By Jim Hanas and Some Goths
MARCH 23, 1998: Is it possible to slur a fashion statement? Probably not. But that didnt keep a Flyer review of Dark City that made a passing reference to Goths from sparking a flood of e-mail from outraged gloomers. There may not be a formal Goth Anti-Defamation League, but the excerpts below suggest there is something very like it (although its worth noting that, scenes being what they are, the chances that these writers would all recognize each other as true goths rather than posers is relatively slim). These letters hit all the bases, from innuendo of systematic persecution to unbelievable, and unbelievably self-serving, references to the Holocaust.
We may be witnessing a new trend in public discourse, call it scene-identity-politics, according to which we soon might see Rolling Stone charged with hate crimes against heavy metal. It will be the hallmark of the next millenniums subcultures subcultures, that is, that have lost their teeth. Not so long ago, a subculture maybe even the gothic subculture might have greeted being caricatured in the mainstream press with a celebration and a deep sense of victory. They really were on the outside, they might have told themselves. Being misunderstood, after all, is almost like being a genius.
But now, subcultures this one, anyway dont just want to be outside the mainstream but understood by it, forgetting that if the mainstream can get hip, well, then youre not in a subculture anymore.
In the Boston Phoenix article goth-approved below, the goths are said to want two things. To be understood and to be left alone. Well, sorry, kids. Not as in, Were sorry. As in, Sorry, but you cant have both.
I mean, letters to the editor? How dark is that? Jim Hanas
What Susan Ellis wrote that brought upon her the fury of the goths:
The teenage leader of a vampire cult in Kentucky was just sentenced to die. He must be kicking himself right now. If only he hadnt participated in sex rites, mutilated animals, drank human blood, and instructed one of his followers to kill her parents, hed be doing what all his other goth friends are doing: scrimping on black eyeliner to save for tickets to Dark City, director Alex Proyas follow-up to The Crow. This is a film for a specific target audience Marilyn Manson fans and vampire killers.
The goths response (verbatim):
Goths are not sick and twisted people, existing only to make newspaper articles amusing for the general public. We are respectable artists, musicians and generally creative minds. To shoot down your second assumption: most Goths loathe Marilyn Manson (myself included). Manson has created a stereotype which has been wrongfully pinned on us. I would appreciate it if your writers would research properly before they further discredit a completely respectable group.
All I have to say this rude and rather uninformed portrayal of Goths is 1) Dark City has nothing to do with The Crow (although it is still a very good film in its own right) and 2) such discriminatory imagery against all Goths is like saying that every Christian in the world is a Right-Wing, Southern-Minded, Wife-Beating, Excessive-Preaching Ku Klux Klan leader.
Any unfounded slander against us will not be tolerated. Consider your organization warned.
Are you a goth yourself? Is anyone you know personally a goth? If so, then how can you make such a statement? You know nothing about gothic culture if you freely make these horrendous accusations. If i were you, Id educate myself first. After all, the Holocaust was started by an ignorant man such as yourself.
Of the goths I know, several are lawyers, college professors, scientists, and internet service providers.
I would suggest that the author of this atrocity should, at the very least, read the following article from the Boston Phoenix (http://www.bostonphoenix.com/archive/features/97/07/31/GOTH.html) as penance, and as reparation due a subcultural group that does not deserve her derision:
Great job, youve just pissed off every goth in America with your review of Dark City. While it may be true that goths will like Dark City, we are not vampire killers and Marilyn Manson fans. It would be nice if your writers did some research on subjects that they obviously know nothing about. Next time, dont look to Jenny Jones for information about goths, ask a goth personally.
Your Dark City piece was rather offensive. Not only did it show Ms. Ellis bigotry, but it made assumptions about what the gothic sub culture is like. I cannot believe that a newspaper who should be dedicated to objectivity put forth this kind of propaganda to poison society against gothics.
Admittedly there are some people who are truly disturbed and happen to be gothic but why villanize them as you have? Did Ms. Ellis have the same complaint about David Schwimmer? No. The reason? Hes pedestrian, mundane and unoffensive. These are the kind of people who have never had an original thought in their lives.
From: Angeline, Who isnt a Vampire, who hates Marilyn Manson, and first and foremost is a Gothic Princess.
If you only knew how many of us were politicians network administrators, television and radio personalities, and columnists.
Your papers behavior disgusts me. Ill be sure to suggest to everyone I know within your area that they boycott your pulp.
I have personally seen the fear and prejudice that ignorance perpetuates. It is what kept Jews from living normal lives in 1930s Germany and it is what kept black and white separate for hundreds of years in this country. It is why my friends and I cannot go out to see a movie like Dark City without hearing remarks about our appearance.
A Marilyn Manson fan is not a goth, they are little twisted perverts who think they deserve to be categorized as a Goth but are merely Mansonites.
In all seriousness, Ms. Ellis, you should be ashamed of yourself.
(Editors Note: Send your goth spam to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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