Tweed Magazine was a music and politics zine founded by angsty teenagers in 1997. It survived in one form or another until 2007. Thanks to everyone who contributed. Here are some of our most popular articles.


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Brooklyn NY

  • 10:31:57 pm
  • Tuesday
  • 13 April 2021

Splendid


Josh Kazman

[Tweed, Issues 9–11] For me, as far as politics are concerned, there are two major methods of persuasion:


There’s the political argument between peers (which either ends in agreeing to disagree, or never talking again) and then there’s the formal political mag, either sent to you online or by snail-mail.Conversations tend to get more personal and become clouded with emotions. The magazines, however, are more involved with current events, fact-bashing and well-thought out stances, accounting for arguments on both sides of any given topic.

Tweed, unfortunately, resides in the conversation-based method, avoiding most current-events and dwelling more in emotional arguments. This, in some ways, can be positive, because editors William T. Wallace and Stewart Smith can be downright homey with the reader, using conversational language to make their points. On the downside, this gives the articles more of a rantish nature, and forces them to rely more on pure (and sometimes theoretical) reason than on real-world instances. For example, issue 11's “The World of Structured Chaos” is about the formation of American cities in our capitalist world — but although it makes plenty of statements concerning their negative, constantly changing effect on the population, the article never specifically mentions one city. Similar to many other articles, the author, simply referred to as Bill, repeats himself a lot, seemingly convinced that restating his points is the same thing as supporting them. Such articles read like the introduction to a book, in that they set forth plenty of things to prove — but unlike a book, they never actually go on to the proof. This is most apparent in “The Capitalist Logic”, issue 9's centerpiece. The article identifies many of America’s social problems, and attempts to logically blame these problems on capitalism. However, the connections to capitalism only exist logically; nowhere in the article does William Wallace support his logic with any statistics or examples. Wallace does, once, mention a counter-example: “In Russia, it was found that the drug rate was astronomical. Children between the ages of 7 and 9 years old have become regular users. This may come as a shock to the world, but should it? The economy in Russia has been destroyed. Forced to turn capitalistic, the people have been torn.” Does the fact that non-capitalist Russia probably wouldn’t have even allowed Tweed to be printed negate this example? You decide.

Articles concerned with problems that are more concrete than the evils of capitalism prove to be a little more helpful. “The Quick Fix” (issue 9) deals with our over-anxiousness to medicate our kids. The article even features a few helpful stats and facts that you might not know offhand — but much of it relies, once again, on purely theoretical, logical arguments. Issue 10 has two reader-submitted articles on Napster (both by the same person) that effectively present both sides of the argument. The author does such a good job at presenting both views that he never clearly establishes his own position on the issue.

Issue 11 hit me on a more personal level. At first, I was merely annoyed by “The Supplementation of Reality”’s use of the second person and the third person plural. In doing this, it constantly tries to make broad claims concerning not only society, but the reader his/herself: “At this point, we have become a product as we are defined on the basis of the material, of the physical and nothing more. We are no longer human.” This leads to a footnote that attempts to apply broad statements about mainstream culture to counterculture: “In addition, I might add, the counter cultural movement is just as guilty as any other of draping themselves in symbols. They too drape themselves in images in an attempt to project a certain I-don’t-know-what, an air of ‘I’m different.’ Well, I got news for you, you are not different. You suffer from the same identity crisis as the rest of us so get off your high horse you elitist fuck!” “Identity crisis”? “No longer human”? “Elitist fuck”? In writing this article, Bill, whether he knows it or not, has just said that everyone in America has an identity crisis. Perhaps it’s just the denial kicking in, but I’m personally offended that someone from Connecticut thinks he knows me so well that he can claim I (along with millions of other strangers) have an identity crisis.

On the next page is “Identity Chart: Who Do You Pretend To Be”. Here, Bill divides the population of the city into four categories ( “gangsta”, “ghetto fabulous”, “bling bling”, and “punk”) and the population of suburban areas into four more categories ( “prep (frat boy)”, “grunge”, “hippy”, and “gothic”). After giving the appropriate stereotypes for each, he says that it is our capitalist society that came up with these in an attempt to pigeonhole everyone for marketing purposes. I was, once again, shocked at how this piece completely overlooks an individual’s perception of him/ herself, something which is important among us counter-cultural “elitist fucks”.

So, what does Tweed do well? They’re good at the things most music zines are good at (i.e. reviews, interviews and poetry). Issue 10 has a brief but enjoyable interview with Boy Sets Fire, which addresses topics ranging from musical influences to political opinions. Issue 11 features an interview with Sue Cole, a political activist who gets her message across via her love for art. All three issues feature some pretty decent poetry. And as far as reviews are concerned, issue 9 has a great review of Fight Club, which concentrates on the movie’s political slant, while issue 11 presents a short, well-written piece on Radiohead’s Amnesiac. (Oh, thank the stars for that. Nobody else has done one of those. — Ed.)

Read a little deeper and you’ll find shorter, fluffier pieces, like this opener to a floating, untitled paragraph on page 16 of issue 9 (punctuation and capitalization retained from the quote source): “does it bother anyone else that presidential candidate george w. bush is a former cocaine abuser? (yes, he admitted to this early on in his campaign and the press has conveniently forgotten because he’s a ‘changed man’. yet the republican party gave clinton hell for a little harmless marijuana smoke.)” The bit goes on for a few more sentences, and then ends. And there you have it: one paragraph, no excessive ranting, point across, point taken, a little helpful commentary. A similar thing happens twice at the opening of issue 11, the first time under the heading “Nirvana Box Set Shelved” and the second time under “FBI Is Watching You” (which reports on Carnivore).

Finally, each issue contains “Casper’s Hacking Page”, a column about...well, hacking. Basically, it’s hacking for your average Joe, explaining activities that are both doable and not extremely illegal (at least, I don’t think they are).

Zines — especially political ones — are needed today. With more information in our hands than ever before, we’re able to make better choices and, all in all, be more involved with “the system”. However, such opinions need to be more directly channeled through the world’s happenings than Tweed’s are. It’d be nice if future issues of Tweed could anchor themselves a bit more solidly in facts.

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Tweed Magazine
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Tweed Magazine content report:
2021-04-13 22:31:57
Metric, Polyvinyl Records, Tegan and Sara, Iran, New York, Barsuk Records, Emily Haines, congress, Said Sew Recordings, Robb Nansel, End report.