4 thoughts on “Coming Soon from Nine-Banded Books

  1. Hey, I’m grateful for their refusal to allow us to film. It meant we had to go all guerilla on them, which made for a compelling segment, culminating in our expulsion. And to think I was there to sing the mall’s praises! A prophet without honor in his own country. The agony of irony.

  2. Andy: Agony and Irony? Makes me want to publish zines and rage against machines.
    TGGP: Thanks for the link. It’s a pretty good analysis. If there was a cultural seed for the daycare panic, it may have been the book, “Michelle Remembers.” But I think it’s a mistake to simplify these things because panics seldom have a clearly traceable explanation. A thousand cultural forces converge and you get a wave of collective madness. With the daycare panic, each case has it’s own curious etiology that can be understood retrospectively — with McMartin, a claim was made by a mentally disturbed mother and the cops responded by sending a panic-baiting form letter to the parents — but I think there was more going on; that there was a cultural backdrop that allowed a blip to generate into full-blown panic. A lot of it probably had to do with a generalized anxiety about changing roles relating to childrearing. Daycare wasn’t exactly new during the early 80s, but it was becoming more prevalent as more mothers in a post-common-law-divorce world harbored guilt over the reality that their children were being tended to by strangers. Nursed in a soup of guilt and fear, strangers became “the other” so that hysteria could be summoned with a gentle prod. (It’s probably significant that so many of the accused were women, and the Kelly Michaels case is particularly instructive as an analogy to the classic witch hunt.)
    Of course, this was obvious to almost no one at the time. And that’s the rub with collective delusions and moral panics; the narrative that emerges is never clear in the fog of it all. It always makes me wonder what we’re missing.

  3. A traditionalist’s anomie as a result of meeting eyes with the void?
    Might be worth a look: be interesting to see how the abyss is viewed from a different vantage point.

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