Books and Literature: February 1992

SLUGmag

Angry Women is a brand new publication from ReSearch and brings the number of works published by the innovative company to thirteen. Chock full of all the important people and controversial subject matter that has brought ReSearch Publications to the forefront of interest and kept them on the edge of reading material, Angry Women is another great and vital work that should be an active part of your home library. The coffee table format is enticing, but the real potential of ReSearch books is in the interviews and the printed words as a whole.

Angry Women looks at the world from the point of view of a variety of female performers, writers and artists. These women each have a unique perspective and worldview, which, if put into effect, could change the world into one of harmony and peace, eradicating many of the problems which now plague humankind such as: inequality between the sexes and races, famine, war and general contention that plagues individuals and whole groups of people. The approaches put forth range from guerrilla warfare to more subtle, long-term plans, but the outcome remains the same: unity and a cohesive world where all have equal chances to be the best humans we can be.

Working through a series of interviews with women such as Diamanda Gala, bell hooks, Annie Sprinkle, Lydia Lunch, Karen Finley, etc., these women speak candidly on how they find self-actualization and deal with their lives in a male dominated society. This isn’t a book for women by women, but rather a book for all people, regardless of race or sex, by women. Angry Women is insightful, full of humor, anger, passion and an energy and insight that seems to belong almost wholly to women. According to Lydia Lunch, “So much of the problem of the generation I speak for is: Fear of intimacy … not knowing how to love or be loved or nurture or encourage without controlling, manipulating, hurting, perverting.” Karen Finley offers: “We treat Mother Earth in much the same way as we treat women. I think it’s no coincidence that the day Bush started the war (January 15) is the same day he declared ‘Pro-Life Day.’” These voices offer a totally different perspective on and approach to the world community. There is an underlying theme of self-healing that becomes the basis for a world-wide healing of humanity. In a world where there are so many “broken” people, there needs to be a revolution started to counter the destructive tendencies perpetuated on societies and people by men. Who better to lead this revolt than women, people who have taken the brunt of men’s brutalities and indiscretions.

Angry Women evaluates and redefines the ethics of Judeo-Christian society where man has “domination” over women, and has taken this to mean “control” instead of “partnership.” These women rebel against male society and reinterpret it through their performances, art, music and written works. Art becomes a catharsis, a way of dealing with a finding ways to counter the injustice perpetrated on them for centuries. The final outcome is a new-found strength and self-reliance, often brought about by the rejection of men as a while or the reversal of roles as women come to dominate men.

The bottom line, for women as well as men, is summed up by Lydia Lunch: “That’s the growth process: to understand your psychoses and neuroses by spending enough time by yourself … to know yourself, and love yourself.” If every individual could come to that understanding, then these “angry” women, “angry” races, “angry” human beings, might find peace in this world. It sounds like so much moralizing, but when one carefully considers this, it is true.

Angry Women is available for $22 postpaid from ReSearch, 20 Romolo #B, San Francisco, CA 94133

Hewligan’s Haircut

by Peter Milligan and Jamie Hewlett

If the idea of a troubled young man cutting his hair with safety scissors, thereby endangering the universe offends you, you’d be advised to stay away from Hewligan’s Haircut.

Originally serialized in the U.K.’s 2000 A.D. magazine, Haircut depicts the insane events that overtake on Hewligan after the aforementioned gravity-defying coil-trim.

Walls that don’t really exist, reality-warping broadcasts from cubist-dimensions, conjuring policemen, bad Andrew Lloyd-Webber productions, the giant stone heads of Easter Island, and a dimension-hopping lass named Scarlet O’ Gasmeter are all countered by Hewligan during his reality-bending experience.

All this is, of course, brought to fruition by writer Peter Milligan (the genius behind DC ComicsShade The Changing Man) and artist Jamie Hewlett (best known for illustrating the adventures of Tank Girl). What the shortcomings of this reviewer’s summarizing skills cannot do is reveal just how amusing and charming this little fairy tale really is. While the story can be read as a pleasant diversion, the underlying moral of the hopeless insanity of everyday living and the desire of the unthinking masses for conformity is espoused—a very noble intent indeed. And rarely has a comic book novel shown itself to be so enjoyable. All this is a tribute to Milligan’s supremely devious mind and the imagery of Hewlett, who is surely one of the most talented comic artist alive.

But don’t just take my word for it. Go out and buy yourself a copy at your local comics shop or demand that they order it. Hewligan’s Haircut may not change this universe as the title cut does, but it will enliven humdrum existence. 

For more from the SLUG Archives:

Book Reviews: January 1992

Notes From The Industrial Underground: January 1992