n+1, a literary journal and not a magazine, according to copy editor Andrew Graham, hosted a panel discussion last night called “The 90s vs. The 90s” at the oft-criticized New Museum (Criticized for its exhibitions, not for the performances like Neal Medlyn’s which it hosts in its basement-level and, might I add, cell-phone signal free, auditorium).
The panel consisted of Michael Azerrad, Mark Greif, Emily Gould, A. S. Hamrah, Marisa Meltzer, and Aaron Lake Smith. Three, including Gould, are n+1 contributors. The audience, at least from my perspective, consisted mostly of what appeared to be young, creative writing students who looked like they’d stopped by to get some extra credit from their respective faculty member on the panel. (I could be entirely wrong about this, but given how incredibly young most looked, I doubt many of them had any clear memories of the ’90s. Except, of course, for Rex Sorgatz.)
The discussion itself? It focused largely on the music of the decade, including many times many references to bands and acts which I never heard of. (Who or what is Pavement?) This lead me to conclude that this was a discussion of the ’90s through the prism of people who lived in the suburbs during this period, picked up their flannel at the mall, and bought their CDs at the local mall’s CD store as well. Growing up in the ’90s in New York City, like I did, kids who wore flannel and Doc Martens bought them at the malls out in Nassau County and ‘zines? I never saw a single one. I have no idea to this day where you could find them and I spent a lot of time on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village in the mid-’90s. There were a couple of zingers, most lobbed by Gould, who apparently still has the snark to be a Gawker editor. My favorite was where she mocked one of her flannel-wearing co-panelists for his paper notes and printed ‘zines.
Afterwards, I headed off to Acme Bar & Grill for a crawfish boil which, washed down with one of their margaritas, was fantastic.