GLS 592: Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll
Instructor: Steve Vernon
The objective of this class is to examine how our culture treats the Sex, Drugs and Rock’n’Roll lifestyle, how it relates to celebrity, hedonism, beauty, addiction, creativity and a number of other subjects. We will look at some of the repercussions of indulgence as well as the attraction that indulgence holds over many people. This is a “work in progress”, so feel free to add to its’content. I am very curious to see where the class goes, and though I have an outline for the direction I expect the class to head in I am very open to where you as a group take the concepts we discuss. The reading list is hefty compared to some classes, I know, but I think the material is varied enough to keep our attention. Please have all reading assignments completed on time, as you will have a hard time contributing to discussions without having read the material. Some of the material (and hence, some of the discussions) will be of adult nature, and if certain themes or language upset you, please consider whether this is an appropriate class for you.
There will be three written assignments, two 6-8 page papers and one 10-12 page paper with an oral report. The subjects of each paper are up to you, as long as they in some way relate to material in the class. They can be reports on books, personal narratives, observations, musings, reviews, social commentary or any other form that appeals to you.
As far as absences go, I know that things happen and life throws us curve balls that keep us from having perfect attendance, so I expect everyone will have one day where they just can’t make it to class. More than two missed classes will affect your grade however. Grades will be based on attendance, participation (by this I mean joining in on class discussions and/or projects) and written assignments.
Attendance- 10 %
Written Assignments (first two) - 30%
Third Written Assignment/Oral Report- 30%
Swimsuit and Talent Competition- 17.368 %
Since I do not have an office, my “office hours” are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. If you need to contact me, feel free to use the phone # above or e-mail me...if it is an emergency then you may be calling the wrong person...but if it’s a class related emergency then a phone call is probably the way to go.
Books: (Spring 2006 Offering)
Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung: The Work of a Legendary Critic: Rock and Roll as Literature and Literature as Rock and Roll by Lester Bangs (0679720456) – Regarded by many to be one of the most influential Rock critics ever, Bangs’ compilation of interviews and reviews ranges from the early days of Punk (where he warns there is now a death warrant on James Taylor’s head) to the heroin habits of Lou Reed. Many of the magazines Bangs wrote for are out of print and most of the articles featured here are extremely hard to find.
Hammer of the Gods by Stephen Davis (0425182134) – The biography of Led Zeppelin….’nuff said Ithink.
I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie by Pam Des Barres (0515097128) – The penultimate groupie of all time, she spent time with Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and Steven Tyler etc. A backstage / under the cover look at the “scene”.
Stoned, Naked and Looking Through My Neighbor’s Window: The Best Confessions of Grouphug.com by Gabriel Jeffery (1932112367) – Admittedly voyeuristic, these stories come from a website designed to allow people to make anonymous confessions- more pedestrian look at Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll on the everyday Joe Six Pack level, without the trappings of fame to excuse your behavior.
Scary Monsters and Superfreaks: Stories of Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll and Murder by Mike Sager (156255633) – Not quite as tabloid as it sounds, this is a collection of essays regarding the downside of the hedonistic lifestyle, including porn star John Holmes’ involvement in a multiple murder, drug overdoses on movie sets and Rick James' crack-fueled abduction and abuse of a young woman that he kept chained for days.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (0679785892) – Again, ‘nuff said on this one I think.
Semester Schedule: Consult written syllabus provided on the first day of class.
Last Update: December 9, 2005