Metalheads. I know you get a little scared when they’re around, but you gotta love ’em. The guy wearing all black, long unbathed, headbanging to his I-Pod: he’s interesting. Even better is the mulleted guy at the truck stop wearing a Pantera shirt from 1990, sporting a black eye from last night’s mosh pit. What is it that makes metal culture so winsome and all-encompassing for so many people? And why are its adherents something like 85% male?
One of the less dusty academic conferences coming up is the second Heavy Fundametalisms Conference, to be held in Salzburg (Austria) 10 to 12 Nov 2009. Its sessions will cover everything from ideological domination in lyrics to the musical significance of the power chord. The last one drew some serious interest; this one promises the same. Though it’s not touted as a gender studies conference, that’s clearly what it is. Hopefully there will be some deep analysis going on there with regard to the construction of masculinity, not just a point-scoring session by shaking one’s head at the obvious posturing and power-grabbing of heavy metal culture.
If I were going, I’d start growing my hair out now. Rock on, Salzburg.