My Strange Malady

As I sat on the streetcar reading My Strange Malady, I looked around and recognized the symptoms of a generation that relies too heavily on technology. The guy sitting across from me droning out everyday sound with his MP3 player, the valley girl chatting on her miniature cell phone, the man chained to his palm pilot, etc, etc. After reading the anti-internet essay by MSM creator Dawson, I wanted to steal my fellow public transit passengers’ batteries and dare them to read this zine, just so they could see the beauty in the dying breed of 20th century technologies like typewriters and microfiche machines. Dawson tenderly writes about these precious and practical items in a refreshingly unpretentious way, describing the pain of passwords and expensive printing cartridges. The essay is then followed by a comical history lesson of the sloppy L.A. 70s punk band The Germs. Screw stealing batteries, after reading that I wanted to steal the MP3 player and hear the band myself. Instantly likeable, Dawson comes across as more enlightening than threatening when he debates from a particular standpoint. You also get a sense of his interests (finding obscure treasures at garage sales, religion, politics and records) without him brashly listing them. Too bad that there are more reviews than essays and articles in MSM. The reviews of random blockbusters (Star Wars) to B-movies (Boogey Man 2), zines, and music are all very funny, but I wish Dawson would stumble across more mini masterpieces he really dug (the highest rating he gave out was three and a half stars). The letter section is entertaining though, and you get the greatest sense of the author’s wit and humour in his replies to his fans, critics, and the occasional prisoner. (Erin Kobayashi)

zine, #3, 23 pages, James N. Dawson, $1.25 or trade, PO Box 613, Redwood Valley CA, USA 95470, [email protected]

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