Success By Night

Following up the article from a few weeks ago showing the Gothic subculture fosters a supportive environment for psychologically sensative teens, turnig them away from suicide rather than towards it, comes this article about how Goths tend to grow up to be successful, well adjusted adults, but with a better sense of fashion and creative leanings:

Dr Dunja Brill, a 32-year-old German with her own Gothic tendencies, studied the subculture in Brighton, Edinburgh, Berlin and Cologne for her doctorate in media and cultural studies at Sussex University.

[…] Her interviewees included medical doctors, a man who had pursued a lucrative career in the law before becoming a musician, a bank clerk and an architecture student. The bank clerk was free to dress in black because her job did not involve coming into contact with customers, although like many professional Goths she reserved more extreme hair and make-up for club nights out.

“The Goth lifestyle allows you to lead a perfectly sane, stable lifestyle with a proper job, your own flat and even a family, then at the weekends or in your leisure time follow your Gothic activities,” said Dr Brill.

Many Goths choose jobs in the creative industries, academia or social work, where they are allowed more freedom to pursue their identity, but most are willing to make compromises.

“There is this idea in the subculture of being a proper full-time Goth, but that’s incompatible with holding down certain kinds of jobs. Most Goths who stay Goths and get proper jobs tend to make compromises but keep as much of the classic black and white clothing as possible. A white shirt and black suit corresponds to the Goth personality. It’s easier than being a Punk. Most Goths are very neat. They’re quite vain. Especially for the women, long black dyed hair is perfectly okay. It’s more difficult for a man.”

While many subcultures buck against the system in every way they can, Goths embrace classical education.

“Going to do a university degree is encouraged. It doesn’t encourage people to drop out of school. Whereas in the Punk scene you turn down the normal educational values, in Goth you gain status if you’re perceived as being educated. You get people who are in it for the shock value, but they are usually the ones who grow out of it,” said Dr Brill.

“The scene has quite middle-class values – education, highbrow culture, theatre, museums, romantic literature, poetry, philosophy, Gothic architecture. Many Goths like classical music. It’s a status symbol to have a good collection of classical pieces – mostly requiems and darker pieces,” she added.

The article goes on to give a thumbnail sketch of the history of the subculture, which is pretty spot on and entertaining.

Atlanta Bound

I’m headed off to Atlanta for a couple of days on Double Super Top Secret Library Business,* so now posting until at least Thursday night. in the meantime, here are a few fun links to hold you over til then:

Belle Warring has a great little post over at Crooked Timber regarding our iminant train wreck with Iran. You’l laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll drink yourself into a stupor just to have respite from the cringe inducing shenannigans of the Bush Administration. It’s fun!

Amanda Marcot over at Pandagon talks about why all us pissed off Lefties are so pissed off and how that’s a good thing, contrary to popular belief (and by popular belief, I mean Right blogosphere disgruntlement over the fact that we haven’t all submitted naughty-puppy-like to their stern rolled up newspaper of fascism).

And there’s always Boing Boing.


* The Atlanta Campus of my Unnamed Southern Art School is tripling the size of the library due to the recent acquisition of an entire other, smaller Art School, including their library of 30K volumes. The Executive Librarian and I are going to check out the space, confer with colleagues and meet my Atlanta campus doppleganger.

Join the Dark Side: It May Save your Life

A report in New Scientist shows that the Goth Subculture may actually help kids who self harm or have suicidal thoughts:

Researchers at University of Glasgow found that while most self-harmers started the practice at age 12 to 13, they did not become goths until they were a couple of years older, on average.

“One common suggestion is they may be copying subcultural icons or peers [when they self-harm], but our study found that more young people reported self-harm before, rather than after, becoming a goth. This suggests that young people with a tendency to self-harm are attracted to the goth subculture,” says Robert Young, who led the study.

“Rather than posing a risk, it’s also possible that by belonging to the goth subculture, young people are gaining valuable social and emotional support from their peers.”

The tone is cautious, as befitting a scientific journal but it’s a little too over cautious in some respects, for obvious reasons. Quick on the heals of a study showing that prayer is a load of crap, we have one showing the dreaded Satanic Goth Subculture actually may provide a safer, supportive environment for sensitive kids. What next, a study showing masturbation is good for you?

This study comes as no surprise to me, The Goth subculture allows people with rarified interests to meet like-minded folk, in a non judgemental environment.* Goths are a fairly open minded bunch, and even if you’re one of those RPG playing social outcasts, we still tolerate you. We may not talk to you or invite you to the Marilyn Manson concert with us, but neither will we beat the crap out of you simply for being different.

Link via Boing Boing.

* My wife and I met at a Goth Night at a local gay club, so, it’s really a sub culture two-for-one. Who says the gays are undermining marriage?

Shootin’ Match

I don’t trust Dick Cheney, just on principal. I’m saying this up front so that there’s no mistake: I’m biased. Still, this whole story about Dick Cheney accidentally shooting Whittington while hunting caged Quail* smells like three day old fish. Now, according to Digby, alcohol may have been involved.

There’s a hole in this thing so big you could double park a pair of Hummers and still have enough room for a Chinese fire drill. We just aren’t being told all the details. And you know if this had been Al Gore back in the day, Bill O’Reilly would have already had an aneurism screaming for his crucifixion.

Saving us From Sneaker Bombs, Again


WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 (UPI) — President Bush said Thursday an al-Qaida’s plot to attack Los Angeles was thwarted in 2002 by multinational cooperation.

Bush, speaking at a National Guard Association event in Washington, said al-Qaida had planned to use Asian operatives who would hijack a commercial airliner and crash it into the then-named Library Towers in Los Angeles.

The attackers, he added, had planned to use shoe-bombs to force entry into locked airline cockpits.

“Their plot was derailed in early 2002, when a Southeast Asian nation arrested a key al-Qaida operative. Subsequent debriefings and other intelligence operations made clear the intended target and how al-Qaida hoped to execute it,” Bush said. “This critical intelligence helped other allies capture the ringleaders and other known operatives who had been recruited for this plot.”

Al Quieda gets their ideas from either Get Smart or the CIA. like there’s a difference, these days.

And you know this is the best they could come up with. They thwarted a shoe bomb plane hijacking. Great. So, what about the real threats? The mushroom cloud over New York? The nerve agent in the milk supply? Ninjas? Anything actually a real credible threat? No. Instead, they’re saving us from idiots recycling their own worst ideas from five years ago.

What does it say about an enemy that they are this behind on our own security measures? I think this Onion article was more on target than any briefing from the Pentagon.

And really, this is the enemy we face: the unimaginative and the desperate. Al Quieda and the Bush Administration apparently watch the same lame sixties super-spy movies, never realising they were comedies, not cool ideas no one would see coming.

They Make Food? The Cartoon Crusade

So, the Saudis are boycotting Danish food, and all because of a tasteless cartoon. I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that the Saudis are so thinned skinned, the Danes that desperate for attention or that I’ve inadvertently been boycotting Danish food for years and didn’t even know it. (Seriously, name me some Danish food. besides danish, which is French, I think… Do They make those little powdery cookies? Because I never liked them anyway. Kippers!…? Seriosuly, help me out here, what do the Danes eat, anyway?)


Milla and Bryan in comments have pointed out that, in fact the Danes make some rather fine cheese and sweets. I guess I should actually do a bit of research before I open my big mouth (and this has ever stopped me, when?)

Anyway, I was reading this Wikipedia article on the matter and have since changed my stance. I don’t think the cartoonists did anything wrong. the cartoons are, well, cartoonish. here’s the gist:

The publication of the cartoons has led to significant unrest around the world, particularly in Islamic countries, primarily because depictions of Muhammad are prohibited as a measure against idolatry (see aniconism in Islam), but also because of the perceived sterotyping of Arabs or Muslims.

The drawings, including a depiction of Muhammad with a bomb inside or under his turban, accompanied an article on self-censorship and freedom of speech. Flemming Rose, the cultural editor of Jyllands-Posten, commissioned twelve cartoonists for the project and published the cartoons to highlight the difficulty experienced by Danish writer K�re Bluitgen in finding artists to illustrate his children’s book about Muhammad. Cartoonists previously approached by Bluitgen were reportedly unwilling to work with him for fear of violent attacks by extremist Muslims.

Although Jyllands-Posten maintains that the drawings were an exercise in free speech, some contend that regardless of faith, the depiction of Muhammad as a terrorist is culturally offensive and blasphemous. However, many others view the cartoons as a form of non-violent protest in response to the violent threats and intimidation experienced by those who publicly criticise Islam.

Stereotypes are part of the cartoonist’s language. it presents an easily recognizable face on a complex idea. To take the representations literally… look, you know the old argument about figurative vs. nonfigurative work. Besides, the point the cartoonists were trying to make about censorship and extremism? A little on the nose. Probably too close to home.

And really, that’s what this is all about: Muslim fanatics; fanatics of any kind, don’t like to be made fun of. It takes the piss out of them and makes them look like fools. Fanatics hate to look like fools. You can’t burn down a Danish embassy in clown shoes and expect to be taken seriously. Likewise, you can’t put the Infidels to the sword and bring down the Evil Satan of the West when everyone knows you’re just a a bomb throwing kook with a head full of mumbo jumbo.

And truth be told, their kookiness, as is our own, is culturally ingrained. If they didn’t have the ban on depicting the prophet, they’d have had their Protestant revolution by now. Imagine if the catholic Church had the same restriction on depicting Jesus. Piss Christ would have set off a war, instead of just being a dirty, highbrow joke.