Faculty Research at Morehead State University


"So Much Analysis": Authority, Ephemeral Art, and the Pavement Discussion Group


Layne Neeper

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Responding to a spate of lengthy and complex postings by fellow Internet users, an anonymous fan of the rock band Pavement somewhat wearily records the simple declaration, "So much analysis." Significantly, however, the fan then proceeds to add his or her own extensive critical pronouncements to the Pavement Discussion Group's electronic "pages." This one fan's offhanded comment identifies a previously unremarked phenomenon regarding online rock music fandom that is, in fact, quite remarkable: Guerrilla literature thrives on the Internet. Perhaps motivated by the old punk ethos of "DIY," or "do it yourself," a certain population among rock music fans—previously only disenfranchised, voiceless consumers—have found a medium for the production and transmission of what can only be called a kind of literary art. True, the texts of these Pavement fans are themselves modeled on the maligned and itself marginalized sub-sub-genre of contemporary literature we call "Rock Criticism," but the Pavement postings properly belong to that amorphous thing categorized as late twentieth-century "Literature" nonetheless. At the very least, analysis of these writers' documents challenges our very conceptions about what does and does not constitute the "literary" in present day American culture