Stay Underground

  • Stay Underground
    I stumbled upon this near-manifesto about ‘zines called “Fuck quirky; Zines are dead, long live zines,”
    by Jim Munroe, on the Mass Culture website. It’s a good analysis about how at its height mainstream media coverage of the ‘zine movement focused on the safe, quirky zines and publishers–typically cute girls and safe white boys–while leaving untouched any real historical perspective. He gives praise to Doug Holland who publishes the “ReaderÂ’s Guide to the Underground Press,” previously known as “Zine World,” because Holland’s emphasis is to provide a real guide to ‘zine producers and readers, rather than charting the underground for the passive consumer. Something that Munroe critiques the former “Factsheet 5” (“Guide to the Zine Revolution”) for doing, with its distribution to major bookstores, glossy cover and fairly uncritical reviews.

    I’d have to say that I agree with Munroe. Despite my belief that the subject matter and approaches expressed through ‘zines are really needed in the mainstream, I can’t not recognize that the mainstream press nonetheless puts most material under a homogenizing steamroller that presses most truly critical matter right out. Thus, mainstream exposure, as Munroe makes clear, rarely quite works out being what you’d want it to be. It’s usually way too safe.

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