Aging punks find renewed purpose combating the glassy-eyed revival of hippie-chic in so-called rave culture (or Ravestock™), the consumo-liberalism of slack, of spectacle society (whether middlebrow or “alternative”), of the multicultural and welfare states, and find their true selves in the process. The Goads are easily the most influential members of the latest crop of countercultural “taste-makers,” the success story of their “hate rag” ANSWER ME! unprecedented in the by-definition marginal universe of personal zines. And let it be known that this empire-to-be was built on a good, old-fashioned foundation of blood, sweat, tears and flawless spelling; not the usual faddish ephemera. It was inevitable that whatever remained of punk in the ‘90s should take a sharp turn to the right, a form of self-actualization, really. With ANSWER ME!, the DIY initiative finally reclaims its Calvinist roots, alienation is reconfigured as rugged individualism, and all that fiddling with sexual codes serves in the end to mark an essential difference. Punk’s sexual ambivalence erupts here into full-scale biological warfare—the body being inherently revolting, as is, by extension, reproduction, childbirth, you name it. No surprise then that the Goads should choose instead to toil on behalf of the mighty death drive. While not the first magazine wholly devoted to mayhem, ANSWER Me! is easily the most ecstatic. Now that AK press has reprinted the first three issues in a single hefty volume, the Goads’ particular achievement may at last be measured against the general eruption of prurience which defines our cultural moment. Initial shock waves eddy ever outward into eventual alignment with the mainstream, and death, once the last outpost of the unthinkable, is not only colonized but converted into our foremost commodity. Or, in the words of the typical ANSWER ME! reader: “I’ll trade you two Dahmers for one Gacy.”
Supported by a familiar cast of fringe-dwellers (Anton LaVey, Timothy Leary, Boyd Rice, Ray Dennis Steckler, Russ Meyer, etc.) as well as some welcome new additions (Dr. Kevorkian, Rev. Al Sharpton, Al Goldstein, David Duke, etc.), the Goads set forth in these pages a definitive manual of cultural provocation and resistance, and one auspiciously devoid of rock’n’roll. Extreme and vital information is sniffed out (vitiated) at the source, rather than distilled by way of some popstar’s blathering. Likewise, no trippy typefaces, no kinko-collages, and no fisheye photographs to intrude upon the crystalline sobriety of the ANSWER ME! aesthetic. Two Top 100 charts, one devoted to mass murderers, another to “spectacular” suicides, are exemplary journalistic feats, showcasing a near-psychotic fastidiousness which perfectly complements the subject matter. Order rules at the offices of ANSWER ME!—the better to drive home their message of hate, and if not a message, then at least a market.
Paperback: 134 pages