Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Article in the Telegraph About Goths

The Daily Telegraph has posted an article after my own heart this March 20th, in an article about gothic subculture:

The research found that "bourgeois" goths are a class above other youth cultures and get their kicks from books rather than drugs.

The Sussex University study says goths, recognised by their black clothes and hair, pasty faces and morbid taste in music, are middle class to the core.

Dunja Brill, 32, who has a doctorate in media and cultural studies, studied goths in Brighton, Edinburgh, Berlin and Cologne.

"They won't like me saying it, but their lifestyle, unlike the punk scene, is a middle-class subculture," she said.

Her research shows that goths share a dark sense of humour.

"The values of the goth subculture are very high-brow," she said. "They tend to enjoy old poetry, books and the arts.

I have been a member proper of the goth subculture for some time now, although my black garb is due to the adherence to a cultural tradition, they are a diverse and often tumultuous group that circumscribes an appreciation for the darker things in life. The mention of sarcasm and dark humor are not far off the mark, nor do I think the mentions that it is an obdurately middle-class subculture. It seems to me, whilst it has its roots in the punk subculture, that most of the members are the theater and humanities versions of their punk counterparts. Goth subculture borrows a lot from its literary roots in that the examination of the world as both bleak and romantic can go hand-in-hand along that bloody, tearstained journey. It is difficult to get by with simple rebellion when thy clothing, attitude, and means to expression are so intricate and often well mulled over.

In an interview on the subject of goth subculture, goth idol Voltaire explained that the subculture transcends its own dark roots through a scrim of melancholy and frayed edges to become something new; something beyond simple explanation, retaliation against authority, teenage rebellion, the music, the literature, the pale faces in the dark--all of these things meeting a new and especially sage synthesis within the group itself. All cultures and subcultures keep wisdom in their revelry; their music; their words; their outward expression; even goth subculture. And while it may seem opaque to the point of abjured mystery, the truth of the matter remains that goth subculture is not an impenetrable darkness that teens fall into, never to escape. Instead it is an experience, different from the mainstream, a waiting community, a common environment and a group more welcoming and accepting than most.

While the name goth may bring to mind dripping mascara to some, it has roots and origins from the word for "barbarians," and in truth the gothic subculture accepts the barbaric nature of mankind. That sadness, that melancholy disconsolate feeling that is brought about by the terrible doings in the world, written down onto pages, scratched out in throaty and ethereal music, it's all here.

Slowly, but slowly, the mainstream media warehouses (terrible as they are) have become more elucidated, and with that perhaps they can educated out the ignorance that they sewed too often before.

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