Latinos, British post-punk music, and growing up in Southern California
, 2022-09-12 23:46:02,
Music saved Richard T. Rodríguez’s life.
The first time Rodríguez saw Boy George in a televised music video, he was in awe. The androgynous figure dressed in flamboyant attire immediately drew the attention of a then teen Rodríguez. Other British musicians such as Siouxsie and the Banshees, Adam Ant, and Soft Cell, among others, helped create a sense of place — and acceptance — as he explored his own identity and his Mexican American culture in the 1980s.
Punk music in the 1970s and 80s was associated with rebels and anti-establishment attitudes both in the United States and the United Kingdom. It was that same sense of displacement, of not “fitting in,” that allowed Mexican and Mexican American youth to connect with leading bands such as the Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Cure and the Smiths.
Now Rodríguez, 51, a professor of English and media and cultural studies at UC Riverside, has taken all this historical context and placed it into a 264-page book that perfectly interlays music, life of Latinos in Southern California, and his personal memories of growing up in the 1980s. The book, “A Kiss Across the Ocean: Transatlantic Intimacies of British Post-Punk & US Latinidad,” published by Duke University Press. This is Rodríguez’s second book.
“Each one of us…
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