Subculture responds to ‘Goth Loner’ accusation over Adam Lanza tragedy

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The Mail on Sunday’s front page from 16th December 2012

There are three factors which define my response this story. I am a human being, a Goth, and a Journalist.
As a human being, I abhor and reject the horrific violence committed in Newton, Connecticut. As a Goth, I abhor and reject any association with my subculture, and fear the demonizing effect of headlines like this. As a journalist, I abhor and reject the kind of ‘journalism’ that has led the Daily Mail to such knee-jerk reactionary headline writing. The Goth tag has been attached to this story because of the following quote:

Catherine Urso, who was attending a vigil Friday evening in Newtown said her college-age son knew the killer and remembered him for his alternative style.

‘He just said he was very thin, very remote and was one of the goths,’ she said.

A second-hand recollection from someone not even involved. The implication is that the world is struggling to try and understand what could motivate such a crime, and the Daily Mail – with characteristic unfeeling insensitivity – has chosen a marginalized and misunderstood group to ‘take the blame’. Ironically, the Mail has previously written about attacks on Goths in a supportive light, especially the tragic case of Sophie Lancaster who was killed in an unprovoked assault in 2007. Since then her mother and others have worked tirelessly to promote diversity and tolerance; the S.O.P.H.I.E. charity released a statement in response on Sunday:

The demonisation of subcultures, in this case goth/gamer/alternative does nothing to help anyone understand why Adam Lanza woke up on Thursday and killed 20 people including his own Mother. Our frustration at this lazy journalism, where they are quoting distraught ex pupils and neighbours because they have no facts is made worse by the fact that the readers of the articles may well believe what they see and not challenge it, leading to yet more prejudice and fear.

ImageCrucially, the Daily Mail failed to interview any representatives from the Goth subculture about their reactions. All responses, including what you are reading now, have been self-motivated – because for some reason, the majority of the mainstream media of the United Kingdom and the United States will not give us a voice. Notable exceptions exist amongst unbiased, regional media but the large part the Goth culture is sorely unrepresented in the press. When we are portrayed, observes Dr Catherine Spooner of Lancaster University (author of several social studies of the Goth culture), it is through a veil of journalistic interpretation.

‘Goth’ is sometimes used in high school slang as an insult or as shorthand for kids perceived as outsiders or weirdos, regardless of whether or not they self-identify as Goths or have any affiliations with the Goth scene. By labelling Lanza as a Goth on the basis of hearsay, apparently objective journalism ‘fixes’ this loose, slang use of the term, converting it into a firm evocation of a specific subculture and identity.
Many readers will not discern that this process of fixing has taken place, and therefore this loose term takes on the status of ‘official’ knowledge: Lanza was a Goth and Goths are weirdos and outsiders.
It goes without saying that the evidence for the former is flimsy and the latter becomes self-fulfilling for those doing the labelling. This may seem a minor detail beside the larger fact of the tragedy. But scapegoating Goths is not going to help matters and may, in fact, cause further harm.

This view is concurred by Dr Paul Hodkinson of Surrey University – another social scientist – who expands on the newspaper relationship with theImage Goth Culture.

Newspapers like to develop familiar stories with familiar characters and will sometimes filter the information available in order to do so. So the reason they have picked up on use of the word ‘goth’ here is that, for them, it acts as the perfect narrative device to render the killer as deviant, different, other – external to normal society and not one of ‘us’ – and imagined ‘normal society’.

Paradoxically, however, the reference to things like goth may also serve to enable the development of a different angle of engagement, based on engaging the fears of parents  and others over the possible links between dark subcultures their own children may have contact with and this sort of violence.

In our discussion, I asked Dr Hodkinson if he could expand on this ‘different angle’, in terms of the fears being developed by parents of Goths now faced with the possibility of association between this crime, and their own children. He responded:

…there is  little evidence of any link to the goth scene and, even if there were, there’s certainly no evidence that the goth scene would encourage anyone to behave in such a way. In this article the term goth really has been put into the headline here purely as a means of drawing in more readers for the reasons I previously gave. They don’t even purport to be presenting a serious article about the dangers of the goth scene – they’ve just mentioned the term because it embellishes the profile and makes good copy.

Overall, it seems clear that the labelling of him as a goth is based on minimal evidence. More importantly, the issue of whether he identified as a goth, a gamer, a nerd or anything similar is almost certainly irrelevant to determining the cause of the horrible events that took place.

I questioned Dr Hodkinson’s conviction that, in the face of the beliefs broadcast by the Daily Mail, The Sun and the FOX Network, any motivation for Lanza’s murder-spree could not include his subcultural associations.

I think what I’d briefly say is that there is no evidence that they have a negative influence of the kind discussed. Millions of people are goths, gamers, ‘geeks’ etc across the world. Aside from anecdotal speculation in relation to the occasional isolated incident such as this, I’m not aware of any evidence that, amongst these millions of people, there is any substantial problem with violence. In the case of goths, evidence points towards an emphasis in the values of the group towards non-violence and, as I’m sure you know, goths are much more likely to be the subject of violent attack than the perpetrators of violence.

ImageAs mentioned above this has been the case, with the stories of assaults on Goths as reported by both the Daily Mail and The Sun. This time however, the reporting of these two papers has been met with disbelief, sadness and hostility by the culture. Well-known DJ and promoter Martin ‘Oldgoth’ Coles responded:

One passing comment about him being a loner ‘like the goths’, has been seized upon and used, in my opinion, maliciously by two of the UK biggest ‘news’ papers (The Sun and Mail) purely in order to create a shock headline.

Martin observes some of the underlying issues that have surrounded other tragic shootings which have lacked any ‘Goth’ angle.

If you read about his background, and in particular his day to day behaviour it just points to the fact that what the US [needs] is not only tighter gun control – to prevent things like assault rifles being obtained so easily (who really needs one to ‘defend’ themselves or their property?) – but better mental health care. I firmly believe that had this guy been given proper treatment then this would never have happened, and it helps to highlight that so people get the help they need.

He firmly believes that the media’s performance is crucial to understanding crimes like these.

The media has fueled this kind of thing, 100%, and I feel is totally to blame for sensationalising the idea that doing this will have you going out in a ‘blaze of glory’, with all the worldwide fame that comes with it.

Concluding firmly, Martin states:

This guy did not attack anyone because of the music he listened to, he resorted to murder as never got the help he needed and had easy access to lethal weapons in a world where violence of this kind makes you famous, gets you noticed in a world that I’m sure he thought didn’t care.

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I also e-mailed Rosie Garland, better known as Rosie Lugosi – singer with legendary Eighties dark rock band The March Violets, as well as an award-winning poet, author, and sought-after compère. Her prompt response to my questions about her feelings on the reporting simply said:

So – the Leveson Enquiry into improving press standards is clearly having a massive effect on the tabloids.

The Goth community online has united to condemn the portrayal of the culture by headlines like this. The quotes used above were taken from responses gained within hours of publication by the Daily Mail and other outlets, none of whom had researched the scene or interviewed any relevant commentators. An e-mail to the Daily Mail asking for comment to be used in this article remains unanswered after a day, in comparison. Should a response be received, this article will be updated accordingly.

The Goth culture so rarely hits the headlines for the best reasons. In this case, blame has been laid at a subculture’s door when no proof has been obtained – an act that goes beyond ‘lazy’ journalism and into the realms of downright dangerous.

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97 Responses to Subculture responds to ‘Goth Loner’ accusation over Adam Lanza tragedy

  1. Terry Hardy says:

    Strange how twice a year thousands of us go to Whitby and not a single act of violence has been reported as being committed by one of us

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  2. The Goths were blamed for Columbine too, but Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold weren’t even a part of the culture. And Goths are peaceful; sure they are a little darker than the average person, and they like the color black, but that doesn’t mean they fantasize on murder or death. They just like the darker side of things.
    I think if you’re going to accuse Goths of being evil, then you might as well say the Addams Family are evil, and they definitely are a form of Goth, but certainly not evil or dangerous.

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    • sittingpugs says:

      They just like the darker side of things.
      And liking the dark side of life does not mean one possesses a fondness for inhumanity or cruelty.

      I think if you’re going to accuse Goths of being evil, then you might as well say the Addams Family are evil, and they definitely are a form of Goth, but certainly not evil or dangerous.

      Exactly. Would the media or general public be so inclined to believe that certain literary and pop-cultural tastes = bad behavior, malicious intent if an offender’s room and online activity indicated an obsession with Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Shirley Temple, a raw vegan diet, and Burger King whoppers?

      Would people start suspecting every Jane Austen fan of being up to no good? Or, in hindsight, interpret a classmate’s quiet disposition and non-social behavior as an indication of silent, murderous scheming? Probably not…but then again, who knows. If the media were hungering for a new criminally inclined persona, a die-hard Jane Austen might just be the ticket.

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  3. Ashana M says:

    It is common for people to try to locate violence as outside the bounds or capability of those in mainstream society–as if it is something only marginalized or deviant individuals can do. It is hard to face the capacity for destruction of those in our very midst. The fact is a “Goth” could commit mass murder. Someone from any group can. But that is what is so hard to face.

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  4. TJ Johnston says:

    Angle on easy access to semi-automatic weapons or underlying mental health concerns? Naw, that’s too hard. Easier to exploit the dark image of goths. Why am I still shocked by this narrative?

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  5. The media also tried to slap a clumsy diagnosis of ‘autism’ on Lanza. Which is an insult to Autistic Goths everywhere 😡 According to the media all Goths and Autistics will grow up to be mass murderers. So will all men, everyone with dark hair and everyone with ten toes!!

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  6. TBG: Liberty means that you have a right to be weird, that is, yourself, within reasonable bounds. harassment and violence are out-of-bounds; expressing the intense emotional adjustments and discoveries of adolescence is within bounds–if it’s done peacefully and with respect for the feelings of others. RT

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  7. ocnlvr83 says:

    My mom said the same thing, and it got me really annoyed. I knew a few Goth people in high school, and they were perfectly normal people without any violent thoughts whatsoever. It’s really sad when a group of peaceful people are accused of negativity when something tragic happens.

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  8. Grumpa Joe says:

    Thanks for introducing me too a culture which is totally foreign to me.

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  9. Mac says:

    Fabulous response to the ever-present idiocy assailing our subculture. I haven’t been very active in the Scene since Convergence 10, but I still watch and admire from the sidelines. It breaks my heart that ignorance still runs rampant through society, with regards to us and their misunderstanding of our adoration for the macabre and shadows. We do not relish death and violence, nor the perpetuation of it. You’d think after 30+ years, the straights would figure this out.

    Like

  10. jkayre says:

    Really interesting blog which approaches a subculture which is regularly misrepresented in the media! Gave me a fresh perspective on the issue

    Like

  11. adamw2102 says:

    what do you expect from the Daily Mail. people want someone to blame and its the alternative subcultures that make easy targets. Goths, metalheads etc are always getting described as outsiders or weirdos but in reality they’re probably the nicest community and type of people around. just because we dress ‘scary’ or listen to ‘angry’ music doesn’t mean we’re not good people and certainly doesn’t make us more likely to commit horrid acts of violence like this case and columbine.

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  12. Hala J. says:

    Kimveer Gill, the man who shot up Dawson College in Montreal in 2006 (I graduated from there) was also labeled as a Goth, and it became public knowledge as if it was something important. His (rather disturbing) profile on Vampire Freaks became widespread, and for a while the site had to have a disclaimer saying they didn’t condone his behavior because the site got a crazy amount of hits and probably more than a few haters. Kimveer Gill was probably Goth’ish, but even then a lot of Goths had to work to distance themselves from him because they lumped him with them. I don’t know what it is about this subculture but God knows I’ve never looked at a Goth and said, “Future mass murderer”. I wish people would look up all the facts and just report them instead of resorting to trying to piece together some kind of “background” for people to “relate” to. Mental illness and subcultures shouldn’t be thrown about just to get people to read. People get stigmatized because of it, and it’s not fair and I’d go so far as to say it’s unethical. Sensationalist media needs to be reined in, and fast.

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  13. It's only P! says:

    When readers see that ‘the goth’ is blamed for the atrocity, this sounds so much better than calling him a psychotic. It makes readers cringe triply, just what journalists aim for. And when it comes to Martin, who states ‘… in a world that I’m sure he thought didn’t care.’:

    Can anyone fathom this young man? Could laymen understand psychotic, sociopathic or psychopathic behaviour? It is alleged that he suffered from Asperger’s too. My oh my, as long as the beast has a name. Why not plain stark raving mad?

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  14. Beautiful blog. I think you hit the nail on the head – it is much easier to blame something that stands out rather than looking at what it is standing out from. When a society demands absolute conformity and encourages the belief that it is right to use violence against another human being to defend yourself, standing out can be dangerous.

    Violence and conformity are the evils of all regimes in speculative fiction, all of which ask us to consider what means to be human. Winston, in Orwell’s 1984, dares to be different, even by the smallest of degrees, dares to find meaning for his own individual life. He is hunted down and killed. In Bladerunner, the replicant comes to seek “more life”, because he values it for it’s own sake. He is hunted down and killed. In Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, the father, despite being on the run from fellow humans who would kill him for his meat, tries to provide for his son a world that is not focused on violence and that will allow the boy to be human rather than like the inhumane that hunt them.

    Rather than examining the values of society that accepts and promotes violence, one boy’s very bad decision making is examined. Rather than examining the pathology of his decision making process, his fashion decisions are examined and pronounced to be the cause of a crime in a society that values weapons as a personal accessory and conformity as a societal necessity.

    Like Macbeth, this story is the Tragedy of Adam. And instead of witches predicting the future, there are policies that predicted Adam’s future. Mental health policies. Arms policies. And instead of unchecked ambition leading Macbeth down his tragic road, it is unromantic mental illnesses and the slew of difficulties that comes with them that could be responsible for leading Adam down this terrible road.

    Thank you for our post.

    Like

  15. jen forbes says:

    I’m not a goth, just over fifty woman with grown kids, grand-kids. What I think the press did with the goth thing and with the autism thing is just throwing shit out there to see if it sticks. Firstly they do it because if it’s a subculture or a disability and they can more than likely “get away” with it with out to much blow back.

    Secondly they are partly in touch with what their audience wants in that we as humans we want the answer as to why such a horrendous and unspeakable thing occurred. Not surprisingly however in this society that means someone is pointing the finger at someone else 24/7. Used to be that the press provided us with news not fairy tales …shame on them.

    Like

  16. mcgeeles says:

    It is so easy to categorize someone as a way to assign blame. Imagine if Lanza was Muslim?!

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  17. segmation says:

    I wish they never mentioned Adam Lanza’s name! Thanks for your post.

    Like

  18. Kristina says:

    As soon as I originally read the comment you referenced, I cringed. How sad that people need to stereotype to cope. As I have watched the circus over the past week, I have been reminded that sometimes, even when there is great information out there (such as your post), you can’t argue with stupidity.

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  19. heididmedina says:

    People fear what they don’t understand, so in times such as these, they pick the easiest target and go for it rather than listening to the real facts. Someone who can walk into a school and kill small children is not sane and should have had lots of mental help. Unfortunately people like that exist in every culture around the world. It is not related to a single group of people, instead it’s individuals or groups of like minded people, but never the norm. It’s so wrong to attach that stigma to any group just because of fear. It’s just the sad reality of how our world works. It’s also one that I wish would change.

    Like

  20. javaj240 says:

    From what I’ve read about this kid he was no more a Goth than I am. (For the record, I am a middle aged white woman from New Jersey; aside from the fact that I wear a lot of black— for the purposes of looking slimmer— no one would ever mistake me for a Goth.)

    From the (very little) evidence we have been given about his behavior (mostly from those who went to school with him) it would not surprise me if we were to come to find out that he was or should have been classified in some way. The picture that is emerging is that he was socially awkward. Does social awkwardness make one a Goth? Anyone I have ever known (and, yes, I knew a few back in the day— all nice folks) who has identified with the Goth subculture has had a rich social life.

    If I were a Goth I would be pretty angry, as you are, that the media, in searching for some way to explain this kid has chosen to pigeonhole him as a Goth. It’s neither accurate nor fair.

    Great post!

    Like

  21. Juliette says:

    Great post. Thank you for being the voice of truth, common sense and reason.

    Like

  22. debramieth says:

    Reading the reports, it seems to me the only thing that differentiates Adam from any normal teenager is the hearsay about him, none of which would be permissable in a court. But it muddies the waters when journalists start reporting or making it up: how do we know which is true? There are no names cited. The latest report I read today could even make homeschoolers look bad because he was one.
    Exactly the same sort of thing happened to us here in Australia in 1996 when our mass shooting occurred at Port Arthur in Tasmania. A connection (Connecticut) is noted by the fact our ‘shooter’ was also from a place called Newtown. It was later found (by independent investigators and victims) the man, Martin, now in prison for the rest of his life for this shooting, did not do it. He was a patsy. We believe he was supposed to die when police set fire to the guesthouse in which he was said to have holed up with dead hostages overnight. But the fire woke him from his drugged stupor and he came running out. With government approval, no inquest was ever held, nor was he allowed a trial. He was quickly put away. Now no one is allowed to even visit to him except his mum.
    You will probably find the same with this shooting, that the alleged shooter is as much a victim as the others. Intesting how there are no witnesses. The Goth, autism picture is just to make him look ‘weird’. Martin was painted as ‘weird’ too. The goal? To rid us of our guns. I myself hate guns and violence, BUT, the goal was reached here in Australia.

    Like

  23. johnlmalone says:

    I am not a Goth but I enjoyed your article; here in Australia we heard nothing about this goth link unless I missed it; I abhor like you sloppy journalism which conflates one thing — gothism — with another — mass murder, and the consequent prejudice it engenders

    Like

  24. paulvinten says:

    I must have been living under a rock as I had no idea these headlines were ever written.

    This wreaks of UK tabloids looking to sell apers through shock regardless of the truth of the facts at hand. Whether this guy was Gother/Alternative/punk/metaller/indie kid/whatever i don’t believe for one second that his taste in culture had any influence on the atrocities he commied. I just pray that the UK readers don’t pin yet more prejudice against an already misunderstood community.

    Like

  25. Amy Pond says:

    When I was an awkward, lonely teenager I knew quite a lot of people who were goths. The irony is that, in my experience, they were actually a lot more accepting, tolerant, and friendly than most people.

    Another thing that keeps getting mentioned is that the shooter apparently had Asperger’s Syndrome as though there’s some kind of correlation between Asperger’s Syndrome and being someone who shoots people (which obviously there isn’t), which I think is also an extremely bad thing – like goths, people with Asperger’s get enough of a bad time from others without those kind of connotations.

    Like

  26. Rachel Louise Jones says:

    As a goth myself, I find it ever so sad (although in no way surprising) that the Daily Mail has resorted to such lazy stereotyping without even any concrete evidence. As always, the tabloids aim to be just as disgraceful and distasteful as the very criminals they’re reporting about.

    Like

  27. It’s just a money machine…..people who actually buy that trash are only supporting it. MOST intelligent, fairly well educated people don’t believe a word of such garbage “journalism” headlines. I am sorry your culture group got dragged into it and support your efforts to stand against them.
    Not that it changes anything but while reading your post my memories went (showing my age here) to the late 60’s through the 70’s when Hippies were called “Freaks” and Bikers were “dangerous”. Today, most of those “Hippies” are leading major corporations, with large incomes, homes, fancy cars and every material thing they fought against in their youth. Those “Bikers” are still Bikers, but they ride expensive Harley’s now, work everyday, gather to volunteer to worthy causes such as giving Toy’s to poor kids at Christmas. A large number of them take the time to become part of the Patriot Guard which is a group that protects the families of fallen soldiers at Funerals. AND they were there for Sandy Hook funerals too.
    The last thing that should be talked about is this asshole that took out 20 little kids and 6 adult women in the context of “going out in a blaze of glory”. There’s no glory in such a hideous act. The focus, in my opinion, should be on just the opposite: what an asshole he was. Goth? Autistic? Loner? Everyone wants a label so they have something to blame. That headline sold papers. Now your job as a journalist is to fight back. Again, I am sorry that “Goth” got dragged into this.

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  28. DrFrood says:

    I noted The Mail’s opinions with dismay and a lack of surprise.

    Whenever shocking tragedies occur, there’s a natural instinct to seek an explanation, however spurious or wilfully blind. Unfortunately there’s always some groups and individuals willing to feed that instinct, usually by finding a disparate group of individuals or ethereal cultural idiom (action movies and rock music have been scapegoated) that can’t fight back.

    Controversy sells papers, and simple answers are easier to swallow than more complex ones.

    After Columbine there were plenty of people lining up to blame Marilyn Manson, after the UK riots a couple of summers back the Conservatives blamed it on a lack of family values or criminality pure and simple (as though any attempt to understand the phenomenon was tantamount to justifying it), the left blamed it on the government’s economic policies and divide and rule tactics (as though people who, let’s not sugarcoat it, engaged in criminal damage and looting and terrorised whole communities couldn’t bear responsibility for their own actions). Both missed the point.

    Maybe seeking a one size fits all explanation itself misses the point.

    I don’t know what the solution is/are for what is fast becoming a perrenial problem in the States, but I’m pretty certain that calling it a shame and then pointing the finger at weirdos, loners and videogames isn’t it.

    Like

  29. Karen says:

    Well done. “Lazy” journalism & irresponsible, sensationalistic reports & reporters who interview 8-yr old children who’ve just come from a fatal & horrific scene where classmates have been slaughtered & ask “how do you feel” are indeed dangerous, not to mention shameless.

    Like

  30. Guls says:

    Same old, same old: hippies, punks, feminists, gays, ravers, metalheads, emos, goths, yada yada – easier to locate fault in a minority group than to take a step back and see what’s wrong with the big picture. Sophie Lancaster has already been mentioned – an example of the very real consequences of stigmatizing people for a lifestyle choice. Can you imagine a headline ‘Revenge of the loner Jew’, or ‘…loner Gay’ the Mail would be sued for using hate-speech, even inciting violence, and rightly so.

    Never been a Goth per-se, but enjoyed much of the music: Nephs at the T&C on the Elizium tour one of my fave gigs ever; though they were pretty good supporting The Mish last year at Brixton too. Never felt the urge to kill myself or anyone else after listening to any of the records I must say; well except for Joy Division but there’s such a thing as a stop button, ain’t there 😉

    Good post, well-reasoned and supported with actual evidence: the tabloids could learn a thing or two. Take care,

    Andy.

    Like

  31. Guls says:

    Reblogged this on musicbugsandgender and commented:
    As an avid music fan, I depise the lazy – and damaging – stereotypes often foisted upon fans of various scenes by a ‘straight’ society that too frequently jumps of its own shadow. Question the motives and tactics of the NRA, examine attitudes towards mental health by all means; but lets quit trying to pin the blame on pop records. The Beatles, Judas Priest, Ozzy, Acid House, Marilyn Manson… Have we not learned yet?

    Like

  32. Pingback: Interesting Article_”Subculture responds to ‘Goth Loner’ accusation over Adam Lanza tragedy « Trerus

  33. wheresmykid says:

    An adage my old mum taught me well: Never judge a book by its cover.

    Too bad journalism has digressed into story narrative. When it comes to news, I don’t want a crafted tale, I want facts and only facts. I’ll process the information and think for myself. Where’s the critical thinking in this case? It boggles the mind.

    Like

  34. The tragedy is in humanity’s need to label and thereby condemn what does not conform to its comfort zone; the crime is the media that perpetrates, facilitates, and fans such mentality. Excellent post.

    Like

  35. this sort of irresponsible repoting/generalizing was behind the fraudulent conviction of the West Memphis Three, as well. Though it’s natural to wish to ‘understand’ tragedies like this, labeling the perpetrators won’t help us understand or prevent it.

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  36. Pingback: Subculture responds to ‘Goth Loner’ accusation over Adam Lanza tragedy | The Geeky Black Chick

  37. Reblogged this on Smart Brown Girl and commented:
    Goths Speak Out

    Like

  38. ravensmarch says:

    I’m not a Goth myself, but I’d rather find myself in an ill-lit parkade with a bunch of Goths than just about any other identifiable subset of modern culture. My initial reaction to the sort of headline you point out here is, and hopefully always will be, “Hogwash.”

    Like

    • Tara Fly says:

      I agree with you…. I would feel 10x safer in the company of quiet, laid-back Goths, than trapped in the same space with a group of jocks pumped up with alcohol and steriods.

      If there happened to be a stockpile of guns lying on the coffee table, I doubt the Goths would pay much notice. 😉

      Like

  39. Newspapers like to stick labels on people so they can categorise them, even if the killers are indiviuals

    I’ll say a prayer for the victims of the killer.and their families. God bless them.

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  40. cyrusiznibz says:

    When did the word ‘Goths’ start being used to mean anything other than an ancient tribe like the Huns and similar? How does that relate to the Gothic style of cathedral architecture? I’m confused.

    Like

    • Mac says:

      It refers to a subculture that bears an admiration of the Gothic Art and Architectural style, as well as the Gothic / Gothic-Romance period style writings and period clothing and attitudes (decadent, more or less). The subculture has no bearing on the Germanic/Scandzan tribes of Ostrogoth, Visigoth, Vagoth, or any of the smaller sects.

      Like

  41. In my opinion, which probably isn’t worth much, I am really tired of the media always looking for an easy excuse. It’s much easier to blame some group that doesn’t conform to the “normal”, whatever that is, than it is to put the blame where it belongs. On the shoulders of the person who picked up the gun and used it to kill others. It doesn’t matter if he wore black, played violent video games, listened to music, or any other thing, the fact is he made the choice to use that gun.
    I am not a goth, have met a few but when I was in school goth wasn’t heard of yet, we had hippies. I wasn’t one of those either. Although I think I might have been a goth if they had been around way back then. I hated wearing, doing, being the same as everyone else. Luckily my family just thought I was an individual, a bit strange, but an individual, later they started attributing my uniqueness to being artistic.
    No one can be an individual anymore, the world wants everyone and everything neatly labeled and mass produced. If you stand out in any way someone is going to “label” you a loner, strange, goth, or whatever. Where once they were thought of as unique individuals now they have to fit into some category. It is so much easier to blame everything that is wrong on some subculture or group than to search for the truth.
    The media here in the states messed up big on this one. Jumping to conclusions without any facts to support them.
    As a writer I am really beginning to wonder how are we to teach children the difference between fiction and nonfiction when all the news media in the world publish fiction as facts.

    Like

  42. theuglyharvest says:

    It’s a lot easier to scapegoat a minority than to actually put in the grueling and introspective research required to get to the bottom of a given issue, especially when the results – if you were to put the effort in – might not reflect well on you whatsoever.

    Like

  43. aapatawaran says:

    I’m from half a world away but the profile I’ve read of Adam Lanza gave me the impression that he might have felt so alone but also “afraid” of others. While I did see him as a “loner,” I did not conclude, based on my readings, that he was part of any culture or subculture or even the world and his family. I do see that the Goths should speak up, but an alternative lifestyle is a choice. Adam Lanza, seeing that he was crazy enough to shoot his mother in the head more than enough times and 20 random children afterward, didn’t have any.

    Like

  44. elliotclaire says:

    Enlightening post, thank you for sharing this valuable information. Now the world will hopefully better understand the Gothic lifestyle and stop the prejudice. I also wish for the media to be more mature and responsible and stop focusing on sensation instead of factual reporting.

    Like

  45. S.C. says:

    Bad, lazy journalists always want to take the easy way out. And the easiest way out is always to stereotype the killer as some weirdo member of a subculture. To be honest, if Adam Lanza hadn’t been white, they would have talked about his race instead. If he’d been black or latino, they wouldn’t be resorting to the subculture stereotype – I’m sure they’d just say “well, it figures.” Of course, if he were Muslim, he’d be a terrorist.

    These people aren’t real journalists, and in my mind they barely qualify as human beings. You need a base level of respect for your fellow humans that these people clearly don’t have.

    Like

  46. Coming from Nazi supporting Daily Hate I shouldnt be too bothered. It’s readership already have pre-formed bigotted ideas and their brains only function on key buzzwords. The thing that stuck out for me in this case were the ‘hours playing Call of Duty’ not his choice of subculture. It’s a matter of ‘you are what you eat’ so to speak. The culture is based on violent killing. America goes into gun law debate overdrive and yet it fails to question it’s pride in sending drones and seals into sovereign states and shooting the shit out of hundreds of thousands of ‘ragheads’ to secure their business interests. Yee-haaaargh

    Like

  47. I really don’t know what the goth subculture consists of, but your argument is the same I made to people I knew about the use of “depressed” and “autistic” in other reports. Labeling people like Adam Lanza as gothic, autistic, depressed, or whatever other buzzword sounds like it might stick does nothing to explain why he did what he did, and it only hurts the actual people represented by those words.

    Like

  48. Tebz says:

    After reading this blog, I’m gonna read more on goth culture. Evidently you’re misunderstood and misrepresented because of lack of knowledge.

    Like

  49. Patti Kuche says:

    That’s the Daily Smell for you . . . .

    Like

  50. Will says:

    I was part of the alternative culture, now labeled as Goth, back in the Eighties, and the media’s willingness to assign blame to anyone who isn’t ‘normal’ was the same back then.

    Sometime around 86 or 87, a local graffiti artist created an incredible mural in homage to his favorite band, Christian Death, and the local media jumped in with their typical laziness. They ran stories about how someone was declaring war on Christians, without ever doing any fact checking. The story quickly disappeared when some alerted them to the facts, but no retractions were forthcoming. Instead they did stories on ‘Those kids that wear black and listen to depressing music,’ never once talking to any of us in the scene.

    As mentioned in the previous comments, this is an all too common practice by the press. Here in Denver, we are all too familiar with the atrocities and blame game, the same talk surrounded Columbine, and was the early readily available subject after the Aurora shootings. The media will never learn, and until people stop buying/listening/reading that particular brand of sloppy, inaccurate news, it will continue for the foreseeable future. It’s only in communities like this that you ever see any kind of truth.

    Like

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