Dick Hebdige is not dead: a bit of friction and breakage helps you remember that you’re living in time.

Dick Hebdige is not dead: a bit of friction and breakage helps you remember that you’re living in time.

Funny thing, today I was reading some old CCS text and Dick Hebdige was referenced (many times) and I  thought about him and his book Subculture. After I bit of (digital) research, I found out that Dick Hebdige is not dead, and very much alive in the USA, and that he is now only 60, only 10 years older than me (quick calculation) so he wrote the seminar cultural text when he was 28, blimey that’s quite good. So further fiddling and I find a bit of an interview he made in 2004. In this there are some great comments on his use of old tech, power point presentations and the need for a bit of friction and breakage to help you remember that you are living in time. Here’s some choice quotes to live to, cool

Shambling, always. Shamanistic, maybe

The technology dream is all about comfort, like a kid tucked into bed. The digital world is going to help us process information so that we are comfortably in control. And I don’t think knowledge has anything to do with those information processes. Knowledge comes from things breaking down. As Leonard Cohen said, there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.

You have to lean forward to understand what’s going in the world. You have to make an effort.

And if you’re continually being told what you’re going to hear and then you get a reprise on what you’ve just been told, this is a large part of the problem in a culture where everybody feels it’s their right to feel comfortable all the time.

With digital, you get pure silence between the beats and the world isn’t silent. There’s always interference. The world is a noisy place.

I think if you can distinguish between mastery and control, although I’m not pretending I’m a master… if you’re familiar with a particular medium and a particular mode of articulation and you’ve been doing it for twenty years as I have, you should have your shit together a little bit. I certainly know the groove that I want but I don’t try to control what people are thinking about it. You only gain mastery when you lose control. When you’re willing to lose control.

The jazz of it is that the improvisation is within a larger structure. You have to allow accidents to happen and then turn into the skid.

It says his current interests include the integration of autobiography and mixed media in critical writing and pedagogy, look forward to it.


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