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The Mainly Annual
EastWesterly Review/Postmodern Village
11th Annual
Conference

Hip-Hop Nation Representin'

M.M. Ice“Highbrow, Lowbrow, Nobrow, Hobrow: the Emergence of Hip-Hop as the New High Culture”
By M.M. Ice

Arguably the most “bling-bling” of the conference’s presentations, Ice’s thesis focused on how hip-hop artists have used their “arrival” as wealthy individuals to both create and embrace certain clichés about the American upper class. WASPs drink Heineken, drive 3-series BMWs, and eat cucumber sandwiches, but as long as Cristal goes for $200 a bottle and General Motors insists on a 200% profit on its Escalade, we’ll have this phenomenon. The Courvoisier dancers managed to interpret the “Hobrow” section to the edification of all, though quite a few francs from excited intellectuals clearly outside their element were lost into these empowered women’s g-strings.

YaWanda Pisamme“Thug Wife: Bein’ ‘My Baby’s Mutha,’ or From Popeye’s with Coochie”
By YaWanda Pisamme

An empowered woman if ever there was one, Pisamme’s outspoken umbrage could only be compared to Queen Latifa with a PhD. Still, she somehow made the “bitch’s” role in the inner-city hierarchy seem noble. “It ain’t just Popeye’s,” she contended, “it’s a damn paycheck.” Having all attendees run the fryer for a shift was a bold move, but we like ours grilled.

Marsha McLugee“Doggzilla: Snoop, Nukes and Booty: How the Hip-Hopped from Cold-War Underground to Post-post-modern Marketing Masterpiece”
By Marsha McLugee

She seemed somehow disappointed, but the coolmasters who create marketing phenomena have an uncanny way of doing end-runs around art. Our problem is that we believe. Still, McLugee’s idea that in a post-Cold War world, doing well is the only good, drives home a sort of brutal Darwinism, where only that which mutates dangerously survives. The future has risen up out the East River, and it’s bigger, nastier, and a hell of a lot more bling. Envision Mothra in gold chains.

Buffy-Jean Skankhoe“L.L. Bean J.: Inner City Bling-Bling Meets Suburban Practicality”
By Buffy-Jean Skankhoe

Picking up on M.M. Ice’s theory of hip-hop hegemony, Skankhoe sees the mainstreaming of inner-city values as white girls from rural Ohio buy more Busta’ Rhymes records. Abercrombie and Fitch used to be a supplier of stodgy long-johns and fusty fishing clothes, after all. Can Land’s End as Fly Gear be that far off?

 

Pop Culture Boils Its Own Bum

Morrie Demme“From Punk to Punk’d: Counterculture Goes Over-the-Counter”
By Morrie Demme

Yet another thesis expressing the “how the counterculture sold out” subtheme in this year’s conference, Demme’s idea of the retailing of Punk exposes how hype, like all mass production, tends to devalue product. As one who remembers clearly when fans had to pay dearly for imported Sex Pistols records, the etymological link to Ashton Kutcher’s boneheaded attempts at humor under the watered-down aegis of MTV’s “edgy-on-the-outside-but-market-friendly-on-the-inside” approach really stings. Even the profane is no longer sacred.

Marcus Antonio“Chuck Jonez: Animation Meets Arthouse (and Keeps Its Street Cred)”
By Marcus Antonio

Just when we were feeling a disturbing Fritz the Cat gap in our sick little souls, along comes Marcus Antonio to make us feel all right. Still, one wonders if it’s real or just yet another black-clad clump of cocktail-swilling snotheads practicing their “artier-than-thou” looks as they adjust their cat-glasses and stop talking when the university nerds walk by.

Patty Ricecakes“Hummin’ Little Basket-Dog: the Short, Tragic Musical Career of Toto”
By Patty Ricecakes

Not much of a subdivision as it turned out, but our contingent of Lollapalooza scholars dropped out after the tour was canceled. They had never been the same after Liz Phair’s last album anyway. Still, Ricecakes put on a good show for the Generation X-heavy attendees, linking the unlikely namesake film dog and the ‘80s hair band in a twisted tale of opportunism, veterinary science and bestiality.

Jeri Sellecca“Cyborg and the City, or On Being Horny, Single and an Android in NYC”
By Jeri Sellecca

We can’t say we empathize, or even really sympathize, but post-Star Trek: Next Generation, who is to say that cyberpunks don’t have feelings too?

 

Page 5: Getting Back to Our Roots: Literature and Theory