Alternative to What?
To fully appreciate this issue of The Baffler, you have to transport yourself to a time when the word “alternative” did not provoke a reflexive cringe. (Go back and watch the movie Singles, or just look at its theatrical release poster to get in the mood.) Because the war on corporate culture continues with Steve Albini’s “The Problem with Music,” an essay that compared the act of signing with a major label to traversing a trench filled with “runny, decaying shit.” Plus: Keith White’s legendary takedown of Details magazine. Then: Herbert Mattelart assails world music, Eric Iversen follows the search for the new Seattle, and Thomas Frank probes the nullity that is Pearl Jam. Maura Mahoney deflates the Beat revival, and Tom Vanderbilt wonders about the day when retro culture finally catches its own tail. Produced in November 1993 in the tiny office of WHPK-FM at the University of Chicago’s Reynolds Clubhouse, this was our biggest issue yet: 168 pages!