12 May 2021

Collins and Bilge—It Takes Skills and Time

Intersectionality (2016)
Patricia Hill Collins and Sirma Bilge

p. 116-123—on Hip Hop as youth culture

One point of affinity here with "the neoliberal status quo" (117) is this: art is worthy of mere mention only in the context of a (very questionable) theory of youth. Do any adults make Hip Hop?! Does their work aspire or achieve in simlar or different manners? Youth "rarely have the skills and time to get elected to public office" (117), but somehow these limitations are not only surmountable but in fact salutary to their making socially engaged art! This, then, if it is such a great situation, exemplifies art's place in society, namely as literally juvenile and stunted, the best among a few bad options for the unripe to be up-waivered to an adult level of agency without actually living the life of an agent.

Art being among the "areas" of which the authors "could not include an extensive discussion" (viii), this case study is implicitly asked to bear quite a bit more weight than it is able to.

[from a post-it, late 2017]


Stefan Kac said...

Richard Gombin
The Origins of Modern Leftism (1971)
trans. Michael K. Perl (1975)

p. 67—"Before May 1968... The young were not recognized as possessing any special role; Marxist analysis even denied them the status of a social group."
—"May-June 1968 gave new prestige...to the role of youth as the
avant-garde of the revolution. ...[there was] produced a climate in which the privileged role of the young in social contestation could be accepted."

There's plenty of semantic dissection to be done here for anyone so inclined. Youth was "[given] new prestige" here; a "climate" was "produced;" a privileged role "could be accepted" only now. "The greatest activism was to be found among the young," among whom "opposition to the left establishment" was "perpetuated" to a greater degree than any other group. But what of methods and outcomes? Only having evaluated those two questions can we then evaluate whether we're actually better off accepting the production of a climate wherein youth's greater commotion is understood as possessing greater revolutionary/reformist potential without having to prove it ("privileged").

In any case, the turning point is duly noted. Seems to me even so that the broader historical factors pointed to by Jappe (relative underindustrialization, excessive traditionalism, a largely rural population, and the intellectual monopoly of the orthodox CP) help explain the residual climate discussed here as well as the various events leading up to it. (i.e. a France-/French-specific which may not apply elsewhere)

[from a postit, 2018]

Stefan Kac said...


SJZ says:

The title of chapter nine of El Sid by David Dalton is How the Hippie Reich Was Undone.

Here is a passage from it

"Hippies (especially their politico brethern, Yippies) went on and on about the social change that must be wrought. Civil rights, end the war! But to Punks such political trumpeting was absurd--more abberrant rhetoric. Further prof, if any were needed, of hippie gullibility. hippies had actually believed they could change the world! Get out! Teenagers changing the world was James Dean movie gone megalomaniacal. Like Wild in the Streets, where anyone over thirty is consigned to a concentration camp, and the voting age is lowered to fourteen."


[SK: elsewhere...]

"And then there was this other problem with big daddy R&B. It may have been sung by bad-ass black dudes, gun toting black muthafuckas, mojo conjure women, but they were adults! There was an irony, a wry, world-weary take to the blues that was entirely incongruous for the melodramatic teen sensibility...Okay, so the mystic moment when the teen pantacrator conceived of rock didn't exist--so what?--you had to create it. To hell with history!...

"By the mid-sixties, twitching teen antennae had located the frequencies that most closely matched their own. Teen proboscises dipping into the soundstream--Brit beat groups, rockabilly, Eddie Cochran, garage bands--extracting their synthamesc essence. A process of refining, winnowing. Noise and urge, raging lust, in-your-face aggro, the X factor. Hysteria, imp of the goof, wipe-out, gonzo. Elements that didn't fit this criterios--fatback drumming, earth-shaker bass, and all manner of funk in general--were discarded. Until the black elements ... were progressively bleached out."


"In America," said Steve Jones, "what fucked us up, is that they treated us like rock stars." Wot did you expect, mate? That Billboard create a new celebrity category fo the Sex Pistols? Like, "Attitude Engineers," say, or "Punk Existentialists"? Tell us how you would like to be know, squire."