Introduction: The Badder The Better
Issue #8, October 1993
This issue hopefully will present a side of Bad Subjects that is not always as clear as we would like. Occasionally we will hear from readers who feel that there is some kind of 'party line' at Bad Subjects that everyone in the collective must follow. However, a commitment to working collectively towards a common goal, such as producing this publication, does not necessarily preclude honest (and occasionally heated) disagreement over particular issues. There is always room at Bad Subjects for the anti-thesis that leads to the new synthesis; we believe in working towards that synthesis, not in being mired in the tired theses of the past.
In this issue, you will read varying accounts of our first 'Bad Tourists' Field Trip, when a group of Bad Subjects went to the mall to experience an aspect of popular culture first-hand. We agreed on the importance of malls as a popular and increasingly pervasive site of consumption, and we agreed to share our observations from the trip with our readers. As will be apparent from the actual articles, though, we did not necessarily agree on what 'really' happened at the mall. Similarly, this issue features a discussion between two Bad Subjects on 'poetry slams'; while agreeing that these slams are an interesting and important item on the cultural scene, John and Ron offer clearly different readings of the slams, and present their readings here as a step towards a better understanding of this new cultural phenomenon. Finally, we begin what we hope will be a regular 'Letters to Bad Subjects' section with this issue, featuring selections from our online mailing list.
We are also pleased to present an essay by Crystal Kile, our first online contributor! Crystal submitted her essay on Beverly Hills 90210 to our online mailing list; we are proud to offer it to our readers in this issue, and we encourage future electronic submissions from you, our readers.
Our current e-mail list hovers around two hundred subscribers from four continents; these voices contribute to our conversations in surprising and often fruitful ways. Once in a while we get some praise. Thanks to online correspondent Bill Livant for the encouraging words (and the title of this editorial): 'We on the left are not braver than others. But we must try to see a little further and a little clearer.... Good luck to Bad Subjects: the badder the better.'