Monday, February 6, 2012

Here. In My Head. Issue 9


By Cath Elms
catherineelms.co.uk

This perzine isn’t actually that personal, it focuses on things that Elms is interested in, instead of things that are happening to her. (Wait, is there a definition of perzine? I have no idea how to categorize things it seems. Some zine librarian I am.)

There are pieces on how technology is creeping into every aspect of our lives and how the internet makes us less productive (which I think says more about the person than the internet), feminism and how people in theology courses are not very progressive (shocking!), and female gods.

I was initially going to complain about how Elms says that her knowledge of Christianity is "shaky", as she just graduated with a theology degree, and apparently didn’t study any other religions (why you would want to study Christianity specifically when you are, as the author claims, not a Christian is kind of beyond me, but generally most people’s interest in religion is beyond my understanding). But then I realized that I graduated with a degree in Russian literature and I’m clearly not an expert in that area. I may know more than the average person (and some of the references Elms' uses show that they know way more than me about religion), but I definitely don’t know it all. As the saying goes, experts are people that know more and more about less and less, and it’s cool that Elms can admit that they're not an expert.

The piece on female religious icons is pretty cool, and I wouldn’t have minded if the entire zine was just profiles of female gods. Some of the pictures used to illustrate the write ups are kind of weird (really? That’s what you choose ti illustrate Freya?), but I thought it was kind of neat to read about these…characters? Entities? Mythological beings? My only complaints would be that the piece only mentioned stories from Europe and Asia, when there are lots of religions from other parts of the world.

One of the problems I had with this zine was that Elms is constantly referencing stuff, but not actually writing about it. Here are some examples:

"...in a future issue..."
"I could talk about..."
"...I can't write about [it] publicly..."
"...in my next zine..."
"...(long story, too personal)..."
"...Maybe in a later issue..."

I understand if you don’t want to write about personal experiences, but constantly saying “I can’t write about that” draws more attention to it. And if you want to have a “next issue” page or whatever, that’s cool, it’s a fine tradition of serialized publications. But dropping references to things, and then not explaining them? That just seems weird. Perhaps it would be better to spend the time now and expand upon those ideas, instead of saying that maybe you’ll get around to writing about them in the future.

But I guess that's just my opinion.

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