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Sunday Reading

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Jacob Remes:

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Frank Pasquale:

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Reclaim UC:

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Jacqui Shine:

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Kitabet:

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Kerim Friedman:

 

 

Teenage Dream

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Now a feature film, Jon Savage’s history of 20th century adolescence Teenage is a modern classic on kids and demographics. Savage talked with TNI co-founding editor Mary Borkowski on youth culture now and then

Several years ago Jon Savage’s Teenage: The Prehistory of Youth Culture fell into my lap, suggested by a good friend, and I devoured the book, intrigued at the time with the idea that I might never grow up (I was 23). Savage—a renowned music journalist who’d also written, inter alia, the award-winning punk history book England’s Dreaming—had as the central tenet of Teenage that sometime around the beginning of the 20th century a “new stage of life” was created: “Teen age,” or “Teen-age,” and later just “teenage.”  That the adolescent demographic we now malign and mythologize was once effectively created—invented, marketed—is a fascinating notion to examine. Reading the book, I found myself equally fascinated by the parallel between adolescence and America’s own nascence as a country.

Recently, Savage partnered with filmmaker Matt Wolf to create a companion documentary film for the book, also titled Teenage (for venues, go to teenagefilm.com). While quite different, and slimmer in scope and information, the documentary succeeds as a lively companion to Savage’s impressive book. I had the opportunity to chat with Savage in early March about his experience translating the book Teenage into a film, and about the eternal draw and intrigue of this transformative step in the process of becoming-American.

Mary Borkowski: Good morning from here in LA. I read Teenage a few years ago, but I just recently watched the film, and I wanted to start off by asking about [director] Matt Wolf.

Jon Savage: Well, I’ve worked in television on and off since the late ’70s and I’ve made several other films as a writer, so I knew when I’d written Teenage [in 2007] that I wanted to turn it into a film or a television series. I tried to get it off the ground in the UK, but dealing with television people here didn’t work. It wasn’t until a mutual friend put me in touch with Matt that I thought this is somebody I could work with, because Matt was young, he really got the idea of the book, and he’s based in New York. It’s really an American story.

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Sunday Reading

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L.E. Long:

sunday-spotlightKitabet:

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Kerim Friedman:

sunday-spotlightMark Healey:

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Reclaim UC:

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Bint Battuta:

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Frank Pasquale:

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Nathan Deuel:

sunday-spotlightAaron, shamelessly using Sunday Reading to link to his own series of posts on the ICC Witness Project:

 

Vol. 27 Editors’ Note: Money

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This is the editorial note to The New Inquiry Magazine, Vol. 27: Money. View the full table of contents here.

Subscribe to TNI for $2 and get Money (as well as free access to our archive of back issues) this week.

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Money: free for those who can afford it, very expensive for those who can’t. The purported measure of all things and the most powerful of our mass delusions, money is imaginary and unlimited, as any central banker will tell you. And yet that never seems to help anyone get their hands on enough of it. Nowhere is the contradiction between something being a socially constructed fiction and material determinant of the world around us so strong as it is in a dollar bill. It’s obviously fake and yet oh so real.

This contradiction wasn’t always so extreme: In 1896, William Jennings Bryan propelled himself to presidential nominee purely through an impassioned convention speech likening the gold standard, the original austerity policy, to a “crown of thorns” being pressed down on the “brow of labor.” But in the ensuing century, the idea of a monetary policy open to populist debate and democratic control has become a joke, swinging from a lived reality at the turn of the 20th century to a weirdo fringe in the 21st screaming “End the Fed.”

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