Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dare to be different?

It's never been a huge amount of fun to dare to be different from the norm. While some people might be fascinated by skinny boys with earrings and makeup, others would rather kill what they don't understand, much as they would a spider or a snake.

So when kids get killed in Arkansas, in the Deep South of the United States, who better to blame it on than the loner kids who dress in black, listen to Metallica, and "worship" Satan? We all know the story of the West Memphis 3.

Or, putting the boot on the other foot, maybe we should think about the ongoing case against the five "children" in Bacup, Lancashire, who kicked and stamped Sophie Lancaster to death and left her boyfriend Robert Maltby in a coma (though he has since come out of it) because they dressed like goths. No other reason. Her face was stamped so forcefully that it bore footprints, and her gender was indiscernible from her face to the first paramedics to arrive.

What is the message here? Dress differently, buck the norm, and you will either be kicked to death or spend your life in prison probably wrongly accused.

As a young man in the late '80s and early '90s, I occasionally had to leave places pretty swiftly for fear of a kicking when wearing kilts and heavy makeup. I've been punched, kicked, or verbally abused at random for the look I was sporting at the time. Fortunately nothing more than that. I wanted to think that things might get better for people who dared to be different. Seems I was lucky to be born when I was. Who'd want to be an emo kid or goth these days? Dare to be different? Good luck to you.

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12 Comments:

Blogger furiousBall said...

this is very sad. the weird folk give us so many great things - kurt cobain, albert einstein, john lennon, oscar wilde, davinci, cookie monster... all weird and great

12 March, 2008 17:06  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

so sad :(

guess it depends where you live, too. we've got loads of skinny, pierced, goth kids here in dfw... and no one seems to bother them.

12 March, 2008 18:46  
Blogger cappy. said...

as a skinhead (as apposed to someone with a shaven head) i must agree that the basic conception people have of certain types of society are totally at odds with reality.
someone is seen to be different, and thats bad?
why?
self expression is a wonderful thing.
i'll stop now, this is far too early for me to be serious!

i'll leave you with the words of james michael cooper.

"well that isn't it, is it? i don't wanna be the same as everybody else, thats why i'm a mod see. i mean, you gotta be sombody ain't ya? or you might as well jump in the sea and drown"

13 March, 2008 09:04  
Blogger Kate said...

"Seems I was lucky to be born when I was."

I agree - when I was teenager there didn't seem to be this kind of vehement hatred of anyone different. In fact, the different 'clans' seem to be united in a dislike and avoidance of the trendy casual types who looked smart, but were notorious trouble makers. It's such a shame that over the last decade or so, it has become socially acceptable to deride anyone who is a little bit different.

13 March, 2008 11:16  
Blogger tweetey30 said...

You know Jeff is different and he is afraid to go out like he likes to go around at home. For one thing he would lose his job if he went to work like he likes to be.

I am not saying he does this specifically but what about people that like to do there hands and toes. I mean nail polish. I know some very interesting people that do the black and light silvers and such. I dont see anything wrong with it. So this doesnt suprise me one bit. Its sad that it went that far but come on.

Poor kids. I mean kids walk around in trench coats now adays and they think this kid is doing drugs or some other means of being up to no good. Those poor families losing such a young daughter.

13 March, 2008 17:09  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

This is very sad...especially considering that goth or punk isn't even remotely "alternative" anymore.

I think you're right that it has to do with the idea of "being different" .

Adults and parents try to control their children and teach and raise them to fit into society...and when they are so controlling thisis the backlash...those children then...like their parents...judge others who are different sounding or looking...or someone listens to different music.

Yep...this is what compartmentalizing, polarizing and hating looks like.

I hope their parents are proud of the great conditioning and brain washing job they did on their kids...

Ype...I always blame the parents...

13 March, 2008 17:29  
Anonymous Franki said...

Wowsa, the goth kids hang out in groups here, trying their damndest to look like individuals. They kinda look like flock of crows sometimes.

How sad that people feel the need to destroy things they feel are different.

13 March, 2008 17:40  
Blogger martinobhoy said...

We seem to be okay in Edinburgh in terms of tolerance.

One of our main theatres is right next to the biggest gay bar in the city. A few months ago the Ladyboys of Bangkok launched their tour at the bar and on a Saturday afternoon you had the amazing sight of 6 foot tall transvestites mixing with old ladies queueing up for the matinee of something like Oaklahoma at the theatre. I wished I'd had a camera!

If you want to relive your younger days of kilts and make-up I'm sure you'd be welcome here.

13 March, 2008 19:18  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Yeah, that case in Lancashire is shocking. Mind you, I don't know if it's the media skewing the situation or not, but it seems as if there are an awful lot of murderous teens about these days.

Something appears to have gone very wrong with the way we raise children...

Puss

14 March, 2008 10:54  
Blogger FOUR DINNERS said...

My mohawk and punk gear was fine down south but on visiting the north I had plenty of punch ups just cause of my 'look'.

Mind you they got a surprise when they ended up on their backs! ;-)

15 March, 2008 17:34  
Blogger lightupvirginmary said...

I was so shocked and heartbroken by that story... I saw many male friends beaten up on the streets of Northampton when I was a 'greebo' but the thought of them kicking that girl to death... I actually considered stopping reading the papers after I read that because it just seemed too much to bear.

15 March, 2008 20:03  
Blogger Judith said...

Iam a bit old school goth, dress in black all the time,piercings, boots ,black clothes, violet hair etc even as a mum of two I refuse to be a sheep and conform just because of some dress code society dictates - Ive come under fire in public but I dont give a highlanders shite what people think of me. As for those kids being goths and emos nowdays even if they are not so original I admire them for being different and swimming against the stream. As for the Memphis 3 dont get me started on that travesty of justice!

17 March, 2008 13:54  

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