Monday, June 16, 2008

Edupunk: It's like school, you're not really getting the whole story

Here is an internet meme that has been growing legs this week. Edupunk is an extension of some of the values of the punk movement which started as a counter-culture reaction to commercialization in rock and roll music but has since developed in to a fairly coherent philosophy. (Interesting to note that rock was considered to be counter-culture to begin with but got co-opted for commercial purposes.)
Some punk stuff is pretty dark anarchist philosophy which is an interesting intellectual tradition in itself.

Most branches of punk promoted the rejection of consumerist values and grew into the culture jamming movement as represented by such things as Adbusters and sites like the Culture Jammer's Encyclopedia at I found the Rand piece on the Zapatista Netwar under Hactivism on sniggle. net.

Contemporary Christian rock adopted some punk like values called into question some of the oppressive practices of Christianity.
My hero Bruce Cockburn is sometimes considered a Christian rocker and some of his songs certainly explore punker theme with a Christian perspective.
One of my all time favorite Cockburn songs (one of about 25) is a song from a 1980 album "Humans" called "What about the Bond?" One of the verses and the chorus might give a clue.

"Disfunction,.... Of the institutions
That should give a frame to work in
Got to find our own solutions

Confusion ...Pressure from all sides
Got to head right down the centre
In the love that will abide

What about the the bond?
What about the mystical unity?
What about the bond
Sealed in the loving presence of the Father?"

One aspect of punk is that there is a recognition that the"system" is very resistant to change because things have become ingrained and people have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo even when it is demonstrated to be deleterious to the over all good of humanity. Any effort at change are considered a threat and are forcefully put down. This crosses the spectrum from politics, religion, academia, entertainment, communications etc.
Punker don't necessarily advocate violent over throw of governments but mostly seek to make explicit some of the inconsistencies of society in the belief that people will realize they are being used and adopt more socially responsible attitudes and values. The often do that in a comedic, ironic, shocking, controversial way.

One of the recommendations of the punk genre was DIY or do it yourself. One commentator on Edupunk his week referenced Abbie Hoffman's famous quote about university education from "Steal this Book" Abject Learning also has a number of punk anthem podcasts.
"Too many college radicals are two-timing punks. The only reason you should be in college is to destroy it. If there is stuff that you want to learn though, there is a way to get a college education absolutely free. Simply send away for the schedule of courses at the college of your choice. Make up the schedule you want and audit the classes. In smaller classes this might be a problem, but even then, if the teacher is worth anything at all, he’ll let you stay. In large classes, no one will ever object."

I started putting this together with the Illich and Friere material we have been reading this week and there are some interesting parallels.
Was Illich an early punker? I'm thinking that the Catholic church hierarchy thought so and I'm sure some University administrators would agree and didn't think that was a good thing.

I'll have to keep thinking about this and I would be very interested in the views of the others in this group.

Liked the idea of this article as well and it minded me of another YouTube clip ( am I getting boring with the edupunk stuff, the pedagogy of YouTube)

Talking about generational divides.
Favorite quote from the clip.
"They (kidsthesedays) get all this information from MTS and VH1 and that's their history of rock and they, like, it's well, like (sic) (or sic-ish, not an exact transcription) They find out it's like everything else,... it's like school, you're not really getting the whole story"

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