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August 1993


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Michael Breiner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 18 Aug 1993 07:40:14 EDT
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Harriet -- Unfortunately, i've cleared out my mail file since i answered your
initial query abt this "self conscious punks" stuff, so i'm not sure what i
wrote. But uncertainty hasn't stopped me from blathering in the past, so...
i think what i found most problematic in the continuum you were (are?) propos-
ing was figuring how to fit fictional representations of subcultural signifiers
into a discussion of subcultural signifiers. (It's no surprise that (i think)
the only films mentioned by Hebdige in Subculture are Jubilee byDerek Jarman &
Punk (aka in the states as the Original Punk Movie.) by Don Letts.) The problem
that i see in combining these (un)real signifiers is that we can become lost in
a zone of irony that is created when an actorstands before us and says, "I'm
not a punk but I play one on TV." I'm not sure, but i would be inclined to
think that in the long run the characters in Educating Rita and Desperately
Seeking Susan would have more in common with the hippies and drug enthusiasts
(the professor types with short and beads a la Tim leary) of late-era Dragnet
than the Sex Pistols. More to follow if you'd like, but for now the computer is
acting up and making it tough to go on. (My insert key isn't working!)
                                                       -mike breiner
P.S. -- Since i first wrote in July, i've come across 3 books that might be of
interest to anyone interested in this "self-conscious punk" stuff:
  1. Ranters and Pleasers by Greil Marcus (aka In the Fascist Bathroom)
     (Doubleday ; 1993)  -great followup to his Lipstick Traces
  2. Rock My Religion by Dan Graham (MIT 1993) -great essays on Patti Smith
     & the Shakers, Malcolm McLaren, Punk as Propaganda, & Theatre, Cinema,
     Power (& Don't miss the piece on Dean Martin!)
  3. Harmless Entertainment: Hollywood and Ideology of Consensus by Richard
     Maltby (Scarecrow Press; 1983) -i just reread this, and was surprised at
     just how much this book had influenced my thinking about the movies.