Friday, October 7, 2011

Zine Review: Gag Me With A ... #3

When someone has generously sent you their heartfelt work, even draws a little heart on their hand written note requesting a non-partisan review, can one with good conscience give some difficult feedback and offer objective, constructive criticism? Gawd I hope so. Tis ever my dilemma.

Gag Me With a … #3 The Summer Issue is a compilation zine that is thoughtfully edited and skillfully presented. Deirdree Prudence has put a lot of care into creating and editing this zine: it shows through on every page. The content is another story. I’m maybe getting too old or maybe I am too distant from the “punk” scene to appreciate the fierceness of some of the writing here. While the visuals in this issue are enticing, most of the writing left me scratching my head. I think there’s a saturation point where too much nihilism, rough living, smoking, drugging, drinking, moshing, etc just makes no sense to me. Personally, I just don’t want to live like that or read about it. We live in a culture that has violently trashed the earth, if we are to heal the earth and ourselves we need to stop trashing ourselves. While I appreciate the inclusive nature of Deirdree’s zine, including micro fiction, poetry, photography, etc, varying the subjects explored would go a long way toward making this zine more readable.

One piece that did grab my attention was “The Two Faces of Persephone Pomegranate” which illustrates so clearly the masks we present to the world every day while we hide our true selves from those around us. It’s a sad reflection on our culture that can’t seem to accept our real selves beneath the mask. In the end it tears us apart and fragments our souls. I could feel the author’s pain dripping from the page, living with the dichotomy of two selves.

Here’s the zine’s mission statement taken from facebook: Gag Me With A... was created to bring writers & artists together to share their hearts with the world, bringing smiles & laughter & a broader knowledge of the international counter-culture scene through reviews, short stories, deliciously eccentric true life stories & adorably strange mythologies to each & every reader who holds it in their hands.

What an amazing mission! I wish more zines that this kind of objective. Please bring on the mythology, the counter-culture, the laughter, and heart and Gag Me With A has the ingredients to evolve into something amazing.

More information can be found at

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