Sunday, September 18, 2011

Zine Review: 8-Track Mind #101

After a decade since the “final” issue of the classic zine “8-Track Mind”, Russ Forster has created issue #101 – not so much about 8-tracks but a meditation on zines vs. blogs. Electronic vs. paper communications and information sharing is one of the sweeping issues of our time, which is given little attention by the media or educational institutions. For decades the cultural clamor has been to mindlessly embrace all new technology – and in the space of just 20 years we have seen a serious change (possibly disruption) in the way people read, think, communicate and process information. The internet generation has spawned less dialogue, a bloated glut of disinformation, and people making snap judgments and opinions based on very little truth. Twitter seeks to limit people to 140 characters of expression. Libraries of rare and significant books are being replaced with computer screens. People don’t write letters any more. And we’re not getting any smarter, or wiser from any of it.

We’re sacrificing our souls (8-tracks) for convenience (mp3s) and sacrificing our physical connection with objects like records and tapes for bits & bytes in devices and downloads that make corporations like Apple billions in profit.

Ok, this is sounding more like an editorial than a review (it is). Zines like 8-Track Mind are the panacea for a blog-infested world. (You may be reading this on my blog or in my paper zine … truth is, my paper zine will be here long after the blog is deleted … also … how many of you are actually reading this blog, anyway?)

This issue is packed with 38 pages of writing taking a long look at the analog vs. digital culture. Contributors include Malcom Riviera, Peter Bergman, Kim Cooper, Dan Sutherland and many others. My heart soars when I read thought provoking zines like 8-Track Mind. I may not be more enlightened after pondering it all, but at least it affirms there is still much coolness to be found in the zine world … and that’s just fine with me.

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