March 09, 2007

IT'S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY

I just got the last three issues of ANP Quarterly in the mail, and I plowed through them and I really think it is the best underground magazineses going. I can't always get through the mystical art school jargon; I'm more into feelings than concepts, but it's full color, inspiring and about hope as much as it is art and the people who make it. Plus, being full sized, you can pull out the centerfold and OUILA you have a poster. Anyhow ANP is redonkulissly hard to find, and thank gosh that they now offer subscriptions. I like ANP also because they keep the story about people selling things to a minimum. Seriously, just as a note here--I know as punx/half-punks/aging hipsters, there is still this weird novelty to stores that sell things we are interested in, and weirdo-run stores get a lot of play in the underground press . Art books, curious shoes, vegan belts with wagon wheel buckles, feminist lederhosen and eyepatches for lesbians by lesbians etc. are all things I would buy--but I think we need to get over the awe. Capitalism is usually not any more special in the hands of a DIY-er than some regular douchebag who opens a hat store (or what have you). I know it seems like, wow, were really getting one over on the man if a punk can have a punk book store that also sells handcrafted soaps can exist, but people selling things is not a story--it's just not. I think people having those businesses, those galleries, etc and applying their own anti-cap ideals to the standard business format and that they do not have to work at DSW or temp at Dolphin hungover in their borrowed pleat front slacks is REALLY GREAT IN ITSELF--MEANINGFUL WORK IS INHERENTLY ANTI CAPITALIST.
I just think writing stories about it is done as hell, and not the revolution at all at all.
Capitalism "on your own terms" is not much of a story in 2007, so much as it is a myth, and when we cover it in certain ways, we're conflating, say, a feminists ability to sell handscreened messenger bags with feminist liberation itself. Which is a sure sign we have lost the plot. I'm not sure it's possible to make a new machine from the old machines cogs (I say that as someone who ran a "punk" business for 11 years. For a long time, I thought working for way too cheap meant I was an ethical business person, that profits were the sign of shadiness--but in being so "ethical", I was ripping off my employees (and myself) because we were we all slaving away for less than minimum wage and had no benefits aside from guest list and scene cred.) Because business is business is business unless you are using a totally seperate model. To me, a good story on a store might be about how a little business found a creative way to give employees affordable health care, incorporate daycare in a small business setting, or ways to organize or profit share or manufacture responsibly--things that are about quality of life or ethics, rather than a congratulatory totem to the growing market for cool junk and fanzines, and punks ever growing ability to turn a buck. Word?

Posted by Jessica at March 9, 2007 01:26 AM | TrackBack