University Students Studying BLT, Radical Politics, and Social Class

Students at University of Arizona are reading about BLT for class. This is definitely one of the more amusing things I found while doing research on Black Leather Times for the BLT Kickstarter (less than 48 hours left, eep!) For one of his courses, Professor Malcolm Alan Compitello at University of Arizona assigns Chapter 8 of Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture. Notes from Underground is an academic study of the world of zines and its political impact (or lack thereof), written by NYU professor Stephen Duncombe and published by the deeply awesome Microcosm Publishing (who I should totally write for.)

Professor Duncombe’s general thesis is that zines often have charismatic convincing voices, but they tend not to effect enough social change because zinesters other themselves and seek intimacy with their audience in a way which requires a small size. Speaking about BLT, in his chapter on “The Politics of Alternative Culture,” he wrote:

Bohemians have worked long and hard, shedding the values and appearances of their upbringing and creating new ones in replacement, why should they turn around and embrace the very things and people they’ve left? Think again of the pride of Black Leather Times‘s Amelia G in “loud, joyous proclamations of our freakdom, our otherness, our willingness to be different”; and her glee in mass rejection: “So what if we horrified the neighbors; we exulted in one another.” The problem is this: in order to effect political change when you have no power, you need your neighbors.

I’m going to resist my own pedantic impulse to take a professor to school on what it means to be punk or at least my own personal micro social psychology. I’m just going to take a moment to stop and smell the roses and be stoked that my sweet antisocial baby BLT is in university textbooks. BLT is being taught in school. Now please go back the BLT Kickstarter and own a piece of zinester history.

notes from underground zines


Posted by on July 26, 2015. Filed under Books, Headline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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