I take it back, Amtrak, and a rant about Goth mistreatment

The last time I came to NYC, I had some cranky things to say about Amtrak. I take it all back. My train ride from Syracuse was amazing. I pulled out my laptop and was working on my revisions before we left the station Five hours later, I powered down and pulled into New York. No stress, no hassle, total serenity. I may never fly again.

I signed stock at Bank Street Books and had coffee with a friend who recently moved here and is now living the swanky city life, sort of. Grabbed Thai food for dinner (hard to find in Oswego County, NY) and slept like death. I think I am fighting a cold, so I’ve been pounding tea and honey.

I see bunches of students today and have to sign books again. If I’m lucky, I’ll be asleep by 8pm. Yes, I am pathetic that way, but I am tired and I really do not want to get sick.

Before I go, I need to rant about something. Have any of you seen the television coverage of the tragic murder of Pamela Vitale? She was allegedly murdered by a 16-year-old in her home in California. My heart goes out to the family of this poor woman, and if the kid they have in custody really did it, then I don’t want him on the streets again. But I am furious at the way the media has grabbed on to the label of “Goth” as if a) it is a bad thing, and b) it has anything to do with the fact that this woman was murdered. I heard one story that pointed out his parents separated a few days before the incident. Hello? Do you think the fact that there is clearly pain and stress in his house may have led to the fabled depression of this boy? Not according to some news stories. To hear them, it’s those darn trenchcoats. They are the root of all evil. Give me a break.

Actually, I found an online news piece that examines this situation in a little more depth.

Are you frustrated with the stupid way much of media treats the Goth subculture? What can be done about this?

105 Replies to “I take it back, Amtrak, and a rant about Goth mistreatment”

  1. I am frustrated with the way the media treats most issues that are teen-centric, up to and including Goth culture, homosexual teens, teens who have sex before they get married, intelligent comic books, YA fiction, emo music, etc etc. Because the message underlying all of them is: “Look at these CRAZY things our CRAZY teens do! O, Ward, will they ever grow up and become good little taxpayers?” Completely forgetting that 1. good little taxpayers, teens or not, are all crazy in some way and 2. they were CRAZY too as teenagers. The media, and many adults, refuse to see the parallel between Goth culture and hippie culture–but both are counter-culture movements born out of a desire to rebel with “weird” clothing and music.

    On the other hand, many Gothkinder really peeve me. But I think that’s their aim anyway. And at least they’re doing it out of a passion for something, even if it’s a passion for being superior to us mere mortals. And most of them eventually figure out that they’re actually acting just like the Aberpreppies (in black) and end up having a good sense of humor about the whole thing.

    I think I’d have more patience with the media if they’d report that the actions of “popular kids” are a gazillion times more damaging than Marilyn Manson. Manson may feed their alienation but the harsh environment of high school is what creates it in the first place. But that would require blaming “normal” children and we wouldn’t want to punish conformity, now would we.

  2. I am frustrated with the way the media treats most issues that are teen-centric, up to and including Goth culture, homosexual teens, teens who have sex before they get married, intelligent comic books, YA fiction, emo music, etc etc. Because the message underlying all of them is: “Look at these CRAZY things our CRAZY teens do! O, Ward, will they ever grow up and become good little taxpayers?” Completely forgetting that 1. good little taxpayers, teens or not, are all crazy in some way and 2. they were CRAZY too as teenagers. The media, and many adults, refuse to see the parallel between Goth culture and hippie culture–but both are counter-culture movements born out of a desire to rebel with “weird” clothing and music.

    On the other hand, many Gothkinder really peeve me. But I think that’s their aim anyway. And at least they’re doing it out of a passion for something, even if it’s a passion for being superior to us mere mortals. And most of them eventually figure out that they’re actually acting just like the Aberpreppies (in black) and end up having a good sense of humor about the whole thing.

    I think I’d have more patience with the media if they’d report that the actions of “popular kids” are a gazillion times more damaging than Marilyn Manson. Manson may feed their alienation but the harsh environment of high school is what creates it in the first place. But that would require blaming “normal” children and we wouldn’t want to punish conformity, now would we.

    1. Damn straight! Teens aren’t taken seriously. Everything is reduced to hormones or peer pressure or rebellion, and sometimes there are some much deeper issues going on. Even if you’re suicidally depressed and require multiple hosptilizations, you’re told it’s just a phase and you’ll grow out of it.

      As far as the goth thing goes, blaming murder on the way someone dresses is absurd. But I suppose it’s easier than blaming the adults in his life letting him get to this point. Have you seen “Bowling for Columbine”? There’s an interview of Manson in it. He says some good stuff.

  3. I am frustrated with the way the media treats most issues that are teen-centric, up to and including Goth culture, homosexual teens, teens who have sex before they get married, intelligent comic books, YA fiction, emo music, etc etc. Because the message underlying all of them is: “Look at these CRAZY things our CRAZY teens do! O, Ward, will they ever grow up and become good little taxpayers?” Completely forgetting that 1. good little taxpayers, teens or not, are all crazy in some way and 2. they were CRAZY too as teenagers. The media, and many adults, refuse to see the parallel between Goth culture and hippie culture–but both are counter-culture movements born out of a desire to rebel with “weird” clothing and music.

    On the other hand, many Gothkinder really peeve me. But I think that’s their aim anyway. And at least they’re doing it out of a passion for something, even if it’s a passion for being superior to us mere mortals. And most of them eventually figure out that they’re actually acting just like the Aberpreppies (in black) and end up having a good sense of humor about the whole thing.

    I think I’d have more patience with the media if they’d report that the actions of “popular kids” are a gazillion times more damaging than Marilyn Manson. Manson may feed their alienation but the harsh environment of high school is what creates it in the first place. But that would require blaming “normal” children and we wouldn’t want to punish conformity, now would we.

  4. I hadn’t seen the goth spin. Heaven forbid someone be responsible for their own actions! The media seems to have make things bigger than the person who did it.
    I hope that this doesn’t turn into a witch hunt. The media should be aware of their power and be accountable for it.
    The only thing that I can think of is for you, an award winning author of teen literature, to write a letter to the editor. At the very least, the goth kids would feel supported.
    Angela F.

  5. I hadn’t seen the goth spin. Heaven forbid someone be responsible for their own actions! The media seems to have make things bigger than the person who did it.
    I hope that this doesn’t turn into a witch hunt. The media should be aware of their power and be accountable for it.
    The only thing that I can think of is for you, an award winning author of teen literature, to write a letter to the editor. At the very least, the goth kids would feel supported.
    Angela F.

  6. I hadn’t seen the goth spin. Heaven forbid someone be responsible for their own actions! The media seems to have make things bigger than the person who did it.
    I hope that this doesn’t turn into a witch hunt. The media should be aware of their power and be accountable for it.
    The only thing that I can think of is for you, an award winning author of teen literature, to write a letter to the editor. At the very least, the goth kids would feel supported.
    Angela F.

  7. Goth Girl

    I did the goth girl thing once, in high school. I did the goth thing as an outward sign of an inner issue. We can’t really blmae things on clothing style or music. It is what’s inside a person that draws them to a certain style of clothing, music, etc… (regardless of what that style is) that can be blamed for things, usually. I didn’t get depressed because I was wearing too much black eyeliner. I wanted the black eyeliner b/c I was already depressed.

  8. Goth Girl

    I did the goth girl thing once, in high school. I did the goth thing as an outward sign of an inner issue. We can’t really blmae things on clothing style or music. It is what’s inside a person that draws them to a certain style of clothing, music, etc… (regardless of what that style is) that can be blamed for things, usually. I didn’t get depressed because I was wearing too much black eyeliner. I wanted the black eyeliner b/c I was already depressed.

  9. Goth Girl

    I did the goth girl thing once, in high school. I did the goth thing as an outward sign of an inner issue. We can’t really blmae things on clothing style or music. It is what’s inside a person that draws them to a certain style of clothing, music, etc… (regardless of what that style is) that can be blamed for things, usually. I didn’t get depressed because I was wearing too much black eyeliner. I wanted the black eyeliner b/c I was already depressed.

  10. I’m with ; a letter from you would be powerful. As for the rest of us: Adults can use these media portrayals to inspire kids of all stripes to become vocal and politically active. Help them develop a sharp critical eye for media portrayals of themselves, and teach them ways to respond, either directly (letters to the editor, counter-arguments, protests) or indirectly (making themselves culturally visible in positive ways.)

    Outraged at media trashing of video gamers, the guys at Penny Arcade started an annual gamers’ drive to donate age-appropriate entertainment to children’s hospitals. The program has become nationally recognized for its consistency and integrity. They’re great role models for our high schoolers.

  11. I’m with ; a letter from you would be powerful. As for the rest of us: Adults can use these media portrayals to inspire kids of all stripes to become vocal and politically active. Help them develop a sharp critical eye for media portrayals of themselves, and teach them ways to respond, either directly (letters to the editor, counter-arguments, protests) or indirectly (making themselves culturally visible in positive ways.)

    Outraged at media trashing of video gamers, the guys at Penny Arcade started an annual gamers’ drive to donate age-appropriate entertainment to children’s hospitals. The program has become nationally recognized for its consistency and integrity. They’re great role models for our high schoolers.

  12. I’m with ; a letter from you would be powerful. As for the rest of us: Adults can use these media portrayals to inspire kids of all stripes to become vocal and politically active. Help them develop a sharp critical eye for media portrayals of themselves, and teach them ways to respond, either directly (letters to the editor, counter-arguments, protests) or indirectly (making themselves culturally visible in positive ways.)

    Outraged at media trashing of video gamers, the guys at Penny Arcade started an annual gamers’ drive to donate age-appropriate entertainment to children’s hospitals. The program has become nationally recognized for its consistency and integrity. They’re great role models for our high schoolers.

  13. Damn straight! Teens aren’t taken seriously. Everything is reduced to hormones or peer pressure or rebellion, and sometimes there are some much deeper issues going on. Even if you’re suicidally depressed and require multiple hosptilizations, you’re told it’s just a phase and you’ll grow out of it.

    As far as the goth thing goes, blaming murder on the way someone dresses is absurd. But I suppose it’s easier than blaming the adults in his life letting him get to this point. Have you seen “Bowling for Columbine”? There’s an interview of Manson in it. He says some good stuff.

  14. Damn straight! Teens aren’t taken seriously. Everything is reduced to hormones or peer pressure or rebellion, and sometimes there are some much deeper issues going on. Even if you’re suicidally depressed and require multiple hosptilizations, you’re told it’s just a phase and you’ll grow out of it.

    As far as the goth thing goes, blaming murder on the way someone dresses is absurd. But I suppose it’s easier than blaming the adults in his life letting him get to this point. Have you seen “Bowling for Columbine”? There’s an interview of Manson in it. He says some good stuff.

  15. My favorite singer Voltaire recently dealt with this very situation while he was in Portland doing a show. Fox News asked him to come on the air live to talk about what Goth is all about and such-and-such. He was very well-spoken and I think was the best Goth Icon to speak on the matter.
    You can see his part here:
    http://sithkitten.com/voltaire_foxnews.mpg

  16. My favorite singer Voltaire recently dealt with this very situation while he was in Portland doing a show. Fox News asked him to come on the air live to talk about what Goth is all about and such-and-such. He was very well-spoken and I think was the best Goth Icon to speak on the matter.
    You can see his part here:
    http://sithkitten.com/voltaire_foxnews.mpg

  17. My favorite singer Voltaire recently dealt with this very situation while he was in Portland doing a show. Fox News asked him to come on the air live to talk about what Goth is all about and such-and-such. He was very well-spoken and I think was the best Goth Icon to speak on the matter.
    You can see his part here:
    http://sithkitten.com/voltaire_foxnews.mpg

  18. laurie halse handerson

    i thought your journal was very great. it teaches you a lesson sort of i really enjoyedit, and i love your bokks. hope to see if you can write more.

    thanks

  19. laurie halse handerson

    i thought your journal was very great. it teaches you a lesson sort of i really enjoyedit, and i love your bokks. hope to see if you can write more.

    thanks

  20. laurie halse handerson

    i thought your journal was very great. it teaches you a lesson sort of i really enjoyedit, and i love your bokks. hope to see if you can write more.

    thanks

  21. Well, let’s see. People who ostentatiously flaunt normalcy when they’re teenagers are either people who dig being flamboyant, people who don’t fit in to the admittedly rigid-as-hell social structures of your average high school, and (I must admit) a fair percentage of losers, weirdoes, and genuine problem-freaks.

    I ran with the crowd in high school that didn’t fit anywhere else, and while a lot of us were just okay kids struggling with weird family lives, there were a few who were genuinely unhinged in ways that wouldn’t get fixed as our hormones die down. When the only criterion of your social group is that you don’t fit in elsewhere, you’re going to have some strange bedfellows. I now understand why my folks were upset at some of the company I kept.

    Also, “Goth Murderer” sounds a hell of a lot better as a headline than “Screwed-up Kid, Possibly with Hormonal Imbalances but Also Probably With An Awful Home Life, Kills Someone”

  22. Well, let’s see. People who ostentatiously flaunt normalcy when they’re teenagers are either people who dig being flamboyant, people who don’t fit in to the admittedly rigid-as-hell social structures of your average high school, and (I must admit) a fair percentage of losers, weirdoes, and genuine problem-freaks.

    I ran with the crowd in high school that didn’t fit anywhere else, and while a lot of us were just okay kids struggling with weird family lives, there were a few who were genuinely unhinged in ways that wouldn’t get fixed as our hormones die down. When the only criterion of your social group is that you don’t fit in elsewhere, you’re going to have some strange bedfellows. I now understand why my folks were upset at some of the company I kept.

    Also, “Goth Murderer” sounds a hell of a lot better as a headline than “Screwed-up Kid, Possibly with Hormonal Imbalances but Also Probably With An Awful Home Life, Kills Someone”

    1. True, but some of the so-called normal kids are pretty screwed up too and are just as capable and likely to do horrid things. I mean, how many girls have been date-raped by the star football player?

      1. What you just said is as much a bullshit line as the anti-subcult stuff that gets spread around.

        The people who fancy themselves on top of the world in high school do get away with murder, and they are in a position of unbelievable power, but that doesn’t stop the real winners who aren’t capable of hiding their messed-upedness even as much as the “popular” kids do from congregating with the other kids who don’t fit in for more benign reasons. At least the football players are good at sports.

        In other words, the more obvious sickos are going to congregate with the kids who don’t fit in because they aren’t capable of fitting into the high school scene. This does not mean that fitting into the high school scene is the only healthy solution, but it does mean that you’re going to get the obvious screwups running with the “loner/weirdo/freak” crowd instead of the less obvious screwups who are, for whatever reason, able to be perceived as popular. High school social strata are weird and I’m glad I’m far from them.

        1. Whoa, whoa. While it may be a bullshit line that football players are more likely to rape girls–simply because it’s unfair to stereotype football players in that way–I don’t see the connection to the rest of the post.

          “At least the football players are good at sports.” Excuse me? Are you saying that Gothkinder aren’t good at anything? Because if you are, then wow. I’m not Goth, I never was, but I have known and do know Goth people in and out of high school who are great computer programmers and artists, and even one who’s good at soccer and another who speaks five languages.

          “The more obvious sickos” are everywhere. Simply being big enough to tackle people doesn’t mean you won’t go berserk; simply liking NIN and eyeliner doesn’t mean you will.

          Kids who aren’t “capable of fitting into the high school scene”–and I resent the insinuation that not fitting in is a failure of some sort–are not more or less likely to be freaks. It’s just that their brand of freaky isn’t as mainstream. It has only been 3 years since I got out of high school, and I assure you that “normal” kids are all sorts of freaky in ways nobody wants to hear about. Who do you think has eating disorders? cuts/scarifies? does drugs? hides booze in their locker? gives blowjobs in the band room? I assure you again that it’s not just Gothkinder, and that particular group doesn’t even begin to make up the majority of those with these issues.

          People are percieved as popular because they have the right clothing, manage a high level of apathy, spread rumors, get good grades, run a 6-minute mile, or any other host of reasons. It has very little to do with mental health. Cliques have very little to do with mental health, aside from the fact that the obsessive nature of forming and maintaining them in high school can lead to alienation.

          1. I didn’t mean that football players are more likely to rape girls, my point was that people of all kinds of social status do crappy things.

            Some people can fit in, but they don’t want to because they disagree with some mainstream values (materialism, sex, lookism). What is so wrong with that?

            Does being good at sports excuse things like rape?

          2. You’d think that I was a Key-Clubbing collar-popping meathead for the response I’m getting…

            To iterate my point:

            1. High school culture is based on “fitting in” to specific v. narrow stereotypes. Note the lack of value judgement as to the negativity or positivity of this. Personally, I think it’s a bunch of crap, but it seems to stem more from an overwhelming need for assholes to fit in with each other than anything else, so there you go.
            2. In my experience, the people who don’t fit into those high school stereotypes tended to hang out as a group, seeing as their stereotype is “not fitting in” FOR WHATEVER REASON, whether it’s realizing that the high school scene is by and large horseshit, being poorly socialized, being queer, being a subculture member, being a danger to oneself and others, or any combination of those things.
            3. In that group of “misfits” are also a few people who are screwed up to the degree that the rest of the high school scene, as plastic as it may be, rejects them for legitimate reasons. Again, in my experience, those of us who weren’t part of any of the cliques were far more accepting of these people even if it was probably in our best interest to tell them to fuck off on account of being crazy and broken. It didn’t help that we were all kind of broken in the way that most high school kids seem to be anyway viz home life, etc. I think that this is the weakness of high school misfit culture and the mirror of the excessive cliquiness of high school popular kid culture, but there you go.

            4. All of this doesn’t mean that people who do fit in are somehow better or more well-adjusted, it just means that they’re either more able or willing to manipulate the existing system and can hide their craziness better than the “misfit” crowd can. Alternately, their craziness (football players setting each others’ cars on fire comes to mind) is accepted as somehow “normal” by the powers that be and goes unchecked as “boys will be boys”, “acting out” etc.

            I thought I explained pretty clearly that I thought the high school scene was bullshit and that popularity is more a sign of being able to cover up whatever malfunction you might be having or have it fit in with said bullshit, but if you want to continue having a victim complex about being weird in high school, by all means you’re welcome to it.

            Also, “Gothkinder”? Speaking as someone who has been known to wear a cape and listen to the Cure, that’s the geekiest shit I’ve ever heard laid down. Dang.

          3. Yeah, I probably over-reacted a little bit, and I apologize. I’m still not entirely sure I agree with you, but this makes more sense now. Maybe I do still have a victim complex. I should probably re-examine that.

            I’m not sure if you meant geekiest shit ever laid down as a compliment, but I took it as one and it was quite welcome on this drippy morning!

          4. dude i’ll totally hang out outside of gym and smoke cloves furtively with you!

            as for victim complex, eh. It’s just strange to me that someone would get mad pressed about high school after it’s receded. Adolescence seems more or less like a weird dream now…

          5. Cloves, yum.

            Yeah highschool is over for me, but there are plenty of kids still in highschool that I care about. Plus, let’s face it, adolescents aren’t the only ones who can be petty and stupid.

        2. Fitting in doesn’t mean someone isn’t a sicko. Sociopaths, for instance, are usually very charasmatic.

          I’m not saying all popular kids are bad. I don’t even think most are, but I am saying that some are. And yes, some subculture kids are really messed up too, but plenty of others aren’t.

          The point is, not only do I think it’s unfair, but I also think it’s irresponible to blame the way someone acts on their clothes or music, while ignoring the deeper issues.

          1. see huge response above! I didn’t know I’d get flamed so hard for saying junk.

            Anyway, yeah. I think that blaming the trappings for the kid’s malfunction is stupid and unhelpful, but I also think that the accepting nature of the world of high school subculture means that a certain kind of messed up kid will find a home there and therefore be associated with it. Some subculture kids are obvious screwups, but that doesn’t mean that all screwups are subcult kids or subcult kids are automatically obvious screwups.

            Christ, I hung out in the lunchtable full of greasy kids with undercuts and spiked bracelets in high school, it’s like my cred’s all used up or something.

            Oh sigh.

          2. Thanks to all of you guys for this discussion. It has been fascinating to watch.

            I don’t think anyone is flaming… you all have strong opinions and there is nothing wrong with that.

            The media (hence, much of the culture) rushes to hang the Goth label on violent teens who appear to fit that label because much of the culture is afraid. What really, really freaks them out is when teens who appear “normal” (and no, I am not defining that word because I do not know what it means) explode into violence. After the Columbine massacre, there were several cases of teenage boys who killed relatives or schoolmates. These guys were not wearing clothes or listening to music that some people think marks them as potential troublemakers. And that terrifies folks. I think labels like Goth (in earlier times it was Beatnik, Hippie, Pinko, Yippie, or Punk) gives some people a false sense of security that kids who are violent fit into only “that” group.

            They take comfort when they can say – “Oh, he was Goth.” They are confused and frightened when they have to say “But he was such a “normal” looking kid.” That forces them to acknowledge that they failed to connect with a kid who was clearly in pain, who obviously needed more adult caring in his life.

            We need to take a deep breath. We need to recognize that adolescence is a difficult transition. Teens all struggle to find their identities. We need to find ways to make them feel safe and accepted so they can figure how who they are and where they want to go without feeling judged. And then the kids who have bigger struggles than others – family breakdowns, etc. – would hopefully have a stronger emotional foundation, and would be able to find the support they deserve to get through hard times.

            Thanks again for the discussion. Feel free to keep it up!

          3. Yes, adolescence sucks. And it seems like so many kids slip through the cracks. Where are the adults when they are starving themselves or cutting or whatever? It shouldn’t get to that point. Some adults are a great help, but others are oblivious or just write everything off as teen angst. It makes me angry. And sad.

          4. Oh no kidding. It’s easier to blame a set of people that look funny for a particular problem because we can stop the discourse at the level of appearance, instead of actually looking at factors that would cause a kid to be so completely desperate. Granted, those factors are likely enormous problems within the fabric of society that would require equally enormous changes to address, but – oh, the media.

            The genuinely pathological nonconformists and conformists alike got away with all kinds of awful shit during my youth while the only marginally damaged in all corners got nailed. I always wondered why.

            Also, it seems that school shootings are passe. How odd!

  23. Well, let’s see. People who ostentatiously flaunt normalcy when they’re teenagers are either people who dig being flamboyant, people who don’t fit in to the admittedly rigid-as-hell social structures of your average high school, and (I must admit) a fair percentage of losers, weirdoes, and genuine problem-freaks.

    I ran with the crowd in high school that didn’t fit anywhere else, and while a lot of us were just okay kids struggling with weird family lives, there were a few who were genuinely unhinged in ways that wouldn’t get fixed as our hormones die down. When the only criterion of your social group is that you don’t fit in elsewhere, you’re going to have some strange bedfellows. I now understand why my folks were upset at some of the company I kept.

    Also, “Goth Murderer” sounds a hell of a lot better as a headline than “Screwed-up Kid, Possibly with Hormonal Imbalances but Also Probably With An Awful Home Life, Kills Someone”

  24. True, but some of the so-called normal kids are pretty screwed up too and are just as capable and likely to do horrid things. I mean, how many girls have been date-raped by the star football player?

  25. True, but some of the so-called normal kids are pretty screwed up too and are just as capable and likely to do horrid things. I mean, how many girls have been date-raped by the star football player?

  26. What you just said is as much a bullshit line as the anti-subcult stuff that gets spread around.

    The people who fancy themselves on top of the world in high school do get away with murder, and they are in a position of unbelievable power, but that doesn’t stop the real winners who aren’t capable of hiding their messed-upedness even as much as the “popular” kids do from congregating with the other kids who don’t fit in for more benign reasons. At least the football players are good at sports.

    In other words, the more obvious sickos are going to congregate with the kids who don’t fit in because they aren’t capable of fitting into the high school scene. This does not mean that fitting into the high school scene is the only healthy solution, but it does mean that you’re going to get the obvious screwups running with the “loner/weirdo/freak” crowd instead of the less obvious screwups who are, for whatever reason, able to be perceived as popular. High school social strata are weird and I’m glad I’m far from them.

  27. What you just said is as much a bullshit line as the anti-subcult stuff that gets spread around.

    The people who fancy themselves on top of the world in high school do get away with murder, and they are in a position of unbelievable power, but that doesn’t stop the real winners who aren’t capable of hiding their messed-upedness even as much as the “popular” kids do from congregating with the other kids who don’t fit in for more benign reasons. At least the football players are good at sports.

    In other words, the more obvious sickos are going to congregate with the kids who don’t fit in because they aren’t capable of fitting into the high school scene. This does not mean that fitting into the high school scene is the only healthy solution, but it does mean that you’re going to get the obvious screwups running with the “loner/weirdo/freak” crowd instead of the less obvious screwups who are, for whatever reason, able to be perceived as popular. High school social strata are weird and I’m glad I’m far from them.

  28. My school, in general, is definitely narrow-minded.
    As are my parents.

    However, I love the stereotypes.
    And those are so TOTALLY true. Like, oh my gaw! [/sarcasm]

    I don’t feel like there’s anything we can do to break barriers and stereotypes.
    Stereotypes are basically diseases.
    Most of them with no cure.

  29. My school, in general, is definitely narrow-minded.
    As are my parents.

    However, I love the stereotypes.
    And those are so TOTALLY true. Like, oh my gaw! [/sarcasm]

    I don’t feel like there’s anything we can do to break barriers and stereotypes.
    Stereotypes are basically diseases.
    Most of them with no cure.

  30. My school, in general, is definitely narrow-minded.
    As are my parents.

    However, I love the stereotypes.
    And those are so TOTALLY true. Like, oh my gaw! [/sarcasm]

    I don’t feel like there’s anything we can do to break barriers and stereotypes.
    Stereotypes are basically diseases.
    Most of them with no cure.

  31. I hadn’t heard about this murder case until now, but I find it disgusting that the media is going to blame it on a style of clothing/music instead of looking at the real reason to why this happen. Leave it to some adults to completely disregard what is really happening and come up with something completely bogus. As a teen in high school who has gone through a lot of depression problems, it is not just “goths” that have problems. Sure, there are the stereotypical goths that walk around depressed and dressed in all black and then there are goths that do it just because they like the music or something. But that’s not what they should be blaming it on. I have seen self-proclaimed goths with depression problems and then I’ve seen people that look like the image of normality with cutting and depression problems. I think they want to blame it on the goth issue though because it’s something people, especially adults, don’t seem to understand, but it’s not like they’re making much of an effort to understand what’s really going on. But in the media’s eyes, it has to be some satanic, gothic murder, because god forbid that the murder really did happen because of the depression issues he was having.

  32. I hadn’t heard about this murder case until now, but I find it disgusting that the media is going to blame it on a style of clothing/music instead of looking at the real reason to why this happen. Leave it to some adults to completely disregard what is really happening and come up with something completely bogus. As a teen in high school who has gone through a lot of depression problems, it is not just “goths” that have problems. Sure, there are the stereotypical goths that walk around depressed and dressed in all black and then there are goths that do it just because they like the music or something. But that’s not what they should be blaming it on. I have seen self-proclaimed goths with depression problems and then I’ve seen people that look like the image of normality with cutting and depression problems. I think they want to blame it on the goth issue though because it’s something people, especially adults, don’t seem to understand, but it’s not like they’re making much of an effort to understand what’s really going on. But in the media’s eyes, it has to be some satanic, gothic murder, because god forbid that the murder really did happen because of the depression issues he was having.

  33. I hadn’t heard about this murder case until now, but I find it disgusting that the media is going to blame it on a style of clothing/music instead of looking at the real reason to why this happen. Leave it to some adults to completely disregard what is really happening and come up with something completely bogus. As a teen in high school who has gone through a lot of depression problems, it is not just “goths” that have problems. Sure, there are the stereotypical goths that walk around depressed and dressed in all black and then there are goths that do it just because they like the music or something. But that’s not what they should be blaming it on. I have seen self-proclaimed goths with depression problems and then I’ve seen people that look like the image of normality with cutting and depression problems. I think they want to blame it on the goth issue though because it’s something people, especially adults, don’t seem to understand, but it’s not like they’re making much of an effort to understand what’s really going on. But in the media’s eyes, it has to be some satanic, gothic murder, because god forbid that the murder really did happen because of the depression issues he was having.

  34. My god, the trench coat thing! My dad’s ex girlfriend (divorced parents) wouldn’t let me get a trench coat because of that whole thing that happened. I actually finally got one and my dad’s new, cooler girlfriend asked, jokingly, if I was gonna turn out like one of those trenchcoat kids and that whole bit. But she is a cop and all, so yea… Sorry, just had to say.

  35. My god, the trench coat thing! My dad’s ex girlfriend (divorced parents) wouldn’t let me get a trench coat because of that whole thing that happened. I actually finally got one and my dad’s new, cooler girlfriend asked, jokingly, if I was gonna turn out like one of those trenchcoat kids and that whole bit. But she is a cop and all, so yea… Sorry, just had to say.

  36. My god, the trench coat thing! My dad’s ex girlfriend (divorced parents) wouldn’t let me get a trench coat because of that whole thing that happened. I actually finally got one and my dad’s new, cooler girlfriend asked, jokingly, if I was gonna turn out like one of those trenchcoat kids and that whole bit. But she is a cop and all, so yea… Sorry, just had to say.

  37. Whoa, whoa. While it may be a bullshit line that football players are more likely to rape girls–simply because it’s unfair to stereotype football players in that way–I don’t see the connection to the rest of the post.

    “At least the football players are good at sports.” Excuse me? Are you saying that Gothkinder aren’t good at anything? Because if you are, then wow. I’m not Goth, I never was, but I have known and do know Goth people in and out of high school who are great computer programmers and artists, and even one who’s good at soccer and another who speaks five languages.

    “The more obvious sickos” are everywhere. Simply being big enough to tackle people doesn’t mean you won’t go berserk; simply liking NIN and eyeliner doesn’t mean you will.

    Kids who aren’t “capable of fitting into the high school scene”–and I resent the insinuation that not fitting in is a failure of some sort–are not more or less likely to be freaks. It’s just that their brand of freaky isn’t as mainstream. It has only been 3 years since I got out of high school, and I assure you that “normal” kids are all sorts of freaky in ways nobody wants to hear about. Who do you think has eating disorders? cuts/scarifies? does drugs? hides booze in their locker? gives blowjobs in the band room? I assure you again that it’s not just Gothkinder, and that particular group doesn’t even begin to make up the majority of those with these issues.

    People are percieved as popular because they have the right clothing, manage a high level of apathy, spread rumors, get good grades, run a 6-minute mile, or any other host of reasons. It has very little to do with mental health. Cliques have very little to do with mental health, aside from the fact that the obsessive nature of forming and maintaining them in high school can lead to alienation.

  38. Whoa, whoa. While it may be a bullshit line that football players are more likely to rape girls–simply because it’s unfair to stereotype football players in that way–I don’t see the connection to the rest of the post.

    “At least the football players are good at sports.” Excuse me? Are you saying that Gothkinder aren’t good at anything? Because if you are, then wow. I’m not Goth, I never was, but I have known and do know Goth people in and out of high school who are great computer programmers and artists, and even one who’s good at soccer and another who speaks five languages.

    “The more obvious sickos” are everywhere. Simply being big enough to tackle people doesn’t mean you won’t go berserk; simply liking NIN and eyeliner doesn’t mean you will.

    Kids who aren’t “capable of fitting into the high school scene”–and I resent the insinuation that not fitting in is a failure of some sort–are not more or less likely to be freaks. It’s just that their brand of freaky isn’t as mainstream. It has only been 3 years since I got out of high school, and I assure you that “normal” kids are all sorts of freaky in ways nobody wants to hear about. Who do you think has eating disorders? cuts/scarifies? does drugs? hides booze in their locker? gives blowjobs in the band room? I assure you again that it’s not just Gothkinder, and that particular group doesn’t even begin to make up the majority of those with these issues.

    People are percieved as popular because they have the right clothing, manage a high level of apathy, spread rumors, get good grades, run a 6-minute mile, or any other host of reasons. It has very little to do with mental health. Cliques have very little to do with mental health, aside from the fact that the obsessive nature of forming and maintaining them in high school can lead to alienation.

  39. Fitting in doesn’t mean someone isn’t a sicko. Sociopaths, for instance, are usually very charasmatic.

    I’m not saying all popular kids are bad. I don’t even think most are, but I am saying that some are. And yes, some subculture kids are really messed up too, but plenty of others aren’t.

    The point is, not only do I think it’s unfair, but I also think it’s irresponible to blame the way someone acts on their clothes or music, while ignoring the deeper issues.

  40. Fitting in doesn’t mean someone isn’t a sicko. Sociopaths, for instance, are usually very charasmatic.

    I’m not saying all popular kids are bad. I don’t even think most are, but I am saying that some are. And yes, some subculture kids are really messed up too, but plenty of others aren’t.

    The point is, not only do I think it’s unfair, but I also think it’s irresponible to blame the way someone acts on their clothes or music, while ignoring the deeper issues.

  41. I didn’t mean that football players are more likely to rape girls, my point was that people of all kinds of social status do crappy things.

    Some people can fit in, but they don’t want to because they disagree with some mainstream values (materialism, sex, lookism). What is so wrong with that?

    Does being good at sports excuse things like rape?

  42. I didn’t mean that football players are more likely to rape girls, my point was that people of all kinds of social status do crappy things.

    Some people can fit in, but they don’t want to because they disagree with some mainstream values (materialism, sex, lookism). What is so wrong with that?

    Does being good at sports excuse things like rape?

  43. You’d think that I was a Key-Clubbing collar-popping meathead for the response I’m getting…

    To iterate my point:

    1. High school culture is based on “fitting in” to specific v. narrow stereotypes. Note the lack of value judgement as to the negativity or positivity of this. Personally, I think it’s a bunch of crap, but it seems to stem more from an overwhelming need for assholes to fit in with each other than anything else, so there you go.
    2. In my experience, the people who don’t fit into those high school stereotypes tended to hang out as a group, seeing as their stereotype is “not fitting in” FOR WHATEVER REASON, whether it’s realizing that the high school scene is by and large horseshit, being poorly socialized, being queer, being a subculture member, being a danger to oneself and others, or any combination of those things.
    3. In that group of “misfits” are also a few people who are screwed up to the degree that the rest of the high school scene, as plastic as it may be, rejects them for legitimate reasons. Again, in my experience, those of us who weren’t part of any of the cliques were far more accepting of these people even if it was probably in our best interest to tell them to fuck off on account of being crazy and broken. It didn’t help that we were all kind of broken in the way that most high school kids seem to be anyway viz home life, etc. I think that this is the weakness of high school misfit culture and the mirror of the excessive cliquiness of high school popular kid culture, but there you go.

    4. All of this doesn’t mean that people who do fit in are somehow better or more well-adjusted, it just means that they’re either more able or willing to manipulate the existing system and can hide their craziness better than the “misfit” crowd can. Alternately, their craziness (football players setting each others’ cars on fire comes to mind) is accepted as somehow “normal” by the powers that be and goes unchecked as “boys will be boys”, “acting out” etc.

    I thought I explained pretty clearly that I thought the high school scene was bullshit and that popularity is more a sign of being able to cover up whatever malfunction you might be having or have it fit in with said bullshit, but if you want to continue having a victim complex about being weird in high school, by all means you’re welcome to it.

    Also, “Gothkinder”? Speaking as someone who has been known to wear a cape and listen to the Cure, that’s the geekiest shit I’ve ever heard laid down. Dang.

  44. You’d think that I was a Key-Clubbing collar-popping meathead for the response I’m getting…

    To iterate my point:

    1. High school culture is based on “fitting in” to specific v. narrow stereotypes. Note the lack of value judgement as to the negativity or positivity of this. Personally, I think it’s a bunch of crap, but it seems to stem more from an overwhelming need for assholes to fit in with each other than anything else, so there you go.
    2. In my experience, the people who don’t fit into those high school stereotypes tended to hang out as a group, seeing as their stereotype is “not fitting in” FOR WHATEVER REASON, whether it’s realizing that the high school scene is by and large horseshit, being poorly socialized, being queer, being a subculture member, being a danger to oneself and others, or any combination of those things.
    3. In that group of “misfits” are also a few people who are screwed up to the degree that the rest of the high school scene, as plastic as it may be, rejects them for legitimate reasons. Again, in my experience, those of us who weren’t part of any of the cliques were far more accepting of these people even if it was probably in our best interest to tell them to fuck off on account of being crazy and broken. It didn’t help that we were all kind of broken in the way that most high school kids seem to be anyway viz home life, etc. I think that this is the weakness of high school misfit culture and the mirror of the excessive cliquiness of high school popular kid culture, but there you go.

    4. All of this doesn’t mean that people who do fit in are somehow better or more well-adjusted, it just means that they’re either more able or willing to manipulate the existing system and can hide their craziness better than the “misfit” crowd can. Alternately, their craziness (football players setting each others’ cars on fire comes to mind) is accepted as somehow “normal” by the powers that be and goes unchecked as “boys will be boys”, “acting out” etc.

    I thought I explained pretty clearly that I thought the high school scene was bullshit and that popularity is more a sign of being able to cover up whatever malfunction you might be having or have it fit in with said bullshit, but if you want to continue having a victim complex about being weird in high school, by all means you’re welcome to it.

    Also, “Gothkinder”? Speaking as someone who has been known to wear a cape and listen to the Cure, that’s the geekiest shit I’ve ever heard laid down. Dang.

  45. see huge response above! I didn’t know I’d get flamed so hard for saying junk.

    Anyway, yeah. I think that blaming the trappings for the kid’s malfunction is stupid and unhelpful, but I also think that the accepting nature of the world of high school subculture means that a certain kind of messed up kid will find a home there and therefore be associated with it. Some subculture kids are obvious screwups, but that doesn’t mean that all screwups are subcult kids or subcult kids are automatically obvious screwups.

    Christ, I hung out in the lunchtable full of greasy kids with undercuts and spiked bracelets in high school, it’s like my cred’s all used up or something.

    Oh sigh.

  46. see huge response above! I didn’t know I’d get flamed so hard for saying junk.

    Anyway, yeah. I think that blaming the trappings for the kid’s malfunction is stupid and unhelpful, but I also think that the accepting nature of the world of high school subculture means that a certain kind of messed up kid will find a home there and therefore be associated with it. Some subculture kids are obvious screwups, but that doesn’t mean that all screwups are subcult kids or subcult kids are automatically obvious screwups.

    Christ, I hung out in the lunchtable full of greasy kids with undercuts and spiked bracelets in high school, it’s like my cred’s all used up or something.

    Oh sigh.

  47. Thanks to all of you guys for this discussion. It has been fascinating to watch.

    I don’t think anyone is flaming… you all have strong opinions and there is nothing wrong with that.

    The media (hence, much of the culture) rushes to hang the Goth label on violent teens who appear to fit that label because much of the culture is afraid. What really, really freaks them out is when teens who appear “normal” (and no, I am not defining that word because I do not know what it means) explode into violence. After the Columbine massacre, there were several cases of teenage boys who killed relatives or schoolmates. These guys were not wearing clothes or listening to music that some people think marks them as potential troublemakers. And that terrifies folks. I think labels like Goth (in earlier times it was Beatnik, Hippie, Pinko, Yippie, or Punk) gives some people a false sense of security that kids who are violent fit into only “that” group.

    They take comfort when they can say – “Oh, he was Goth.” They are confused and frightened when they have to say “But he was such a “normal” looking kid.” That forces them to acknowledge that they failed to connect with a kid who was clearly in pain, who obviously needed more adult caring in his life.

    We need to take a deep breath. We need to recognize that adolescence is a difficult transition. Teens all struggle to find their identities. We need to find ways to make them feel safe and accepted so they can figure how who they are and where they want to go without feeling judged. And then the kids who have bigger struggles than others – family breakdowns, etc. – would hopefully have a stronger emotional foundation, and would be able to find the support they deserve to get through hard times.

    Thanks again for the discussion. Feel free to keep it up!

  48. Thanks to all of you guys for this discussion. It has been fascinating to watch.

    I don’t think anyone is flaming… you all have strong opinions and there is nothing wrong with that.

    The media (hence, much of the culture) rushes to hang the Goth label on violent teens who appear to fit that label because much of the culture is afraid. What really, really freaks them out is when teens who appear “normal” (and no, I am not defining that word because I do not know what it means) explode into violence. After the Columbine massacre, there were several cases of teenage boys who killed relatives or schoolmates. These guys were not wearing clothes or listening to music that some people think marks them as potential troublemakers. And that terrifies folks. I think labels like Goth (in earlier times it was Beatnik, Hippie, Pinko, Yippie, or Punk) gives some people a false sense of security that kids who are violent fit into only “that” group.

    They take comfort when they can say – “Oh, he was Goth.” They are confused and frightened when they have to say “But he was such a “normal” looking kid.” That forces them to acknowledge that they failed to connect with a kid who was clearly in pain, who obviously needed more adult caring in his life.

    We need to take a deep breath. We need to recognize that adolescence is a difficult transition. Teens all struggle to find their identities. We need to find ways to make them feel safe and accepted so they can figure how who they are and where they want to go without feeling judged. And then the kids who have bigger struggles than others – family breakdowns, etc. – would hopefully have a stronger emotional foundation, and would be able to find the support they deserve to get through hard times.

    Thanks again for the discussion. Feel free to keep it up!

  49. Yeah, I probably over-reacted a little bit, and I apologize. I’m still not entirely sure I agree with you, but this makes more sense now. Maybe I do still have a victim complex. I should probably re-examine that.

    I’m not sure if you meant geekiest shit ever laid down as a compliment, but I took it as one and it was quite welcome on this drippy morning!

  50. Yeah, I probably over-reacted a little bit, and I apologize. I’m still not entirely sure I agree with you, but this makes more sense now. Maybe I do still have a victim complex. I should probably re-examine that.

    I’m not sure if you meant geekiest shit ever laid down as a compliment, but I took it as one and it was quite welcome on this drippy morning!

  51. Yes, adolescence sucks. And it seems like so many kids slip through the cracks. Where are the adults when they are starving themselves or cutting or whatever? It shouldn’t get to that point. Some adults are a great help, but others are oblivious or just write everything off as teen angst. It makes me angry. And sad.

  52. Yes, adolescence sucks. And it seems like so many kids slip through the cracks. Where are the adults when they are starving themselves or cutting or whatever? It shouldn’t get to that point. Some adults are a great help, but others are oblivious or just write everything off as teen angst. It makes me angry. And sad.

  53. Oh no kidding. It’s easier to blame a set of people that look funny for a particular problem because we can stop the discourse at the level of appearance, instead of actually looking at factors that would cause a kid to be so completely desperate. Granted, those factors are likely enormous problems within the fabric of society that would require equally enormous changes to address, but – oh, the media.

    The genuinely pathological nonconformists and conformists alike got away with all kinds of awful shit during my youth while the only marginally damaged in all corners got nailed. I always wondered why.

    Also, it seems that school shootings are passe. How odd!

  54. Oh no kidding. It’s easier to blame a set of people that look funny for a particular problem because we can stop the discourse at the level of appearance, instead of actually looking at factors that would cause a kid to be so completely desperate. Granted, those factors are likely enormous problems within the fabric of society that would require equally enormous changes to address, but – oh, the media.

    The genuinely pathological nonconformists and conformists alike got away with all kinds of awful shit during my youth while the only marginally damaged in all corners got nailed. I always wondered why.

    Also, it seems that school shootings are passe. How odd!

  55. dude i’ll totally hang out outside of gym and smoke cloves furtively with you!

    as for victim complex, eh. It’s just strange to me that someone would get mad pressed about high school after it’s receded. Adolescence seems more or less like a weird dream now…

  56. dude i’ll totally hang out outside of gym and smoke cloves furtively with you!

    as for victim complex, eh. It’s just strange to me that someone would get mad pressed about high school after it’s receded. Adolescence seems more or less like a weird dream now…

  57. Cloves, yum.

    Yeah highschool is over for me, but there are plenty of kids still in highschool that I care about. Plus, let’s face it, adolescents aren’t the only ones who can be petty and stupid.

  58. Cloves, yum.

    Yeah highschool is over for me, but there are plenty of kids still in highschool that I care about. Plus, let’s face it, adolescents aren’t the only ones who can be petty and stupid.

  59. I can’t stand the media. The way the exploit people just sickens me to death. The media exploits these people and makes them out to be like The Big Bad Wolf, when they are the nicest people I know.

  60. I can’t stand the media. The way the exploit people just sickens me to death. The media exploits these people and makes them out to be like The Big Bad Wolf, when they are the nicest people I know.

  61. I can’t stand the media. The way the exploit people just sickens me to death. The media exploits these people and makes them out to be like The Big Bad Wolf, when they are the nicest people I know.

  62. Thai in Oswego

    Have you tried the House of Thai on W. 2nd St. in downtown Oswego yet? It’s just around the corner from the river’s end, and it’s easily our favorite place to go for a quick bite. (For a nicer dinner, we like Avanti Bistro across the street from House of Thai.) It’s probably not as good or authentic as what you might find in a big city with a big SE Asian population, but it’s certainly tasty!

  63. Thai in Oswego

    Have you tried the House of Thai on W. 2nd St. in downtown Oswego yet? It’s just around the corner from the river’s end, and it’s easily our favorite place to go for a quick bite. (For a nicer dinner, we like Avanti Bistro across the street from House of Thai.) It’s probably not as good or authentic as what you might find in a big city with a big SE Asian population, but it’s certainly tasty!

  64. Thai in Oswego

    Have you tried the House of Thai on W. 2nd St. in downtown Oswego yet? It’s just around the corner from the river’s end, and it’s easily our favorite place to go for a quick bite. (For a nicer dinner, we like Avanti Bistro across the street from House of Thai.) It’s probably not as good or authentic as what you might find in a big city with a big SE Asian population, but it’s certainly tasty!

  65. that last comment was random. lol

    But yea, seriously; I think that, by now, most of the Goth population is made up of a bunch of people who just want attention and people to feel sorry for them. I know a lot more ‘normal people’ that have depression and stuff than ‘goths’ who have those sort of issues. (Although, when I was going through problems last year, I, for some reason, was drawn to that and started dressing in black, ect.) I don’t know why, exactly, but it was just funny that many Goths are in fact depressed- not just because thats how the ‘rules’ of the goth scene are written- that you have to be depressed. But how many ‘preps’ out there are bulemic and killing themselves over teen angst? We’re all people here, wearing different clothing and listening to different types of music. It’s a scene. It’s what kids do- we’re drawn, more or less, to a certain subculture and go with it. But each of us is still are our own person.(was that correct grammar?) Anyway, i just felt like putting my two cents in.

    And the media needs to die. The evil part of it, anyway.

  66. that last comment was random. lol

    But yea, seriously; I think that, by now, most of the Goth population is made up of a bunch of people who just want attention and people to feel sorry for them. I know a lot more ‘normal people’ that have depression and stuff than ‘goths’ who have those sort of issues. (Although, when I was going through problems last year, I, for some reason, was drawn to that and started dressing in black, ect.) I don’t know why, exactly, but it was just funny that many Goths are in fact depressed- not just because thats how the ‘rules’ of the goth scene are written- that you have to be depressed. But how many ‘preps’ out there are bulemic and killing themselves over teen angst? We’re all people here, wearing different clothing and listening to different types of music. It’s a scene. It’s what kids do- we’re drawn, more or less, to a certain subculture and go with it. But each of us is still are our own person.(was that correct grammar?) Anyway, i just felt like putting my two cents in.

    And the media needs to die. The evil part of it, anyway.

  67. that last comment was random. lol

    But yea, seriously; I think that, by now, most of the Goth population is made up of a bunch of people who just want attention and people to feel sorry for them. I know a lot more ‘normal people’ that have depression and stuff than ‘goths’ who have those sort of issues. (Although, when I was going through problems last year, I, for some reason, was drawn to that and started dressing in black, ect.) I don’t know why, exactly, but it was just funny that many Goths are in fact depressed- not just because thats how the ‘rules’ of the goth scene are written- that you have to be depressed. But how many ‘preps’ out there are bulemic and killing themselves over teen angst? We’re all people here, wearing different clothing and listening to different types of music. It’s a scene. It’s what kids do- we’re drawn, more or less, to a certain subculture and go with it. But each of us is still are our own person.(was that correct grammar?) Anyway, i just felt like putting my two cents in.

    And the media needs to die. The evil part of it, anyway.

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