We Make Zines

a place for zinesters - writers and readers

Anti-zinester sentiment! How do you feel about the term zinester?

Are all of you folks comfortable with the term zinester? I have big problems with the word because it implies that I am a part of a scene. I consider myself a writer. A writer who would be writing whether or not there are zines. The term zinester is one that started being prominent when the D.I.Y/radical dirty kids appropriated the zine in the mid-nineties when most independant writers went online. That was the same time that zines started to tank in quality because instead of being used as an available medium for anyone, it was fetishized for it's archaic quality by a certain scene who then started pushing zines about the same shit like making out and riding bikes and polyamoury.

Zines have since becoms a "safe place" where only a few topics are covered. You see less zines be older people or contraverisal people or disenfranchised people, very few zines about labor or cultural critique. Years ago, when someone said that they didn't like zines it meant they were square and needed a professional to tell them what to read. Now it means they don't want to read about how great it was on a rooftop on night.

The term zinester and the zine community that is being pushed is really confining. I write a zine because it is a medium I have access to, not because I want to be a part of a community. Have you heard of a book community that just calls themselves that because they all make books? Republican writers chilling with Leftists and people who write cookbooks chilling with a sci-fi author because they are all booksters?

It's also the zinester philosophy that's been pushing the idea that making a zine is the hightest good, no matter what the quality and that everyone should be making one no matter what. Teaching make-a-zine-in-an-hour workshops that encourage people to lower the bar. Fuck that! You should be making a zine if you have something to say. 

I don't really get offended when someone calls me a zinester by accident, it makes sense considering the prominence of the word. However, I always feel the need to correct them. I do take offense the fact that just because I make a zine I'm already a part of a club that I don't feel like I identify with at all. And that writing in zines isn't taken seriously anymore by anyone accept for this scene, because of the stuff that they are promoting.

I think that people can write about whatever they want and I don't have to read it. But I feel like the problem is more with the fact that, due to the speed of the internet making zines archaic has allowed a certain group (the zinester) to say that they are the voice of zines. I feel like some of the best zines being made out there like "Underworld Crawl" are marginalized due to the fact that they don't fit in the zinester scene/community stuff like that.

Views: 384

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I like the word zinester because it sounds great to me, and don't care if it is puerile or not because I still call myself a kid too. Aj Michel preference above is the better one in some way : even if you are the things you do, you're not reduced to it, but if it is the case don't try to find another word to define it... and depends on the place you live, riding a bike actually can be original, I assure you.
And using "idk" isn't juvenile?

Saling Pusa Distro said:
idk... personally i feel weird whenever i say/type "zinester". i sounds so... idk, juvinile maybe? to me it feels like it lacks seriusness... but hey that's just what i think... but what else can we call it?
I consider myself a writer, mainly. I write for other venues besides my zine. When talking about my zine writing, I tend to use "zine publisher" rather than zinester. I have to agree that there is something about "zinester" that does tend to link it to "hipster," "oldster," "youngster" and other folksy diminutives. That said, I'm not going to get terribly bent out of shape if someone calls me a zinester.

As for belonging to the zine community...I don't know. I enjoy coming here and reading about what other people are thinking/doing zine-related. But I don't really feel like I'm part of some scene because I do a zine. I don't identify with or have much in common with most people who do zines, as far as I can determine. I do have a strong affinity for the people who do parenting zines, because most of us have traded and read each other's zines for years. That feels like a community to me.
To be honest, it seems (to me) that writing is actually just a small part of making zines, maybe as important as one's copy machine prowess. For most people who make zines, "writer" would be inaccurate considering that, arguably, art, layout, construction, etc. are just as important in a quality zine.

Personally, I've been linking zinester with youngster, dragster, prankster, and gangster all this time which haven't really bothered me much. Except maybe for gangster.

Now, if people started calling us "Nazis" or something instead, I'd be upset. But, "zinesters"...not so much.
Back when I started making zines (as opposed to writing them, which is another discussion, perhaps), the term "editor" was popular. Problematic, sure, but it basically meant the person responsible for this ungodly photocopied pamphlet before you.
I've never heard anyone imply or state that the term "zinester" applied to a narrow section of people who do zines--this is the first time I've heard that, Craven. Not the most appealing of appellations, but it has always seemed to apply to everyone who does a zine. Perhaps your negative reaction to a certain segment of people is influencing your thinking on this, thus giving more specific connotations to a word than it deserves.
I get what maybe you are saying about how popularity trends elevate some zines above others (perhaps replicating certain themes or scenes) but that has about as much to do with why I do zines as what the current Top Forty Pop hit does. Absolutely nothing.
Have you read the last few issues of Zine World? The zines reviewed are fairly diverse, made by people of different ages and backgrounds, and most are decidely un-trendy.
I've been doing zines for 18 years and the biggest change that bothers me is the lack of using Real Mail and writing to individual zine creators. Call me what you will, just do it on a stamped envelope please.

Ryan
I think that what you said below is precisely what I'm getting at. And yes, I do acknowledge that it is semantics. But nonetheless, that is why I'm hung up on the word and feel confined by it. I feel as soon as I am associated with the term zinester I feel I get dumped in with the dominant trends in the culture. I feel confined and not taken seriously.

A similar example would be the term poet, which I noticed that you call yourself. The title poet and the medium itself carries so much context that at the very mention of the word poets are immediately put into a box of whatever many stereotypes an individual might have. Poets are often dismissed because of the baggage the word itself carries. This is the problem I have with the term zinester in these current time. (I also just don't like the way that it sounds, as someone said it's cutesy.) I realize now, because of this forum, that maybe there are a lot more people who call themselves zinesters than the dominant milieu and are OK with that and that's cool. Like I said it doesn't break my heart when someone calls me that but I still don't like it. I am a writer who is proud to be a part of the zine culture but nonetheless, feel first and foremost a writer.

Joseph Delgado said:
craven makes valid points. there can be an assumption that the zine community has become homogenized, and i can see that to a point especially regarding some discussions previous on here that some more opinionated zine makers have particular standards on what is and not acceptable in zine making. i belive cocoapuss as well as myself openly questioned these 'standards' before just to be attacked. i am not a vegan, or vegitarian or feminist or anything, these things have nothing to do for my condition or speak nothing as to who i am as a man, a person, a chicano, a poet, etc...and sometimes it feels that we are being force fed other peoples lifestyle and politics which i dont do with my zines and frankly a large percentage of zine makers subscribe to these ideals and in turn i can see how someone can mistake all of us for doing this.
but is this argument simply semantics?
"A writer who would be writing whether or not there are zines. The term zinester is one that started being prominent when the D.I.Y/radical dirty kids appropriated the zine in the mid-nineties when most independant writers went online. That was the same time that zines started to tank in quality because instead of being used as an available medium for anyone, it was fetishized for it's archaic quality by a certain scene who then started pushing zines about the same shit like making out and riding bikes and polyamoury."

woah.

Personally I find this really really offensive. not just on a personal level, but offensive to the whole history of zines. Zines were created to so that people who didn't have the means to otherwise be published could be heard. Right from the uber nerdy sci-fi writers to the dada-ists to soldiers in the Vietnam War.

Yeah they were used by 'writers', but it was mainly cos no one else would publish them or they wanted to create their own space to publish their work. And also so that they could right about what ever the hell they fancied, be it cycling, socialism, polamory or civil rights.

I think that you are completely wrong to assume that most zines are about making out on rooftops, there are hundreds of zines about political and social issues, and I also think there are great zines about people's personal experiences with issues such as environmentalism (cycling) and sexuality (polamory) and it's very short sighted of you to assume that these are just worthless pieces of paper produced in a fad.
I'm not fond of the term. I think because it somehow implies a kind of elite we have arrived and are the only real zine makers kind of thing.
In thinking about why I don't like it, the following thought came to mind. What if the ster were applied to all group type groups to signify their legitimacy, sort of the stamp of authenticity...
Bankers would be banksters. CEO's would be ceosters. Doctors would be doctsters. Judges would be judgesters. Preachers would be preachsters. How about teachsters, or lawsters, or studsters. The list becomes rather long. It makes me wonder how many people would take any of them seriously if that's what people started refering to them as. I tend to think those things would be seen as a joke rather than what they are. I could be wrong here, but at least for me, adding ster to the end of zine sort of has the same effect for me.
This is my very problem with the way that the word simply sounds. Which, I would have a problem with even if the word didn't have it's many current associations. Well, put. I am very tempted to make a hampster joke

Whitering said:
I'm not fond of the term. I think because it somehow implies a kind of elite we have arrived and are the only real zine makers kind of thing.
In thinking about why I don't like it, the following thought came to mind. What if the ster were applied to all group type groups to signify their legitimacy, sort of the stamp of authenticity... Bankers would be banksters. CEO's would be ceosters. Doctors would be doctsters. Judges would be judgesters. Preachers would be preachsters. How about teachsters, or lawsters, or studsters. The list becomes rather long. It makes me wonder how many people would take any of them seriously if that's what people started refering to them as. I tend to think those things would be seen as a joke rather than what they are. I could be wrong here, but at least for me, adding ster to the end of zine sort of has the same effect for me.
To say that writing about riding a bike is automatically writing about environmentalism makes about as much sense as saying that when I write about driving my car I am writing about trying to destroy the environment.

I have never assumed that most zines are about making out on rooftops My argument is that those zines aren't recognized because of...well you put it well when you were putting words in my mouth...the "fad" element. And that most people that I talk to dismiss zines for that very reason.

I will admit that polyamoury was a poor choice of cliches, though, I should have said crushes.

Laura said:
"A writer who would be writing whether or not there are zines. The term zinester is one that started being prominent when the D.I.Y/radical dirty kids appropriated the zine in the mid-nineties when most independant writers went online. That was the same time that zines started to tank in quality because instead of being used as an available medium for anyone, it was fetishized for it's archaic quality by a certain scene who then started pushing zines about the same shit like making out and riding bikes and polyamoury."
woah.
Personally I find this really really offensive. not just on a personal level, but offensive to the whole history of zines. Zines were created to so that people who didn't have the means to otherwise be published could be heard. Right from the uber nerdy sci-fi writers to the dada-ists to soldiers in the Vietnam War.

Yeah they were used by 'writers', but it was mainly cos no one else would publish them or they wanted to create their own space to publish their work. And also so that they could right about what ever the hell they fancied, be it cycling, socialism, polamory or civil rights.

I think that you are completely wrong to assume that most zines are about making out on rooftops, there are hundreds of zines about political and social issues, and I also think there are great zines about people's personal experiences with issues such as environmentalism (cycling) and sexuality (polamory) and it's very short sighted of you to assume that these are just worthless pieces of paper produced in a fad.
Then don't write zines. Go write a blog. Or a book. No one is twisting your arm to create a zine.

Then you won't be a zinester and you can stop whining about something so absolutely absurd.
Um, I am not whining about anything, I am having an honest discussion about something that is interesting to me and from the looks of it a lot of differant people on here. If it's not interesting to you why are you here? No one is twisting your arm to get on this particular forum and call people out for using abbreviations like idk. No, thank you, I participate in zine culture and have every right to critique things that bother me about it, so I will not go write a blog.

NicoleIntrovert said:
Then don't write zines. Go write a blog. Or a book. No one is twisting your arm to create a zine.

Then you won't be a zinester and you can stop whining about something so absolutely absurd.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Want to advertise here?

Ist preference given to distros and zines. Rates and details are here. Limited space. Very Low Cost!

Please Support Our Sponsors

Anatomic Air Press

Sweet Candy Distro

Con Artist Collective

Ker-bloom! Letterpress Zine

 

© 2014   Created by Krissy PonyBoy Press.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service