Weekly Wire
Memphis Flyer Goth Talk

By Jim Hanas and Some Goths

MARCH 23, 1998:  Is it possible to slur a fashion statement? Probably not. But that didn’t 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 it’s 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 millennium’s 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 – don’t just want to be outside the mainstream but understood by it, forgetting that if the mainstream can get hip, well, then you’re 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, “We’re sorry.” As in, “Sorry, but you can’t 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 hadn’t participated in sex rites, mutilated animals, drank human blood, and instructed one of his followers to kill her parents, he’d be doing what all his other goth friends are doing: scrimping on black eyeliner to save for tickets to Dark City, director Alex Proya’s follow-up to The Crow. … This is a film for a specific target audience – Marilyn Manson fans and vampire killers.”

The goths’ response (verbatim):


Marilyn Manson: twisted pervert maybe, but not a Goth.

Completely Respectable

… 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.


From Dan “The Resurrectionist” Clarke:

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.


The Film Critic as Hitler

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, I’d educate myself first. After all, the Holocaust was started by an ignorant man such as yourself.


Pillars of the Community

… 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:


Jenny Jones & Goths

Great job, you’ve 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, don’t look to Jenny Jones for information about goths, ask a goth personally.


Goths & David Schwimmer

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? He’s pedestrian, mundane and unoffensive. These are the kind of people who have never had an original thought in their lives. …

From: Angeline, Who isn’t a Vampire, who hates Marilyn Manson, and first and foremost is a Gothic Princess.


Now We’re In Trouble

If you only knew how many of us were politician’s network administrators, television and radio personalities, and columnists.

Your paper’s behavior disgusts me. I’ll be sure to suggest to everyone I know within your area that they boycott your pulp.


Another Holocaust Reference

I have personally seen the fear and prejudice that ignorance perpetuates. It is what kept Jews from living normal lives in 1930’s 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.


The Straight Dope on Manson Fans

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.


The Heart of the Matter

In all seriousness, Ms. Ellis, you should be ashamed of yourself.


(Editor’s Note: Send your goth spam to memflyer@aol.com.)


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