Thursday, 22 September 2011

More Goth myths: angsty journals

Lately I have been hearing more misconceptions about the Goth subculture; some funny, some worrying, some just plain daft. My next few 'Goth myths' posts will all be based on comments I have recently heard... wince, laugh, and shake your head sadly, my fellow Gothlings. Non-Goths, my message to you is basically this: Goths are normal. Yes, really.

MYTH: Goths want negative attention so that they can write bad poetry and complain about it in their diaries and on LiveJournal.
Perhaps this misconception came from Goths in their younger and possibly less self-aware days when angsty poetry about being 'outcast', 'tormented' and 'victimised' found it way onto the internet. And certainly, many of us may keep a personal journal or diary in which we express the occasional feelings of annoyance or irritation at how we are sometimes treated by non-Goths. But the vast majority of Goths are aware that a certain amount of attention and occasionally boorish behaviour from 'outsiders' comes with the territory - whilst we might roll our eyes and mutter to our dining companion when someone chooses to stare at us eating lunch in MacDonalds, on the whole Goths don't make a big deal about being stared at or pointed at because, duh, we look different. The staring isn't necessarily relished, but it is expected.

What we may feel the need to complain about on Twitter, LiveJournal, Blogger, etc., is larger incidents - the wholly unneccessary and sometimes cruel kind that sadly do happen more often than we in the Goth community would like, such as being pushed, spat at, tripped, having items thrown at us, and in more serious cases being hit, kicked, or beaten. When these things happen it is shocking and hurtful; if the same thing happened to a non-Goth, for example if they were hit by a bully, they would also be upset and might choose to tell friends online. Goths do the same; except we may go off on tangents about what is more often than not the reason for the action - prejudice against Goths or others who choose to dress differently. Which I feel is more than understandable.

We don't WANT to have things thrown at us, etc., so that we can feel all martyred and write poetry aboout it. You wouldn't want to have something thrown at you either. Goths don't feel like special little snowflakes when they receive this kind of attention - they feel exactly how anyone else would, namely hurt, upset and angry.

Linked to this is, as I have alluded to somewhere above, the notion that all Goths keep moody diaries, online or otherwise, written in blood and dripping in angst and bad poetry. And probably some of us do. I like to have a good whine in my journal from time to time. But having the occasional gloomy moan is by no means a 'Goth thing' - anyone who has a bad day and keeps a diary will probably feel justified in having a good cathartic rant. And I'm sure it goes without saying that keeping a gloom-and-doom-filled journal is not actually a requirement of membership of the Goth subculture.

Bad Goth poetry? This is a cliche that we're all aware of; those of us who do write poetry may well refer to it as 'bad Goth poetry', even if it happens to be pretty good, because it's become a bit of an in-joke. Some of us have a good time writing deliberately cheesy, overwrought poems to send up this stereotype and have a giggle, although we usually refrain from posting such online. And yes, when we were babybats, at one time or another most of us took ourselves too seriously and comprised odes of doom to be recited to our spooky friends in melancholy tones with hands stapled to our foreheads. Thankfully most Goths do grow up and develop a sense of humour about the 'whole Goth thing' and stop glowering at listeners who muffle giggles at the recitation of 'The Darkest Dark of the Dark Darkness'.

In short, if you happen to stumble across a Goth's blog or diary, unless said Goth is still in the overly-serious babybat phase, don't expect the blog to be all 'I wish I was a vampire, nobody understands me' woe and ramblings about blood and death and how everyone hates us because we're SO unique and different.


Laurence 'The Beard' Williams said...

I find this to be rather an annoying stereotype, although not altogether a bad thing. Goths are generally creative people and a diary or journal can be the ultimate creative outlet for random little scribblings and doodles. I'd be a liar if I said I'd never had one of these, and seriously, why not? Most of these hecklers couldn't write a decent piece of fiction if they tried. And then of course there's the patronisation. The usual 'Trying to write the next Dracula are we?' comments that make me want to throw my chai latte at them. But having said that, if the way I dress and the fact that I publicly write means I'm associated with authors such as Bram Stoker, then more cool points for me. And why waste a good drink on someone who's knowledge of gothic literature consists of one book that they know purely through Hollywood?

LadyFlaneur said...

"Some of us have a good time writing deliberately cheesy, overwrought poems to send up this stereotype and have a giggle" ...
I do

Le Professeur Gothique said...

hehehe ... gosh, if someone got ahold of my paper and pen journal they'd be bored to tears by my complaints about Grad School, immoveable grant boards, and general weirdness surrounding academia. And they would be utterly confused at the very detailed plans for my garden. hehehehe ... Seriously, I'm deliberating whether to cold frame this spring and what to put in said cold frame. Kale? Swiss Chard? *snicker* Kale can be "oh so dark and spooky." ;)

CNGB said...

This is random, but you might have a little bit of fun if you decide to write a post about it.

One day I was on Facebook's Goth page (which, by the way, has many many many many MANY mallgoths and babybats -- including myself -- and much elitism), when someone uploaded the picture that says "Goths: Don't always wear black; don't worship Satan; are NOT evil; do not want to kill people" and so on and so forth. There were a few comments on to this, and surprisingly all of which were negative, minus one or two.

There was one guy that said that he was NOT normal (and, believe it or not, I do consider him to be a "real" Goth, and not a babybat).

With that being said, some Goths may not want to be considered normal. After all there is this little picture that I've seen on the 'Net:

"What's this thing you call 'NORMAL'? Is it contagious?! OMG!!! Don't touch me! I might catch your 'NORMAL'!"

I'm not sure if that's worth a post or not, but I thought I'd point it out to you, in case youd' like it.

Again, sorry for being so random.

Ashlee said...

I don't do the angsty journal part, but I do write really bad poetry. Really bad, to reiterate.

As for a bad myth, though, it's not so bad. At least you can make it fun. Some of the others, though...

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