April 10, 2009


At dinner last night with Annie and Alan they talked about their restless teenage days in the wilds of Dallas. Alan said he would walk down the street and think "No one cool will ever walk down the streets of Dallas. David Lee Roth will never walk down the street here. I need to leave." I don't know if David Lee Roth is cool enough to walk down the street in Chicago, but here Alan is. Annie's way out was "stalking Riot Grrrl through the internet". Imagine if Riot Grrrl had happened five years later--which was about the time when about 60-70% of the people I knew had email addresses. Being a committed girl-punk/fanzine-editor et. al in 1991 meant you went to the post office at least four times a week. Anyhow, given that someone hunting RG moral lore via message boards managed to catch the wave ex post facto, and took that as permission--the legacy of RG being that potent, thats what we wanted, that is the success. I think people--punx old enough to know--still look at RG as somehow a failure because the bubble burst--what 18 months in? (Revolution Summer was just a fast few months of reckoning, but we don't consider it a failure because all it gave us was Fugazi.) Or think that Bikini Kill was the principal artifact of RG's existence, and when that operation folded, and that was our God-is-Dead moment. At the time, it seemed like the end of an era, but at that point, the legacy wasn't even ours/theirs to carry, though it may have appeared to be symbolically; it's most valuable foment had yet to even touch down in hearts in Dallas or New Jersey yearning to be free: Fifth-waver 10th graders who took RG as permission writ large, and now are racking up shred-heavy discographies of their own. What RG was or wasn't, or how it went down, I don't think is as important as where it has landed, how it was romanced in the hands and hearts of far flung kids, how it's manifesting in our dialogues about gender.The ends are the issue, not the means. It found the people that needed it.

Posted by jessica hopper at April 10, 2009 10:48 AM | TrackBack