Loud Sirens Episode 4: Jamie Varriale Velez

November 11, 2015

It’s the “not punk enough” episode of Loud Sirens! RIGHT HERE!!!

Punk is complicated, if only because it’s a subculture with an endless feedback cycle with academia. Was it complicated in the first place, or did Dick Hebdige make it so, and did the thousands of white, middle-class nerds who ended up in grad school after having a teenage punk band reinforce that notion? I dunno! But probably the Hebdige thing, and definitely the last bit.

Anywho, Jamie Varriale Velez and I both feel like we don’t quite measure up to the “punk” identity. Jamie’s analysis along lines of race, ethnicity and gender is both smart and impassioned, and is pretty much what I’d like to think is super punk rock. But we both know that what we’d like punk to be isn’t always what punk is. Ergo, not punk enough.

I first met Jamie at the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, in the summer of 2010 (I think?), through our mutual friend Daphne. We were nerds among the cool kids, in a lot of ways—Daphne and I taught the “Women who Rock” session, which Jamie helped out on. We’ve been pals ever since, commiserating over academia and punk and punk in academia.

And, of course, we’ve talked a lot about our positions as women in relation to both those topics, and this podcast is no different! Jamie’s research on Los Crudos and identity politics in punk pairs well with my research on Riot Grrrl. Or, really, it’s a good study in contrast of the deployment of identity politics—what works, what doesn’t, and how aspects of identity become flattened when those politics involve women. (Like, for example, the erasure of women of color from Riot Grrrl.)

Jamie’s a FANTASTIC, funny, smart partner in conversation, and I’m amazed by her extensive knowledge about punk, including Greg Ginn’s astrological sign (Gemini!), as well as its implications for Black Flag. Who knew? JAMIE!

So, listen to the podcast! We might not feel punk enough, but who really does?

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