The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'emo'
Following the recent Spiegel piece on punk rock and dissent in Burma, music journalist John Harris has an article on parts of the world where punk and its offshoots are still dangerous:
It's been a long time since the term "punk rock" could strike fear into the British establishment. The Sex Pistols' John Lydon – aka Johnny Rotten – was long ago transformed into a pantomimic national institution, and now advertises Country Life butter; it's 16 years since Tony Blair admiringly mentioned the Clash in a speech at the Brit awards. The spiky-topped punk look is as harmless a part of vernacular British style as Harris tweed; the concert nostalgia circuit is now home to any number of ageing punk groups, from the Buzzcocks to Sham 69.
The last few months, however, have brought news from abroad suggesting that in many places, punk's combination of splenetic dissent, loud guitars and outre attire can cause as much disquiet and outrage as ever. The stories concerned take in Indonesia, Burma, Iraq and Russia – and most highlight one big difference between the hoo-hah kicked up by punk in the US and Britain of the late 70s, and the reactions it now stirs thousands of miles from its places of birth. Back then, being a punk rocker might invite occasional attacks in the street, a ban on your records, and the odd difficulty finding somewhere to play. Now, if you pursue a love of punk in the wrong political circumstances, you may well experience oppression at its most brutal: torture, imprisonment, what one regime calls "moral rehabilitation" and even death.The ways that punk-influenced subcultures are colliding with the local establishments differ for each place. In Iraq, Islamists are stoning youths to death for wearing clothes and haircuts associated with “emo” (which originated as an offshoot of DC hardcore punk, though in the affluent first world, has long since degenerated into Hot Topic merchandise lines and highly commercial bands making whimpering songs complaining about girls not putting out, Fake Emo having displaced Fake Goth as the bad joke of teenage angst some time in the 00s). In Iraq, however, emo is still seen as a threat to Islamic values and traditional norms of masculinity:
One thing is definitely true: figures for emo-related killings are blurring into those for homophobic murders (put at up to 58 in the last six weeks alone), reflecting a widespread perception in Iraq that emo is a byword not just for devil-worship, but homosexuality. A leaflet distributed in east Baghdad gave any local emo fans four days to "leave this filthy work", under pain of "the punishment of God … at the hand of the Mujahideen". At least two lists of intended victims have been posted online, and tattoo parlours in the city have reported terrified young people asking for their punk-esque body-art to be removed.Hard rock and the Islamic world have come into collision before: Malaysia reportedly had its own issue with “Satanist” heavy-metal fans, and in Indonesia's conservative Aceh province, officials detained punk rock fans at an event, shaved their heads and subjected them to “moral reeducation”. This action, intended as a show of strength by local political figures, resulted in protests outside Indonesian embassies across the world.
There are, he tells me, two kinds of punk in Indonesia. "One is what we think of as a poser: they adopt punk fashions." This group, he says, tend to be "street kids" who fall into begging and petty crime, and thereby provoke the authorities. "The other punks are part of a community that has developed since the late 80s – a moral, ideological type of community," he says. "They're totally different. But the government and society thinks that if you have a Mohawk and boots, you are a punk, and all punks are the same." The kids arrested in Aceh, he thinks, are likely to be the genuine article, because they were arrested at a gig, a reasonably sure sign of true believers.Meanwhile, in Russia, a feminist punk movement influenced by riot grrrl is forming part of the growing resistance to the Putin regime, the ex-KGB siloviki and the oligarchs, and their plans for a tightly managed democracy:
In Moscow, a court ruling on Wednesday marked the latest chapter in the story of an all-female band called Pussy Riot, two of whom were arrested last month after they illicitly took over the pulpit in a Moscow church, and attempted to recite a "punk prayer" written in opposition to Vladimir Putin. Pussy Riot's music is scratchy, unhinged stuff that takes its lead from a fleeting genre known as riot grrrl – once again traceable, at least in part, to Washington DC, and brought to fruition nearly 20 years ago by such groups as Bikini Kill, and a British band called Huggy Bear. Their music was clearly derived from punk's basic idea, but took its lead from such feminist groups as the Slits and the Au Pairs rather than the Clash and the Pistols: apart from anything else, the controversy around Pussy Riot has at least served as a reminder of this overlooked strand of punk history.
"We somehow developed what [those groups] did in the 1990s, although in an absolutely different context and with an exaggerated political stance," one band member called Garadzha Matveyeva has explained, "which leads to all of our performances being illegal – we'll never give a gig in a club or in any special musical space. That's an important principle for us." The band, who always perform in identity-concealing balaclavas, has a free-floating membership that can number up to 15 people – it amounts to "a pulsating and growing body", as Matveyeva sees it.In all these cases, the common theme is how punk, a dated subculture of generational rebellion, now often reduced to a grab-bag of clichés and commodified kitsch, has come to signify vastly more in considerably more desperate straits, without losing the decidedly foreign and awkwardly specific semiotics of someone else's adolescent rebellion in a distant country, long ago. So the image of punk comes, mediated via layers of marketing, commodification and nostalgia, to the developing world, where a Burmese dissident finds a copy of NME with a heritage-rock cover in the bins of the British Embassy, or an Iraqi teenager sees a Fall Out Boy video on a satellite video channel, and a chimera is born:
"You hear a lot about the clash of civilizations," [Ole Reitov, of Copenhagen-based freedom-of-expression advocacy group Freemuse] tells me, "but often, these things, they reflect a clash within civilizations. You're seeing the same symptoms in all kinds of countries: it's a matter of what you do if you feel you're powerless. You can only be extreme, relative to so-called normality. He thinks all this will only increase given two parallel developments: the rise of religious fundamentalism, and the increase in networked communications, which means that every aspect of a subculture can be globally spread at speed. "Think back 50 years," he says. "People didn't necessarily know what the Shadows or the Beatles looked like. These days, you immediately know. Someone in Ulan Bator immediately knows the body language that comes with rap music; in Iraq, the young people who've been killed knew how to dress a certain way."
Your Scene Sucks, a set of sketches of contemporary (US) youth subcultures:
this guy is single-handedly responsible for the commercialization of your favorite bands, childhood television shows, and quirky indie movies. his other favorite shirts include such witty sayings as... "i saw your mom on myspace," "the voices in my head are telling you to shut up," and "can't sleep... the clowns will eat me!"
like most in his scene, he doesn’t know the first thing about politics aside from what his father brings to the dinner table. he has a strong stance against fascism, racism and sexism even though he has no idea what any of those terms truly mean. this punk firmly believes in anarchy, but this does not stop him from posting all day on the rupert-murdoch-owned myspace.com.
Also, LOLHipsters, which is like LOLCats crossed with VICE's "Do's/Don'ts" page.
two years ago, he had blonde hair and an abercrombie-wardrobe, but that all changed the second he first heard my chemical romance playing on a random myspace page. from that moment on, his entire existence could be summed up with just three words: "i'm not okay."
(via mrsmalkav, M+N)
Tom Ellard (of Severed Heads fame) writes about the uncanny experience of finding that someone else created a MySpace page in your name:
Imagine, if you will, that you are walking down the street and see somebody that looks a lot like you. No really, the resemblance is striking and disturbing apart from the fact that your doppelganger looks like he or she threw up over themselves. And pooped their pants. What little pants they have.
Later you meet a friend who tells you that you look a lot better than when they saw you yesterday. No, you say, that’s not me, just somebody who looks like me except they pooped etc. etc. But your friend and others don’t believe you - they think you’re a sly pooper. Infuriating! You’d really like to get that fake and give it a shake!
And that’s how I feel when yet another MySpace page shows up for my poor old dead band. It looks like it pooped itself. And there are ‘friends’ there. (No link to here of course, that’d give the game away.) Of course these aren’t really my friends and they don’t really want to do anything but advertise their own emo myspace pages. But like Mike Jones once said - you had better get rid of that if you don’t want people to think you are utterly sopping clueless.The thing that struck me was the phrase "advertise their own emo pages"; those five words seem to sum up the MySpace ethos: adolescent attention-seeking behaviour reengineered as marketing, or "Brand You" as the new face of teen-angst. Why wait for someone to notice the scars on your wrists when you can spam everyone and let them know how awesome the darkness of your soul is and why, consequently, they should totally want to be friends with you? We're all our own rock stars, the MySpace ethos tells us, even if we've never played anything other than Guitar Hero and merely rock a Hot Topic wardrobe and some smeared eyeliner; which also means that we're all marketers, constantly pitching ourselves to the world in the way that a shark constantly keeps swimming forward.
The Russian government is considering banning the emo youth subculture, on the grounds that it is a "negative ideology" encouraging depression, social withdrawal and suicide.
Among the moves supported are strong regulation of websites and banning young people dressed in an emo style from schools and government buildings.
The document states that emos are aged from 12 to 16, wear black and pink, and have long, black hair which may "cover half the face". Other characteristics identified include black fingernails, black belts with studs and pins, and ear and eyebrow piercings.Presumably the Russian authorities would rather its youth disrupted dissident meetings, engaged in mass weddings and had lots of babies than going around wearing black and feeling sorry for themselves.
Across Mexico, hundreds of kids gather to beat up emo kids in violent riots. The emo-bashers have come from all walks of life, with other youth fashion tribes (goths, metalheads, mohican punks, Elvis-pompadoured rockabillies) and football fans uniting to whale on a common foe in a spectacularly violent fashion (the word "pogrom" has come up repeatedly in reports). And there is more analysis here:
Anger against the emos has come from many quarters: punks and goths who think emos are ripping off their culture, homophobes who don’t find emos masculine enough, and those who simply seem threatened by a group that is so different than the mainstream.
Here are a couple examples of anti-emo anger from a Mexican website: “I HATE EMOS!!! They are not even people, they are so stupid, they cry over meaningless things…My school is infested with them, I want to kill them all!” and “We’ve never seen all the urban tribes unite against one single tribe before…Emos, their way of thinking is for crap, if you are so depressed please do us all a favor and kill yourselves!”Meanwhile, anti-emo riots have also taken place in Chile, where emo kids are known, for some reason, as "pokEMOnes". They don't seem to have spread outside of Latin America, though; perhaps the explosion of anti-emo violence (rather than mere mocking comments posted on online forums) is a result of emo and "crying over meaningless things" being a particularly unpardonable infraction against the unwritten codes of masculinity in Latin American machismo?
Attention LiveJournal/MySpace kids: not getting enough attention? You can always try faking your death online, and watching the gushing tributes flow in:
There's a Neil Gaiman tribute CD coming out soon. It appears to consist of various goth/gothic-interest artists (natch), plus the obligatory Tori Amos track, and a contribution from Stephin Merritt. The foreword is written by a member of emo band My Chemical Romance, presumably to bring in the Hot Topic kids.
(via Boing Boing)
And the Drama Queen Of The Day award goes to: Omar Bakri Mohammed, the militant Jihadist cleric who has been outspokenly advocating terrorism and playing chicken with incitement laws for a decade or so (see also Jon Ronson's Them). Ever the centre of attention, Bakri publicly announced, some time after the recent spate of suicide bombings in London, that he would not tell the police if he knew of terrorist attacks being planned. When the government announced it was looking at deporting hardliners or charging them with treason, Bakri stormed off in a huff to the Middle East, muttering darkly that the British people would hear from him. Now he says that he just left for a holiday and would be back... unless the government didn't want him.
LiveJournal Drama Generator; for those who don't have enough drama in their online lives:
Oh yeah. it's so not fair that I have this morning off but nobody wants to do anything :-(. I'll just sit home alone and write poems about death.
that jerk jwz gone and said that I got caught backstabbing pfarley. And yeah. You might guess I don't give a flying f*** what they think anymore. I'm over that.
Oh and Why does imomus keep posting images in their journal?! I keep telling them I'm on a modem! I'm going to unfriend them to teach them a lesson!!!!!!!!!!
And also everybody has asked why I'm leaving the furry fandom but the answer is simple: Some of you know who you are and why I'm leaving FOREVAR.
Teenaged girl has her mother murdered, posts about it to her LiveJournal (which is titled "My Crappy Life").
Just to let everyone know, my mother was murdered
I wont have computer acess (sic) until the weekend or so because the police took my computer to go through the hard drive. I thank everyone for their thoughts and e-mails, I hope to talk to you when I get my computer back.
Apparently the issue that touched off this unusually fatal bout of teen-angst had to do with Mom keeping food away from her and threatening to send her to fat camp; so she got two of her ex-boyfriends (both 24 years old) to help her out. Not surprisingly, the entry has attracted over 2,000 comments, alternating between variants of "hope you rot in hell" and "nice to see everyone here is so quick to judge", and then degenerating into goatse and such.
As a social networking system, LiveJournal is rather doovy; it's got more of a point to it than Friendster and such, and goes some way towards restoring some approximation of the private register. However, as a source of psychoceramic material, it is somewhat lacking, lagging well behind systems such as USENET and the odd self-contained website.
I took a look at LJDrama, an anonymous blog collecting incidents of "drama" from LJ and similar sites. Basically, if someone blows their stack and goes off the deep end, their antics may well end up there. The thing is, most of this is teenagers with brightly-dyed hair and low self-esteem throwing hissy fits about who said what to whom and so on. The issues at hand all seem trivial and interchangeable; their exact details are seldom interesting or unique. To one brought up on a diet of kooks, crackpots and original thinkers, all this makes for rather bland fare. As far as genuine cranks go, LiveJournal has yet to produce an Archimedes Plutonium, an Alexander Abian, a Doctress Neutopia, or even a John "DrGodFuck" Grubor; the closest it gets to the lofty strata of psychoceramicity is a few kinky Furries and slash-fiction writers, and the odd joke community.
I wonder why this is so. Could it be that the social nature of LiveJournal selects against the original cranks and, instead, encourages crankdom to take annoying, lowest-common-denominator forms? Perhaps those who can be bothered setting up and maintaining a LiveJournal account are, by definition, too socially well adjusted to be truly eccentric or "out there" (and no, having lots of body piercings and being into kinky sex isn't "out there"). Perhaps true outsiderhood requires a degree of hermitlike isolation from others' opinions to truly allow one's mental reality to drift away from any sort of consensus.
The Guardian's Zoe Williams talks to Robert Smith of The Cure:
Smith says he hates cynicism, and its sidecar of irony. A lot of artists say that; normally, they mean "I hate it when critics are mean about me, what do they know?" Smith doesn't mean that. Which isn't to say that he has no critical faculty. He'll be plenty critical about his contemporaries - he still has space in his heart to say that Duran Duran epitomised everything he hated about the 1980s (although he's fine about Simon Le Bon . . . "I wouldn't say we were friends. But he's all right. I can chat to him"). And he has a frankly cock and bull theory about the Smiths, and how their influence on the era is overplayed because there's a media conspiracy, full of media people who liked them much more than anyone else did (mind, I would say that: I'm in the media, and I really like the Smiths).
Smith's disdain for The Smiths aside, The Cure seem to have followed Morrissey onto the mook-producer bandwagon; their next album (titled simply The Cure) is being produced by US nu-metal producer Ross Robinson (of Slipknot fame), who is apparently getting them to talk about their feelings about the songs more and so on.
(The fact that it's a self-titled album and there's a commercial-alternative producer on the project doesn't bode too well for it in my opinion; it sounds a bit too much like The Cure are trying too hard to be The Cure, and/or to make a record that moves as many units as possible. I wonder whether they chose Robinson for non-commercial reasons, or whether they had him pushed onto them by their label; I suspect the latter. Mind you, in my opinion, The Cure haven't recorded a memorable album since Disintegration in 1989; Bloodflowers, in particular, was deadly dull, comprised of overly long, tedious stadium-rock dirges. It seems to me that Smith has exhausted the narrow form in which he has specialised, to the point where anything else he does sounds tired and stale. Perhaps if he did what he did before The Cure became, well, The Cure, and set out to write songs with themes other than the usual Cureish mood swings (Killing An Arab and Boys Don't Cry come to mind, as do various stream-of-consciousness exercises like The Walk, written before Smith started weighing his lyrics down with his trademark angst/euphoria), they'd find a new wind.)
LJDrama.org hax0red, by someone who left a message written in a mixture of h4x0r-d00d-l33t5p33k and hip-hop-thugese.
SHOUTOUTS: The #insub CReW, POUND EL, all my HOMIEZ in the CLINK, the SFIMC K1DZ, yourmom, ...
"all my HOMIEZ in the CLINK"? Word, you must be a bad-ass gangbanger, dog.
YOU HAVE B33N SK00L3D. THE INT0RW3B IS NOT UR PLAYGR0UND
Looks like ljdrama.org picked on the wrong angstpuppies for once or something.
1. A new community is formed for gothic, anorexic self-harmers: bleeding_skeletons is an immediate success with angsty teenagers everywhere.
8. "The LiveJournal Movie" is released. Starring an aging Minnie Driver as an angsty goth teenager and a CGI reproduction of River Phoenix as Blog Boy it is an immediate box office flop. Industrial Light and Magic receive an Oscar for the graphics.
10. Video posting is implemented. BBC News soon after reports of a phenomenon it has dubbed "The Second Coming of Camgirls". Many teenage boys across the country experience a very personal second coming themselves. Google pulls out of LiveJournal. It is bought by Danni Ashe.
Could this be the apotheosis of LiveJournal drama? Seminal teen-angst vampire-novel author Poppy Z. Brite kicked out of LiveJournal group, presumably because the moderator wanted the honour of smacking her down. Champagne comedy, folks. (via bOING bOING)
(I didn't even know Poppy Z. Brite had a LiveJournal; though, in retrospect, it'd be more surprising if she didn't have one. Which makes me wonder: does Trent Reznor have one?)
Teenage Angst-Fest, a site where you can submit all the woeful vampire poetry and miscellaneous self-pitying shite you wrote in your teens, for the amusement of others; or laugh at the contributions other former teenagers have made. And in a more contemporary vein, The Apathetic Online Journal Entry Generator. (via MeFi, Found)