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.

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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.

HERMENAUT OF THE MONTH: Emmanuel Levinas

In the first of the S.L.A.C.K.er 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 S.L.A.C.K.er stood for Sub-Cultural, Leisurely, Ambivalent, Coffee-Drinking Kid. I was goofing on pop demographers like William Strauss and Neil Howe.

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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.

HERMENAUT OF THE MONTH: Paul Tillich

ALSO: Matt Feazell allowed us to publish one of his Cynicalman cartoons. In the second of the S.L.A.C.K.er 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.

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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. CLICK HERE to view the online finding aid for this collection.

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Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based semiotic culture and brand analyst. He is editor/publisher of HILOBROW and the Radium Age science fiction imprint HILOBOOKS. In addition, Josh is co-author of several books, including (with Mark Kingwell and the cartoonist Seth) THE IDLER'S GLOSSARY and THE WAGE SLAVE'S GLOSSARY, the object-oriented story collections TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY and (with Rob Walker) SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS, and (with Elizabeth Foy Larsen) the family activities guides UNBORED, UNBORED GAMES, and the forthcoming UNBORED ADVENTURE. In the ’00s, Josh was an editor and columnist for the BOSTON GLOBE's IDEAS section; in the ’90s, he published the high-lowbrow zine/journal HERMENAUT.