“For the Velvets, the aesthete-punk stance was a way of surviving in a world that was out to kill you,” Willis writes. “The point was not to glorify the punk, or even to say f—k you to the world, but to be honest about the strategies people adopt in a desperate situation. The Velvets were not nihilists but moralists.”
If you’re not sure who Ellen Willis is, get yourself a copy of “No More Nice Girls" posthaste! She wrote about a lot of things—feminism, Judaism, politics—but her music criticism is particularly fine.