(Originally published on August 7, 2016)
You know it's going to be a rage post when I absolutely have to get coffee before I can start writing a post. Welcome to a response to Goth at 40, the article in question from Washington Post. We'll do a general sweep of annoying things and then address the specific concepts that make my heart clench.
Content creators, pay attention. If you ever get the opportunity to represent your weird little community, do not waste 600 words on pandering to the superficial, with a mild condescending tone at the group/community you are trying to do a feature on. Readers only read so much of a blog post before they click away (Slate). So....maybe make every word count, especially with smaller niche audiences.
When writing about a subculture that has survived for decades...don't ask the youngest person in the room (23 years old) who prides themselves on being an anarchist (so group participation is debatable but no totally feature them).
When talking about the history of goth...mention the UK. I don't even understand how...fuck it. The writer mentions it briefly as they list off influences in the second half of the article where they randomly decided to take themselves seriously, but I'm still counting it against them with a phrase like "...colonizing places as diverse as Germany, Mexico and Japan, and setting up permanent camp in the United States..." Because America's history of "friendly and respectful" colonization is basically what we're known for.
Look. Once upon a time, when Tumblr specifically was becoming a big deal, and the hashtag system was almost necessary for every user interface being created, there was a shift in goth culture. Every fetish nonsense (that undermines the BDSM community), Halloween related, kitschy piece of shit, and pseudo-occult witchcraft mash-up from Charmed was being tagged as goth. It's a little annoying when you can't find anything actually related to what you want. But it was also increasing visibility especially for a subculture that had a terrible reputation in a "sunshine and rainbows even if everything is on fire" America. So that spawned the "This is Not Goth" trend, and then blogging came back into fashion and now we're here.
Here are the truths: anything deemed deviant/alternative is fascinating to people who adhere to mainstream standards, that's how shit becomes "news" and "trending". The fight to stay relevant in a media hungry world that wants instantaneous gratification is real, bitches. Traffic is everything now, it's literally money. So the practice of dramatizing Kylie Jenner as the new queen of goth, (big celebrity with alternative concept) is dollar signs to people, and it works. It also breeds more superficial shit (and goth bloggers tagging Kylie Jenner in response pieces brings in traffic too, I hate it, but look...we'll talk about it on Strange After Hours.)
So belittling down the defensive nature you see "actual goths" display towards preserving something they deeply identify with is... kind of rude, because that's fair.
No go ahead and associate something "brain dead" with the resurgence a lot of goth communities (music, small businesses, events) have seen in the last two years because of its relationship with mainstream culture and the development of a deeper conversation with individuals and identity formation. Word choice, is it so much to ask for? *sigh*
True, but only 25% of this piece is actually tolerable.
Oh god, not her. *deep breath* How dare you say I wear black lipstick to be unpretty. Painted, otherworldly sure, but never would I invest the amount I have in my makeup and clothing because I felt I was unattractive. I don't think many goths do (someone correct me if I'm wrong here). The more of Ladoucuceur I hear about, the more I am reminded there is a scale of motivation and intent behind participating in goth. We're clearly from opposite spectrums and I should be writing more to cancel her out.
Geez, Zakkarrii, you take Goth so seriously...
Kind of, yeah. There are different kinds of goth and I'm not talking about cyber versus victorian. The short answer is I've always been like this, annoyingly inquisitive, oddly specific, and ravenous for more out of my life than superficial gleanings into an alternative lifestyle even if I have to build it with my own two little hands (mwhahahaha insert thunder and lightning here). I like it and so do other people and when these la la, culture feature pieces get written, we miss out. We get annoyed that while we identify with the group, we are forgotten in the marketing and the quoting, but we are the reason goth survives... All that said though i do not believe it is because people are simple sheep (though someone in charge is totally pushing for that creator smart/customer dumb relationship) , I think it's because no one ever offered them something else.
I am the something else.
Do be a dear and take a moment to follow this strange little life of mine by "Joining the Strange Collective" at the top of this page. For content creators, follow Strange After Hours (first post will be up tonight), and for everything else (like the deep, committed relationship I have with chicken) follow me on Instagram,Facebook, YouTube.
To invest in my relationship with chicken, visit The Dream Lounge, my store with actual real life coffin notebooks.
Until next time,
Don't be hungry for life. Be ravenous.
Zakkarrii Edison Daniels