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I read Jason Cherkis’ Fugazi review (“Kill Yr Idols,” 5/15) with interest, for more than one reason. His analysis of the decline of Fugazi’s “social righteousness” and the advent of the band’s mere humanness is sharp and lively. As the alleged hamster-flushing mom, however, I was most interested in the bit on “squatters.”
Cherkis’ review positions my daughter Lori and her friends Gerbil and Ann as barometers of punk authenticity or disaffected youth attitudes. Their comments and his descriptions of them are meant to lend a certain street credibility to his take on Fugazi, yet this use of the squatter kids seems to me neither respectful of themwhich I doubt Cherkis was striving for, anywaynor consistent with his view of Ian MacKaye. He notes, paraphrasing Gerbil, that Fugazi’s relationship to people like my daughter and her friends would involve lecturing them or giving a benefit rather than having a conversation with them. Within the context of the review, this is contrasted implicitly to Cherkis’ conversation with Lori and her friendshis own “gamble of relevance and acceptance,” perhaps?
Yet while Lori might find Fugazi less than cutting-edge disaffection these days, and Ian MacKaye may have lost whatever interest he once had in people like her friends, it is Cherkis, bold deflator of Fugazi’s bloated reputation, who uses an utterly contemptuous description of an 18-year-old girl to liven up a review. (“She looks a wrecklike a multicolored candy that’s stuck to the pavementall gooey and hairy.”) What could possibly justify publishing such a nasty comment? The fact that her appearance is unconventional? I find such mean-spiritedness far more depressing than the prospect of Ian MacKaye “at Ikea picking out end tables.” Not to mention how inconsistent this nastiness is with the pious sentence “They lay their lives around me like so much shattered glass.” I hope in the future Cherkis finds a way to foster his street credibility without simultaneously slamming his sources. I wonder how he might have felt at 18 to find himself contemptuously described in print by a journalist who seemed to have been seeking his opinions. If Cherkis’ idea of writing about popular culture in any form involves poking fun at the strange ways kids look these days, perhaps another topic would suit him better. Soil conservation, maybe.
By the way, he got the hamster story wrong, too. But Lori says he knows that.
Silver Spring, Md.
via the Internet