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July 4, 2011

James Ferraro

james ferraro
Like a modern-day Devo, Ferraro never lets on whether he’s reviling or revelling in the decadence and grotesquerie of US culture. The cover of Last American Hero is a glossy photograph of a Best Buy store, described in the sleevenotes as ‘the modern Gomorrah temple’. But Ferraro also enthuses about ‘the primal fantasies and fetishes, hedonistic urges, mouth watering narcissism and dreams manifested into plastic surgery in our digital age Whole Foods candy land’.
 
Shopping malls, celebutainment, cosmetic surgery, a consumer culture orientated around bipolar rhythms of bulimic bingeing and anorexic/aerobic purging – all this really took off in the ’80s. (And was taken to the extreme in California – for Baudrillard, America’s vanguard, a sort of hyper-America.) Perhaps the secret idea buried inside hypnagogic pop is that the ’80s never ended. That we’re still living there, subject to that decade’s endless end of History, killing time as we wait for something (seismic, subaltern) to rupture the dream.
 
Simon Reynolds
 
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