In this week’s issue of the magazine (the Style Issue), Pari Dukovic’s Portfolio of the emerging punk culture in Burma follows Calvin Tomkins’s piece about the upcoming exhibition at the Met’s Costume Institute “Punk: Chaos to Couture.” As the introduction to Dukovic’s photographs explains,
Punk in nineteen-seventies New York tended to be more concerned with aesthetics than with politics. It was spare, nervy music created in reaction to the embarrassing excesses of arena rock. Often, the “establishment” it railed against was your mom, or your school principal. (The final scene of the Ramones’ movie “Rock ’n’ Roll High School” is Vince Lombardi High exploding in flames.) Decades later, a punk diaspora thrives around the world. In Myanmar, a small punk community that stayed underground through decades of military rule is beginning to emerge.
It’s funny how often they say to me, “Jane?” “Have you been a good girl?” “Have you been a good girl?” And when they have said it they say it again, “Have you been a good girl?” “Have you been a good girl?”
I go to a party, I go out to tea, I go to an aunt for a week at the sea I come back from school or from playing a game; Wherever I come from, it’s always the same: “Well? Have you been a good girl, Jane?”
It’s always the end of the loveliest day: “Have you been a good girl?” “Have you been a good girl?” I went to the Zoo, and they waited to say: “Have you been a good girl?” “Have you been a good girl?”
Well, what did they think that I went there to do? And why should I want to be bad at the Zoo? And should I be likely to say if I had? So that’s why it’s funny of Mummy and Dad, This asking and asking in case I was bad, “Well? Have you been a good girl, Jane?”
So we’re faced with a choice. Do we want to micromanage our schools for ideological purity? Or do we want kids to learn something — even, sometimes, something with which we might disagree? If we want the first, we should keep on as we’re keeping on. If we want the second, we need to stop being so worried that teachers might teach the wrong thing that we don’t let them teach anything at all.
“Life is quite a gift. At first you overestimate it, this gift; you think you’ve received eternal life. Then you underestimate it, you think it stinks, it’s too short, you’re almost ready to throw it away. Finally, you realize that it wasn’t a gift at all, just a loan. Then you try to deserve it.”
Up and down the East Coast, offices are closing ahead of Hurricane Sandy, and millions of workers are preparing to pretend to work from home. If you’re one of them, let us distract you with this rainy-day reading list. A few of these articles are hurricane-related; others just perfect for…