whatever that means has always been very sympathetic to femanist causes.One need only look at the radical anti-gender steroetype songs of the 70's band Crass,or the pamphlets included in old Rudimentary Peni albums that complained about the sexism of the London music scene at the time.And then lets not forget the battle cry of X-Ray spex,the ORIGINAL riot grrrl band "oh bondage up yours!"
The early London punk scene was in fact really the first time that all-girl bands were taken seriously.
The Slits, The Raincoats, DC-5, X-Ray Spex, The Au Pairs, the list of all-girl punk bands goes on and on and on...

But moving right along...
I agree with what some of the posters said, that anyone who calls themselves punk probably isnt and real punks dont go out of their way to all dress and act alike. Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) was reputed to have said about punkers that "never since the nazis have so many people looked and acted the same". "Punk" has become so many things that it originally rebelled against, i.e. mindless conformity and closemindedness. The confusion I think lies in the spirit of rebellion, which is not necessarily punk, though punk rock was started in that spirit. If you really get right down to it, any act of creation is an act of rebellion, stepping out of the established order to make something of your own. So I suppose the devil was the first artist, rebel, and "punk".

What irks me most is that a movement that started out in the spirit of non-judgement and openness ended up being just another excuse to stick with your own kind.
But every movement ends up like that, as people join it for the scene while remaining ignorant of the ideals...

I Atlanta, where Im from, us gutterpunks would sit out in little 5 (the "alternitive/punky" area of town) and make fun of all the people who spent hours getting ready to come down from the suburbs and look like we did becuase we were too poor to afford good clean clothes and didnt ever bathe.

And yes,the word "punk" was actually using an insult as a badge of pride, turning it into something constructive I suppose.Its actually prison-slang for "gay" and generally means someone whos weak cowardly or shy. A little like calling someone a dork, but more like saying faggot.

All that said...
As I mentioned I was a "gutterpunk" which is sortof slang for a homeless junkie.(god bless the anonymous internet...)
In all the years of my life I have never known a more loving, accepting and honestly human group of people then my other strung-out friends,many of whom were actually very intelligent and well-educated people who did not accept the system of life as it is and got chewed up and spit out by society.Before you judge that-be aware that the culture we live in demands a lot of obidience and if we cant give that its almost impossible to survive.
Many of us were frustrated artists who had our souls sucked dry living in poverty as wage-slaves because we didnt want to go to a school to justify to this society that we were worthy of having creative talent and being given the time and oppurtunities to use it.
We live in a country that grades rates and numerically scores everything, sortof like a burocratic american-idol type thing...

But in our society also punk has ceased to become rebellious or dangerous at all. Maybe it would be if everyone werent so damned certain just what it meant to be a punk,maybe if it were still a statement of radical individuality and rebellion against systems and conformity of any type,even to your own preconceptions...
Yes,punk is dead.
It died when they gave it a name,like every other social movement.
But its spirit-which is that of rebellion and freedom, lives on still-
One day it will rise again...