Regression Toward the Zine (21)
By: Joshua Glenn | Categories: Read-outs, Spectacles

PREVIOUSLY: Zinesters vs. journalists.

In this installment: Hermenaut‘s S.L.A.C.K.E.R. project.


hermenaut 2

Hermenaut #2 was published in the winter of 1992-93.

ISSUE 2: Photocopied, b/w. 26 interior pages. Print run of 75.

COVER: Shannen Doherty of 90210. John Cradock and Deanne Bona designed the logo.


In the first of the series of essays (Hermenaut #1 featured an overview of the series), I made my first foray into generation-spotting. I argued that Americans born between 1954 and 1961 (today, I’d say 1963 instead of 1961) aren’t Baby Boomers, despite the undeniable fact that the US postwar baby boom lasted from 1946 to 1964. The Boomer cultural generation ended by the mid-1960s.

My own generation, born from 1964 to 1973, didn’t have a moniker of its own. The mainstream media belatedly picked up the “Generation X” tag coined by those born from 1954–1963 to mockingly describe themselves (thus distancing themselves from Boomers), and hung it on people my age. I was born in 1967, and although at the time that Hermenaut appeared I may have been a “20nothing,” as the Baffler put it (in order to signal their belief that our generation had been mis- or even disidentified), I was most definitely not a member of Generation X.

The writer/trendspotter Pagan Kennedy encouraged me to turn the term slacker, with which I was wrestling at the time, into an acronym. So for this series of Hermenaut essays, I claimed that stood for Sub-Cultural, Leisurely, Ambivalent, Coffee-Drinking Kid. I was goofing on pop demographers like William Strauss and Neil Howe.


hermenaut 3

Hermenaut #3 was published in the summer of ’93. The date I penciled on cover at some later time is inaccurate.) Photocopied, b/w interior, color cover. 26 interior pages. Print run of 100.

COVER: Tori Spelling of 90210. Jennifer Engel designed the cover using Quark. The previous two covers had been designed by me, using scissors and glue.


ALSO: Matt Feazell allowed us to publish one of his Cynicalman cartoons. In the second of the series of essays, I attempted to distinguish between slacking and idling… something I’ve since expanded into an entire little book. First appearance of Slotcar Hatebath’s column, “Their America.” Slotcar Hatebath is an anagram of Scott Hamrah’s full name; I was introduced to Scott and Jennifer Engel (then a couple) at a party in Allston, thrown by Pagan Kennedy. A few weeks later, at a Combustible Edison show at Green Street Grille in Cambridge, I asked Scott to write for Hermenaut. He, in turn, asked me to be a precision stunt driver for the movie Check-Out Time, which he and Chris Fujiwara (another future Hermenaut contributor) were then in the process of making. Dame Darcy, who’d contribute many illustrations to Hermenaut, was one of the stars.


hermenaut 4

Below: A page from Hermenaut #4; an excerpt from one of my S.L.A.C.K.E.R. features. Illustration by Dame Darcy.

NEXT: Zine books — a harbinger of doom!

This is a 25-part series in which HiLobrow editor Joshua Glenn, who from 1990–93 published the zine Luvboat Earth and from 1992–2001 published the zine/journal Hermenaut, bids a fond farewell to his noteworthy collection of zines, which he recently donated to the University of Iowa Library’s zine and amateur press collection.



Joshua Glenn is an author, publisher, and semiotic analyst. He is co-author (with Mark Kingwell and the cartoonist Seth) of THE IDLER'S GLOSSARY and THE WAGE SLAVE'S GLOSSARY, co-editor of the object-oriented story collections TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY and (with Rob Walker) SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS, and co-author (with Elizabeth Foy Larsen) of the family activities guide UNBORED and three forthcoming spinoffs, including UNBORED Games. He is editor of HILOBROW and publisher of the Radium Age science fiction imprint HiLoBooks. Also: Glenn manages a secretive online community known as the Hermenautic Circle; he is founding editor of the e-book club Save the Adventure; and he's a frequent co-host of Boing Boing's podcast GWEEK. In the ’00s, Glenn was an editor, columnist, and blogger for the Boston Globe's IDEAS section, he co-founded the international semiotics website SEMIONAUT, and contributed to CABINET, SLATE, and elsewhere. In the ’90s, he published the high-lowbrow zine/journal HERMENAUT, worked as a dotcom and magazine editor, and contributed to THE BAFFLER, FEED, and elsewhere. His publishing company is King Mixer, LLC; and his semiotic analysis consultancy is Semiovox LLC. He lives in Boston with his wife and children.