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Rabid_ Heat on Notes and Questions

Rabid_ Heat on Notes and Questions

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Published by: kinoglaz on Sep 19, 2011
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van Ham, Rabid, & Heaton notes and questions 1.

van Ham picks up on brief observances of others to investigate the role of first wave punk. Were these trickster figures? Perhaps in the vein of classic literature? Perhaps, then, punks fit in with the “best that has been thought,” as Hebdige interprets that phrase. For example, one of Shakespeare’s most popular characters, Falstaff, is a drunkard, a braggart, a lout, and a common comic topic. That Prince Hal turns his back on the old man so he can become Henry V only adds to the comic failure that is Falstaff. van Ham refers to many punk icons as “mythohistorical personae” (319). In other words, these punk characters are actors (personae) who play clown the role in many stories that many of us are familiar with. 2. The “sacred clown” is profane, among many other traits and allows for listeners and performers to engage in comic adventures together. However, the clown also is a source of sublimation, allowing for a culture to reveal and revel in unacceptable cultural phenomena. 3. 323: clowning is a modern and pre-modern phenomenon. In other words, punk is part of a centuries, or even millennia, old tradition of clowning that is crucial for the retaining of cultural identity. In this sense, it is possible to argue that punk is essentially a conservative force, one whose value is allowing an outlet for negative tendencies (what Freudians would call "sublimation") in order to move past those tendencies and reestablish the reigning order. Let's see how van Ham addresses that issue. 4. First paragraph on 324 is CRUCIAL for looking at early punk. 5. One of the aspects of this essay is van Ham’s implicit claim that punk was welcoming of all who wanted to be part of the community. He makes this claim mainly in section on “Gender Instability”, and if you pare that section with his overall claim that sacred clowning allows for disruptions of the social order, then van Ham is possibly claiming that punk allowed marginalized groups social access. 6. 326 – 7: some historical context for punk’s rebuttal (negation) of earlier pop music. 7. 328: So, punk may perform a more conservative, in its literal sense, function in a society. Through dirtiness and sickness, punk provides a venue by which a society can cleanse itself and be reborn. 8. 332: look at paragraph that begins with “For all its ambitions…”. Further evidence that punk may be part of a cycle, a necessary cycle that allows for hegemonic forces to be in power. In other words, punk allows for the power bloc to mobilize those who are not in power but who may not be part of punk's community, either by their own choice or by the choice of the punk community.

9. Jack Rabid: 196, Notice that the notion that punk is dead has seemingly already been proclaimed. 10. This piece comes from a popular fanzine at the time, The Big Takeover. We will begin looking at ‘zines in detail during Wednesday’s class. 11. 197, par. 5: punk was once about creating a “new society,” a place for uncool people to enter without worrying about being judged. 12. 198: Rabid claims earlier that he was shocked at the cops’ violent actions in LA. As he returns to LA later, he now adds the behavior of punk fans to his disdain for the violence in the scene. 13. What we’re seeing these first 2 articles is the realization that punk performers and audiences came from many places. van Ham criticizes Hebdige for only allowing punk to be about class, and Rabid, on 198, hints that the older fans of punk were more open to different influences, e.g., jazz, ska, funk, and so on. 14. Compare my note on p. 333 of van Ham’s essay with Rabid’s penultimate paragraph on p. 199. 15. Dave Heaton: (when I chose these readings, I did not know that Heaton is a contributing writer to The Big Takeover, but it’s a nice coincidence.) He’s not writing about punk, but his discussion of authenticity in this article are easily applicable to punk. In fact, his first paragraph ought to ring quite familiar 16. Roughly halfway through his first page, Heaton claims that one view of “real” country might believe that “[a]nything that smacks of commercialism or pop, or deviates from a well-worn country playbook, is definitely not ‘real.’” It is that last phrase “deviates from a well-worn country playbook” that is worth discussing. If we are trying to define “punk” for our own purposes, are we creating a well-worn punk playbook? Is there a way to codify punk so as to allow it to include a diverse range of material, performers, and listeners? How might we do so? What is “authentic” punk? What makes something “authentic” or not? 17. What might be some punk responses to the notion that “country music has been the chronicler of hardship” (my emphasis)? 18. Writing outside of one’s own experience certainly seems less real upon a surface reading. But, does writing about the world speculatively or globally or from an outsider perspective allow a song to be more real? 19. The listener’s position as listener plays a role in how “real” or “unreal” a song is. Let’s trouble that notion a bit. Does the individual listener or one group of listeners have the final say on authenticity? If 10 million people buy, for example, Green Day’s music, does she have a bigger claim to realness? Where do we make a cutoff line for authenticity? 20. Heaton ends with something that may seem obvious, but he uses the entirety of his piece to provide support for his finale. This move lends his conclusion more weight.

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