Kevin Mattson

Nov 11, 2020

We're Not Here to Entertain

Punk Rock, Ronald Reagan, and the Real Culture War of 1980s America

Oxford University Press 2020

In his new book, We're Not Here to Entertain: Punk Rock, Ronald Reagan, and the Real Culture War of 1980s America (Oxford UP, 2020), Kevin Mattson documents punk rock in the early 1980s through a comprehensive look into the music, zines, films, bands, and punk Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tactics. He shows how widespread the punk movement was in creating a counterculture that challenged the conservative narrative of 1980s America. Mattson places the punk countercultural movement into the wider context of Reagan’s America and the cultural war that his presidency created. In opposition to Reagan’s panic narratives of nuclear wars, his tax cuts for the rich, and cuts to public education and other social services, punks saw themselves as everything they rejected about the US. Mattson’s extensive archival research into the punk counterculture makes for an informative and captivating read into the larger ways in which punk impacted American cultural identities and challenged 1980s conservativism.

Rebekah Buchanan is an Assistant Professor of English at Western Illinois University. Her work examines the role of narrative–both analog and digital in people's lives. She is interested in how personal narratives produced in alternative spaces create sites that challenge traditionally accepted public narratives. She researches zines, zine writers and the influence of music subcultures and fandom on writers and narratives. You can find more about her on her website, follow her on Twitter @rj_buchanan or email her at rj-buchanan@wiu.edu.

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Rebekah Buchanan

Rebekah Buchanan is an Associate Professor of English and Director of English Education at Western Illinois University. Her research focuses on feminism, activism, and literacy practices in youth culture, specifically through zines and music.

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