By PAuL-NEWELL REAVES
“Come sweet death, one last caress”—the MisfitsAlthusser, Louis; On Ideology the Misfits, Static Age Dead Kennedys, Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism
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This is a column about album lyrics as text, not a music history column. We will analyze album lyrics for meaning, examining with close readings album titles, song titles and close reading of lyrics. How do social, economic and political moments effect Youth Culture, and how are these interpreted through Youth Culture? We are looking, reading and listening for the microcosm of the album, and the broader macrocosm of Youth Culture in the 1970’s, 80’s and more recent decades.]
The Misfits’definition of Ideology is simple: television. “We are a static age…a T.V. Casualty.” This televised Ideology could be broadened to include: schooling systems, religious systems, medical/psychiatric systems, family systems and governmental systems.
Louis Althusser begins his writing on Ideology like this, “As Marx say, every child knows that a social formation which did not reproduce the conditions of production at the same time…” Break it down, now, Althusser:
In Althusser’s fully developed document, On Ideology, he simplifies, “Ideology, then, is for Marx an imaginary assemblage…the pale, empty and inverted reflection of real history.” Althusser implies that Marx underemphasizes the importance of Ideology in framing, indeed creating, real history. But what is real history? He explains, “The Communist Manifesto defines history as the history of class struggles…class societies.” In a Marxist and post-Marxist understanding, it is the exchange of goods, money and shifting of people across classes that marks real history. Continue reading