Research

August 21, 2020 at 11:42 am

Mattson Book Examines Positive Impact of Punk Rock Movement

Dr. Kevin Mattson with his new book on punk rock.

Dr. Kevin Mattson with his new book on punk rock.

Ohio University News interviewed Dr. Kevin Mattson, the Connor Study Professor of Contemporary History at Ohio University, about his new book on punk rock.

The 1980s may have been 40 years ago, but there is no denying that besides big-hair bands and leg warmers, the decade is still defined by Ronald Reagan, the “MTV generation” and a culture of conservatism and corporate consumerism.

In Ohio University professor of history Kevin Mattson’s new book WE’RE NOT HERE TO ENTERTAIN: Punk Rock, Ronald Reagan and the Real Culture War of 1980s America, Mattson documents how the punk rock movement produced ideas and modes of expression that defied the basic assumptions of the time, and reminds readers of punk’s lasting cultural and political importance.

“I remember being involved in the D.C. punk scene in the 1980s and how there was a very negative view of it, especially in mass culture,” Mattson said. “There were television shows and movies that depicted so-called punks as violent and destructive, certainly nothing that should be taken seriously and treated critically. I wanted to write a book that saw something of the positive side of punk, a movement made up of rebels who had ideas and could think critically about the ‘entertainment’ pumped at them.”

WE’RE NOT HERE TO ENTERTAIN explores how punk culture emerged alongside a growing political awareness and spread far beyond urban centers like New York City and Los Angeles, surfacing in places like Kansas, Oregon, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Ohio. It also explains how punk raged against the bloated entertainment industry, unleashing a culture war aimed at the Reagan presidency, corporate record labels, FM radio and eventually MTV.

Read the entire story at OHIO News.

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