Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Why We Need Gothic Subculture.

I saw the documentary called "Metal: The Headbanger's Journey" this past weekend and it dawned on me that we as a society really need the dark subcultures. For that matter, we really need the fringe subcultures in general.

Contrary to what most people (parents/adults) think, it is really important to be part of something even if it seems violent and revolting. Being part of a subculture like punk/goth/metal/whatever makes it OK for disenfranchised kids to be different. In fact to some degree these subcultures encourage it.

Like processed food, Bush's 'No child left behind' program narrowed down learning into a rigid diet of generic education that churned out grades as a measure of success. This came at the expense of physical education and arts, in turn robbing kids of their chance for self expression and self confidence. So what happens if you don't fit into the narrow window of acceptability? Well, you are pretty much fucked. Fucked unless of course you have some group to be accepted by. When that group is goth/punk/whatever, you've got some form of creative release to your angst and a tribe to call your own. Without a tribe to call their own, kids have cults, predators, drugs, booze and real violence to cling on to and angry parents & intolerant peers to push them into it.

This fellow named Michael Patrick MacDonald has a book out called Easter Rising that details how he escaped a pretty miserable existence using punk rock to channel his angst that makes my point as well. Newsweek has a good article here.

He says something poignant in this article:

"So many people assume with these musical subcultures that it's about finding a place where you belong. But for me it was about finding a place where I didn't have to belong." It was the first time in his life that it was OK to be weird.

If you have kids, check out the documentary and read the book or at least the article and think about it for a bit.

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