"Money was maliciously introduced in ancient times as a tool of enslavement" -
Michael Tellinger

"The present belongs to the future and future generations, and all old laws, religious and other, should be abrogated immediately. Free us!" - Vinay Gupta on Twitter

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." - R. Buckminster Fuller

"You find the strangest ways to be positive!" - Diane Duane, Wizards Abroad

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Kathleen Hanna on the difference between zines and blogs (plus a note on Factsheet Five)

I was active in the zine culture in the Seventies (as a reader/supporter and sometimes a participant in several sorts of feminist, feminist science fiction, and media sci-fi zines), and again in the Eighties (Starman/scifi) and now I'm blogging (just for myself; any subject that interests me), so I appreciated this observation by Kathleen Hanna. As she says in this vid, print zines were very much of their time, and rooted there, whereas blogging loses that quality.

Yes, there was a creative, social and --frustrated archivist that I am, I'd have to add -- historical value in the very frantic and ephemeral nature of print zine writing and publishing. Still, as to blogging, I have to say it really is wonderful to be able to do all the stuff you can do online now -- link, add photos, illos and videos, change layout at will, and especially to go back and update and edit posts and other things later on - in short, to keep a topic of the present time, and not instantly out of date. It's no fun to be ephemeral when you've really worked on something. Blogging might be ephemeral too but it doesn't feel that way because you can refresh your work and make it new again at will--just as, here in this blog, I'm unearthing my old book reviews and making something new out of them, relevant to the present time. As a writer I love being in charge of my own publication this way - and I wouldn't go back to those days of laborious by-hand production, expensive distribution, and instant obsolescence for anything (emphasis all mine).

In the interview above (though not, I think, in this particular snippet) Hanna is talking about the feminist zines that nurtured her own work in the punk rock scene, and kept her going when people were dragging her off the stage--that was the Nineties--but there were all kinds of zines for decades; they were the social and political samizdat of the "free" world. Blogging has taken their place, and self-publishing has moved on to the variety of slick new publishing methods that the online world has made available to writers who can now work independently of mainstream publishing (which is dying a slow and painful death, I hope, by corporate strangulation).

I wonder where all those zines of past decades are now. Factsheet Five was an amazing mission, by one guy, Mike Gunderloy, to preserve that underground history of fanzine publishing, and he did a wonderfully inclusive job of reviewing and archiving any zines he received, without censorship or judgment. He gave me some very kind reviews for some of my zines, and it amazed me that he even looked at them, when he seemed to be getting them by the thousands. His archive of zines, which in my imagination must have taken up several warehouses by the time he was through with publishing, would be a treasure beyond anything in the Smithsonian, for social historians. To me he was a true hero. Does the archive still exist? Does anybody besides me know or even wonder where it is now? (Instant Wiki update! They're in the New York State Library in Albany. Whew!)

Naturally, I googled the question. I found a new electronic edition of Factsheet Five here but it doesn't say much about the original project. Note to self: investigate further! Its sister site is Alternative Press Review. It all sounds promising but I haven't taken the time really to check it out yet. I hope they're carrying on the good work - but seeing links online just isn't the same as holding that jam-packed, fascinating, soon-to-be superceded pulp-newsprint edition of the monthly Factsheet Five in my hands. Guess this makes me a fuddy-duddy.

speaking of updating and linking, here's an earlier post having to do with ephemeral publications.

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