Thursday, May 19, 2011

Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie CultureSlanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture by Kaya Oakes

I'm sure this will get me into trouble but, Gawd, I don’t know what it is about female writers that gives me such a hard time. They always seem to have absolutely no authenticity or confidence in their voice.  Mind you 99% of what I read is non-fiction, and a large chunk of non-fiction is written by men, but I see no reason why a female can't succeed in this genre.  Of course I don't want to actively SEEK books soley on the basis that they are written by females (just in order to prove to folks that I'm not a sexist) for nothing proves you are a sexist quicker than trying to prove you are not one--it's an obvious catch-22.  Yet, in the back of my mind I’m always hoping for that find, that rare gem, the great female writer.  Yet thus far I've been consistently disappointed.

Slanted and Enchanted is a prime example of this.  After reading about half of the introduction of Kaya Oakes' examination of the evolution of Indie Culture, I had absoluely no dellusions that this was going to be one of those gems. In fact I was nearly ready to poke both of my eyes out with the corner edge of a chapbook within a few paragraphs. Oakes writes in a matter-of-fact, Jack Webb-like “Just the Facts Mam” monotone that was putting me to sleep faster than five shots of Benadryl on a balmy summer night. How can someone make something as fascinating as Indie culture so frickin boring? Here is a example sentence or two that I randomly picked by flipping the pages of the Introduction and then blindly sticking my finger into the book:

“While Unnameable Books does its best to keep the flames of Independent publishing lit, the highly anticipated Pitchfork Music Festival has kicked into gear in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, bearing witness to the massive popularity of Independent Rock. Chicago has been home to a booming indie scene since, blah, blah, blah.”

 Jesus H. Christ, you can almost see the meladrone swinging back and forth, side to side, right before your very eyes. It’s as though she is stiffly managing to fit every write-by-the-numbers cliche from the Over-educated, culture critic’s playbook into every available inch of print that the book allows. Where is your frickin soul, sister? But you know what? This was just the introduction. I’ve read past plenty of shitty introductions in my life, only to go on and make my way to a number of mediocre, if not even a few above par non-fiction examinations. So I tried to soldier on, then about midway through the intro, I said “screw it”, I’m heading straight to chapter one.

But things did not get better, in fact after a few more pages of torture, I realized I SHOULD have said "Screw it, I'm throwing this in the garbage."

So this book falls under the catagory of books that are so lame and annoying that I didn't even bother to read. Slanted and Enchanted get 1 WagemanHead out of 5.

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