Monday, March 12, 2007

Old Programming Dies Hard

Hmmm, I must be bored... Here is my result for the Grunge Test:

I am 58% Grunge.
Grunge as Hell!
I am pretty dirty, all right and, I reek of teen spirit... I would sell my own children for a moldy hotpocket, man.

Seems I was imprinted quite well :)

I Must Be Emo

For a joke I took a few online 'are you emo' quizzes. Here is my result for the one I took on

You are sorta emo. You listen to Radiohead and enjoy their eclectic sound, but haven't pushed past into the underground indie subculture. The closest to emo attire that you own is maybe a few band t-shirts and tight jeans.

RADIOHEAD are emo!!!!! I'd say this would be news to them LOL!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Subculture Analysis - Emo / New Goth

***Note: Nothing within this post is intended to insult anyone, no matter what subculture they identify with. Comments are welcomed as I am always striving to reduce my ignorance but please keep the above in mind when commenting :)***

***Another Note: I am currently EXHAUSTED, please excuse any spelling or gramatical errors! As Alan Watt says, chew the meat and spit out the bones :) ***

Over the last few years I have noticed a new aesthetic emerging amongst the teen population of Adelaide, which recently came the the attention of the media due to the recent murder of local teenager Carly Ryan. The suculture of which I am speaking is labelled Emo, but as I believe this is sometimes an erroneous label I will also be using the term New Goth. This is a label of my own invention.

Rising from the sludge of the cutesty-pie Blink 182 style pop punk culture, which gave birth to the pink 'Punk Princess' T-shirt and other (to my sensibilities, anyway) abhorrent cultural signals seen on the shelves of Supre and emblazended upon the bodies of numerous 8-16 year olds, something new appeared. This new aesthetic appeared to combine the razon-sharp harshness of punk with the darkness of the old gothic style. With this look came some interesting visual symbols and customs which had either not been seen in the public forum in many years or had never been popularised before. I will attempt to deconstruct two of the most prominent of these within this post.


The practice of self multilation, either for cosmetic reasons (i.e. piercings / tattoos) or psychological reasons (i.e. intentionally harming oneself through breaking the skin with sharp objects commonly, referred to as 'cutting'), has always been a part of Western culture to a greater or lesser extent. Although both have marked similarities (it must be noted that body piercing was largely a practice of the S&M community prior to its popularisation and thus was intended to cause the piercee pain - which, for whatever reason, was percieved as pleasure) the differences in the intention of the individual concerned must be recognised. Although to many people over, say, 40, piercing may seem to be a harmful thing to do to oneself and stem from psychological issues (e.g. why would anyone want to hurt themselves like that? - There must be something wrong with them!) such people must look at their own practices. For instance, do they have pierced ears? Do they modify their bodies by waxing or plucking hairs from their faces or bodies? These practices are painful but are designed to produce a desired visual appearence which reflects their cultural concepts of what is socially acceptable or attractive. For most young people piercing is motivated by exactly the same intentions. Because of the values of their subculture, influenced by the media (TV / Internet / the Music Industry - the youth market is a huge cash cow) produced for them, they see tattoos and peircings as attractive and 'cool' in much the same way that their parents may have viewed the 'dolly bird' look (where women's eyebrows were almost totally plucked and then drawn on with eyepencil). Cutting is rather different. This is when the cutter percieves their life as so emotionally painful and out of their control that self-caused pain is preferable and a welcome distraction. The cutter may hide their injuries, in much the same way anorexics pretend to eat in order to avoid detection of their 'illness', or show them off to friends as a 'cry for help' or to gain attention from others. When I think of cutting it always reminds me of the symptoms seen in many of the animals we keep for friendship, such as birds, dogs and cats, who pull out their hair or feathers when lonely or distressed. People who are teenagers now have been exposed to far more traumic events then even my generation, who came of age in the early/mid nineties. Many are diagnosed as ADD / ADHD and medicated with amphetamines as there is not enough time or care left in our society for doctors, parents or schools to devote in working out and resolving the social, psychological or environmental factors (e.g. food colouring / flavouring / caffeine / allergies / problems at school or home etc etc etc) which could be leading to their behaviour. In many households both parents work full time and a high percentage of families are parented by only one person, usually someone who also works full time. This deprives them of the emotional support so sorely needed during their formative years. I do not state this to blame parents, it is merely a fact. These young people are also being raised by parents who themselves came of age in an era (late 70's and the 80's) when money and things were promoted as more important than family connectivity and spending 'quality time' with children. It may even be that this present teen generation were the first to be primarily raised by childcare workers and teachers (Karl Marx would be smiling in his grave)! In addition to these factors these young people have grown up in what the media would have all of us believe is an unstable, insecure world - a world where thousands could be killed at any moment in urban centres by terrorists who 'hate us because we're Western', where the melting of the polar caps will see our homes under water in the next 20-50 years, a world where, in Australia at least, water - the prime need for all mammal life! - is apparently about to run out. Merely the fact that these people witnessed via television the mass death of 3,000 New Yorkers at the tender age of 7-11, and have probably studied the event ad nausiam in school ever since, would be enough to send anyone off kilter (as it did many, many adults). If anyone wants to know why this dreadful trend of cutting is gaining momentum amongst the youth, look no further! - The world in which they have grown up in is so amazingly toxic that mental illness amongst adults has skyrocketed.

Emo / New Goth Fashion:

When I first noticed this trend there was something about it that made me think 'Hilter Youth'. This might sound outrageous beyond belief, especially to any one who as an adherent of these subcultures but please, hear me out. After having a better look I realised that the association I had made was wrong. The fashion was much more reminiscent of Hitler himself than of the Hilter Youth. The miliary regalia (My Chemical Romance actually released a video clip where they are wearing German WWII uniforms and playing to an audience dressed in 40's period costumes - all band members are currently appearing in outfits which are also very militaristic looking), the charismatic poses (In an AFI film clip the singer strikes a pose on a balcony which is very Fuhreresque), the emo hair (commonly died black with a long fringe draped over one eye) and the fashion, in which the most common colours are black, true red and white (colours of the NAZI flag). At this point some readers could be pretty fired up but wait - I am in no way saying that the people wearing these clothing are in any way shape or form neo Nazis or that their culture contains any Naziesque beliefs. In fact I believe quite the opposite to be true. One symbol which is currently popular which caught my eye was the the skull and cross bones. The first association anyone will have with this symbol is that of the Jolley Roger flag flown by pirates. But this symbol was also used by Hitler's SS and by the Skull and Bones society of Yale, to which George W. Bush and his father are both members. George W. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, was actually involved in the financing of the NAZI party through his employment with Brown Brother's Harriman. The Skull and Bones society is also linked to the Thule Society of Germany, with whom Hitler was also apparently affiliated. It may seem that these associations are quite week but anyone who knows anything about the occult will know that symbols have power and are always used for good reason. It could be that the image makers in the media, most of which belong to elite societies, are using youth fashion to make a joke, labelling them with their insignia - who knows...definately something interesting to think about. Something with which most are unfamiliar with, but which is of interest in this discussion is astrotheology. The Thule Society are known to be part of a wider Saturnatlian brotherhood (worshippers of Saturn), as are many other occult groups. Christianity on the other hand, through its literary and visual symbology can be clearly seen to be affiliated with the worship of the Sun. Saturn, according to my research, was once known as the Black Sun. The swastika used by the NAZI party was originally an Eastern symbol for the sun, which they inverted (turned backwards) on their flags. Black is also a colour which was used to signify that the wearer was a member of the Saturnalian brotherhood. Now, I'm sure all of this seems rather abstract but there is a point, I promise, and I'm coming to it now. I'm sure we have all seen in our time (especially during high school) that there are two diverse and opposing groups, one that promotes blondeness, tanning, athleticism and other oudoor activities and act in a bubbly fashion most of the time and the other which prefers dark colours, is of a sarcastic, dour demenour, prefers indoor persuits and the search for hidden knowledge and doesn't go-along-to-get-along as much as members of the previous group. The values of Sun worshippers versus Saturn worshippers can be easily observable through the above example. Another interesting point is that I read on one website (of course this could be complete rubbish!) that the long emo fringe worn across the right eye, forcing the wearer to see almost totally out of the left eye. For those who know anything about the occult they will be familar with the symbolic meanings of left and right, particularly in reference to the 'left hand path' (known commonly as black magic). PLEASE understand that I am not saying that the young people who are buying into this fashion are black magicians! All I am asking is for the symbology involved to be understood so individuals can become aware of the real intentions behind the television, fashion and music they are exposed to. Although some movements do start at the grassroots, and this may be one of them, they are quickly coopted by corporate interests for financial and social reasons. There is a reason why the entertainment industries are so hard to get into, they are immensely powerful institutions and must be controlled by the policial and business elite to ensure a desirable outcome is achieved. For example, would television companies, which depend upon advertising revenue produce and broadcast programs which discourage consumerism? Definately NOT. After all, in the era in which I came of age (90's) charity shop clothing was worn by musicians like Kurt Coban from Nirvana. The fashion industry responded by creating clothing lines containing clothes that were intentionally 'aged' or looked as if they were home made (they called this look 'deconstructed').

I'll leave you to contemplate these points (and perhaps do some keyword searches) for now as I have had a big weekend and it is now Sunday night so I need to go to bed.