November 30, 2004


The best of the best from this months mailbag, for your reading pleasure.

From: "charlie art"
To: Jessica Hopper
Subject: yr expectations
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2004 18:49:05 +0000
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 30 Nov 2004 18:50:01.0154 (UTC) FILETIME=[658D9220:01C4D70D]

I've spent years trying to eliminate negative trains of thought, so I'm making an effort to be constructive here... That's right, I'm about to make a speech. Despite having read your stuff before in Punk Planet, your article in that Da Capo 2004 book basically prompted me to write.

I feel I understand what you're getting at, for the most part, and your intentions seem to be the best, which I appreciate. Critical analysis of punk rock usually misses the big picture (which makes sense, because punk itself is based on self-denial and a narrow and usually negative world-view). Punk is, to quote a friend, a nomadic clubhouse. You know that just as well as you know it's a microcosm of our culture, with the same percentage of inspirational figures as well as pessimists. It CAN be about feminism just as much as it CAN be about self-pity and romance. People can make songs about whatever they want, and people can listen to whatever they want, and if they want to learn about politics or other shit they'll seek it out for themselves. I've been listening to punk and hip-hop for over 10 years too, and Big Black and Eazy-E never stopped me from learning about feminism and race politics. Songs are a legitimate place to work out your own issues as well as explore fantasies (these emo stars can't truly believe they're victims, and if they do, that's as bad a model for young men as passivity is for young women). It's nice to have things like Bikini Kill happen, but you could wait forever for something like that again (not that it hasn't seemed like forever since). Say it does happen... Some people will be into it, and a whole ton of people with talk shit. The scene, much less the world, won't become any more enlightened.
It's sad to see women (especially young ones) identify with assholes like Dashboard Confessional, but you know, no one has all the answers, and people do what they can to find their way through their life. Keep writing and hope for the best, but shit can't be on your terms.

Try and think over the following:
1. A lot of people don't take music to heart... They just sing along and that's all they want out of it.
2. Rock and roll isn't something to model your ethics on. Some people do it. Their loss.
3. Don't worry about what other people do. Your opinion is valid, but you don't know what's right for everyone else.

Thanks for your time.

Dear Charlie,
I appreciate you taking the time to write. Despite missing the main points of the essay, you seem to have a firm grasp on the patriarchal condescention I describe through out.

PS. Keep writing and hope for the best, though shit can't be on your terms!



Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2004 17:03:27 -0600
To: Jessica Hopper
From: "Ned K"
Subject: Will You Marry Me, Jessica?

No, you probably won't, but I read the post on your BLOG today about your search for a husband for health insurance purposes, and decided that despite my obvious ineligibility as one of your Marriage Candidates that I would pop the question anyways and like, you know, sort of establish my interest in the position so you can keep my resume on file in case your situation changes but you still find yourself wanting to tie-the-knot with somebody.

This is Ned, by the way, kid you went to high school with - I sat behind you in Spanish, probably haven't seen me in like 10 years or something, stuff like that.

Down to business... Yes, I am a male, as you might recall - if not, I can send medical verification establishing that firmly, just let me know. I do not live in Chicago - I am still a resident of the Twin Cities. That's only a 6 to 8 hour drive, however, and I think that something as sacred as the institution of marriage is well worth the trouble and gas money, so I would be willing to come down to chicago for the ceremony or swearing-in or whatever. I am currently employed. Now here's the tricky part - I work for my brother's business, painting houses. I get all of my income tax-free and he keeps me off the books so that I can report to the State of Minnesota that I make ZERO income per year, and thus I am eligible for their "MinnesotaCare" program and my health care is free.

Yes, that is both tax evasion and insurance fraud, but I've never been worried about getting caught, because I'm small potatoes, and also because I'm sort of a reckless fool. I've already got a solidly established criminal record and history involving all manner of low-class and "common" sorts of charges and convictions, and this may sound bizarre but I might even be cautiously enthusiastic about getting prosecuted for something with major White-Collar credentials like Tax Evasion or Insurance Fraud.
At any rate, I stay out of trouble these days, in fact all of my probations had expired as of September of this year - after having been on form of criminal justice supervision or another for the last 5 years, since '99 ... so not only will I be able and willing to come to chicago for our wedding, but it will be perfectly legal for me to do so as I am now allowed to leave the state of Minnesota whenever I please!

Yes, I understand, I'm kind of a longshot for this whole deal, because I don't offer the one thing you actually want out of it. I don't know what exactly I have to offer or what precisely I would want out of our marriage either to be frank, but I read the post and thought back to what your were like personally as best as I could remember, and I'd just been reading through your BLOG posts and I guess it all just came together for me... Marrying Jessica Hopper was just something that I'd like to do.

And I've always thought that you were a cute girl, not to suggest that I'd be trying to angle for some kind of weird Non-Platonic marriage to you ... ahem ...... BUT I think I'd be much happier if I was married to a pretty girl, even if it's just a bogus marriage to get you health insurance, there'd still be a spark of pride for me there. Like if it somehow came up in conversation that I was married, I could totally carry like a picture of you (my wife) in my wallet and all that, and whip it out... Maybe we could pose one where you're holding a swaddled infant, capturing the whole essence of motherhood thing, you know just for that whole family-man effect, might come in handy if I'm applying for a job or a loan or visiting my grandparents or something, you never know.

Oh, I'm a bit of a drunk and a drug addict, but not like a raging out-of-control bottoming-out type headcase, more like somebody who knows better than to be drinking or doing drugs because he's been to treatment twice (well, three times but I graduated from it twice) and also to jail for the very same reasons ... but I end up doing it all (drink/drugs) anyways more often than I'd like because I lack motivation and direction in life and sort of carved out a lifestyle for myself in my youth that didn't just involve "hanging around with the wrong crowd" but in fact actually BEING "the wrong crowd", the one you're mother always warned against. I've grown and matured over the years, I guess, and I'm not such a hellraiser anymore, but I never really bothered to go out and meet enough "Right Crowd" people along the way, and so I end up associating with the usual riff-raff far too often.

Okay... Well, that about sums up all of my liabilities as a person to be associated with, and the fact that I actually wrote this email and am going to send it sort of reveals an even deeper level of psychological dysfunction on my part I'm sure, so that should just about cover the bases - I don't want to get you into anything like a marriage only to have buyers remorse a week later, full disclosure you see. Ummm, lemme see ... I usually "get" stuff - you know, whatever it is somebody is trying to say or what they're trying to do artistically --- I'm understanding. Yep, I'm sensitive and understanding. And I'm pretty much fearless when it comes to a lot of stuff, like I might actually be afraid in a situation, but I never show it and I usually work well under pressure. Hrmmmm, this is starting to sound too much like a job interview questionaire... In summation, I will love - cherish - respect - and obey (?) you insofar as our marriage demands it of me, which I assume will be not-very-much, but hopefully enough to be friends since we'll be legally bound to each other to some extent - Hahaha - ho - hee =-).



PPS: I don't believe in god or follow any religions or anything like that, hope that isn't a deal breaker for you!

Ned -
Thank you for taking the time to write -- and for the generous and extensive marriage/insurance offer. I will keep it in mind if my other insurance plans do not work out. Also, a belated thank you for repeatedly cutting the phone lines in the Spanish office, delaying my parents knowledge of my suspension for almost a week, you saved my ass. Thanks!



Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2004 05:48:16 -0800 (PST)
From: Ty
Subject: We think you cute and want to see you naked.
To: Jessica Hopper

I was traveling through Chicago this summer and came across a picture and article about you.

My partner and I thought you were cute and wondered why you don't have any naked pic's on your blog.

Dear Ty,
Thank you for taking the time to write. I have no naked pictures on the blog for a multitude of reasons, namely: it would embarrass me deeply, it would compromise what little integrity I have left and lastly, I would no longer be able to exploit the benefits of being mistaken for the other Jessica Hopper, who is a buxom German porn model.

Warmest regards,


Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2004 17:03:23 -0600
To: Jessica Hopper
From: Dan Lipski
Subject: Re: Punk Planet


Thank you kindly for your prompt and eye-opening response. I apologize if my inquiry came across in the wrong way. I suppose I should give you my history in order to explain the intentions of what I wish to accomplish by writing this piece.

Although I am by no means a "bro" or proclaim "true till death," I definitely am a young white male from a well-off financial background that loves hardcore music. I currently reside in Santa Cruz, CA after relocating from a SW suburb of Chicago last October. I couldn't help but notice a drastic change in the people that went to shows in San Francisco to those in Chicago. I most definitely agree that hardcore and punk rock in general is a male dominated community like most all of pop culture music. I would say, however, that there is no in-depth representation [of women] for the most part. Many emerging ___core bands are politically charged if nothing else and touch on animal rights among other "rich kid problems." Of course, it is ironic that the most preached value in the community is unity -- when there is so much animosity and division.

I'm embarrassed to say I've never really considered the lack of women in the hardcore community until you mentioned it in your e-mail. In light of this newfound consideration I sought out a few websites. If you have any interest at all, here are two of the better ones that I found. Also, if you ever have any interest in a female fronted hardcore bands with feminism/equality as their main agenda be sure to check out Chicago's Starting Point. I hear theyíre going to be playing the Watch the World Explode Festival up in Milwaukee on Dec. 3rd.

My reasoning for interviewing Atreyu is simple: they are molding the shape of hardcore. Despite their predictable sound, predictable lyrics and predictable image, Atreyu is a crucial band today's expanding hardcore scene. Whether or not you like what they do, they do it very well. I regret that I did not question Dan Jacobs about cover art although I did ask him about their part in the downfall of the hardcore community.

DJ: Especially now itës getting to that point when we started out doing singing and screaming it wasnít like we were trying to be successful or anything, we just did it because it was like we like hardcore and we like poppy stuff, ya know what I mean? Letís see if we can mix it all together. But itís gotten to a point now where that style of music is becoming more successful and more commercial...

ME: Itís very successful.

DJ: People are trying to do it in a way where itís really commercial, ya know what I mean? The way we do it, we just try and do it the best we can. We just try and write songs that we think are catchy and that we like. I can put my CD in and I donít care if anyone else likes it, I can sit there and listen to it in my car and be like, ëThis is cool.í

In relation to your comment on their cover art, he did not speak directly about it though he did mention what this new movement represents to the community.

ME: The term ëfashioncore...í

DJ: Oh, donít even get me started on that.

ME: Well what does it represent to you?

DJ: To me itís a couple dudes from New York that put out a couple shirts that said fashioncore and all of a sudden it became this thing. I dunno...bands that dress nice are considered fashioncore?
ME: Right.

DJ: I dunno, I think itís the most ridiculous thing Iíve ever heard.

ME: But I mean sponsorships...thereís so much money pouring into hardcore we said, commercial success.

DJ: Fashion and hardcore, they just kind of ran into each other, ya know what I mean?

ME: Absolutely.

DJ: To me itís almost like the new glam rock. Itís like a heavier glam rock. People are all about wearing make up, all about looking nice, looking flashy. But at the same time playing this fuckin rockin music.

I thought it'd be advantageous to add that since you had said their cover art reminds you of a Warrant video.

Let me set the record straight. I by no means wish to imply I'm some all knowing feminist guy or scene queen. Hardcore represents something outstanding for me because for so long it was untouched by the mainstream and for so long bands and fans rejected the idea of "making it." It seems like the struggle was why they did it. My intentions are not to serve as a therapist either but rather make honest observations and possibly sort out what is happening to this ìscene. Perhaps focus on this fashion core angle? I'm not exactly an experienced journalist - I wrote for my high school newspaper for a few years and now I've rekindled my interest with this. If I sound like an ignorant 19-year-old looking for answers -- it's because I am.

Thank you again for your help with this! I much appreciate it.

Dan Lipski

Posted by Jessica at November 30, 2004 07:17 PM | TrackBack