Tuesday 29 September 2009

Ζήτω! Yaşasın! Yes to Goth!

Alba Zapatero, 13, Laura Zapatero, 16
...Y Viva España!

Ζήτω! Yaşasın! Yes to Goth!

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Goth Ideology
{from wikipedia}

Defining an explicit ideology for the gothic subculture is difficult for several reasons. First is the overwhelming importance of mood and aesthetic for those involved. This is, in part, inspired by romanticism and neoromanticism. The allure for goths of dark, mysterious, and morbid imagery and mood lies in the same tradition of Romanticism's gothic novel. During the late 18th and 19th century, feelings of horror, and supernatural dread were widespread motifs in popular literature; The process continues in the modern horror film. Balancing this emphasis on mood and aesthetics, another central element of the gothic is a deliberate sense of camp theatricality and self-dramatization; present both in gothic literature as well as in the gothic subculture itself.

Goths, in terms of their membership in the subculture, are usually not supportive of violence, but rather tolerant. Many in the media have incorrectly associated the Goth subculture with violence, hatred of minorities, and other acts of hate. However, violence and hate do not form elements of goth ideology; rather, the ideology is formed in part by recognition, identification, and grief over societal and personal evils that the mainstream culture wishes to ignore or forget. These are the prevalent themes in goth music.

The second impediment to explicitly defining a gothic ideology is goth's generally apolitical nature. While individual defiance of social norms was a very risky business in the nineteenth century, today it is far less socially radical. Thus, the significance of goth's subcultural rebellion is limited, and it draws on imagery at the heart of Western culture. Unlike the hippie or punk movements, the goth subculture has no pronounced political messages or cries for social activism. The subculture is marked by its emphasis on individualism, tolerance for diversity, a strong emphasis on creativity, tendency toward intellectualism, and a mild tendency towards cynicism, but even these ideas are not universal to all goths. Goth ideology is based far more on aesthetics and simplified ethics than politics.

Goths may, indeed, have political leanings ranging from left-wing to right-wing, but they do not express them specifically as part of a cultural identity. Instead, political affiliation, like religion, is seen as a matter of personal conscience. Unlike punk, there are few clashes between political affiliation and being "goth". Similarly, there is no common religious tie that binds together the goth movement, though spiritual, supernatural and religious imagery has played a part in gothic fashion, song lyrics and visual art. In particular, aesthetic elements from Catholicism often appear in goth culture. Reasons for donning such imagery range from expression of religious affiliation to satire or simply decorative effect.

While involvement with the subculture can be fulfilling, it also can be risky, especially for the young, because of the negative attention it can attract due to public misconceptions of goth subculture.


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Mitchel Cohen wrote:

Who ARE these young people, the ones you call "Goths"?
Are they people you know?

Thanks for the question - it's a good opportunity to clarify.

Laura and Alba are the daughters of Spain's Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

There are laws in Spain forbidding any publicity about the girls, in order to protect their privacy and to protect them from exposure to the twisted hostilities that often accompany politics.

The "scandal", on the surface, is that the White House violated all laws by publishing the girls' photos without checking in with anyone, prompting the Spanish Government to request a withdrawal - which the US Gov't acted on, but too late. By then, the photos had gotten spread all over the Press and online media.

But the real thing is that what was revealed by the photos for the first time in public is that Laura and Alba are Goths! - at least in this phase of their path as young people who are growing and naturally exploring various identities. Goth is a cultural identity that is seen as totally subversive and "repugnant" by the aesthetic standards of the ruling class in the Mediterranean regions of southern Europe.

Here's some interesting commentary relating it to the US President's girls, Sasha And Malia Obama:
"What If Sasha and Malia Were Goth?"


What If Sasha and Malia Were Goth?
Posted by demkid on September 28, 2009

That’s a silly question of course, since everyone knows only rich, spoiled white kids end up following that subculture. For instance, take Laura and Alba Zapatero, daughters of the Spanish prime minister. Apparently, they had never had pictures published of them previously, either in print or online, due to a Spanish law prohibiting the media from doing so. Of course, this all changed once the Zapatero Family recently posed at the White House with the President and First Lady, and the picture was posted on the State Department’s Flickr page: Nice Boots!

The Spanish government got the State Department to remove the photo and made sure that the state-owned news agency wouldn’t distribute it. Of course, this all probably wouldn’t be such a big deal if it wasn’t for the Spanish media ban. Here in the United States, the press has generally respected the wishes of the various First Ladies when it’s come to their children. I think the current White House occupants generally are taking the right approach:

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs recently said that the administration would permit press access to the Obama children when they are part of “official events with the president and first lady,” but added that “there should be a wide berth of privacy extended to the family” when they’re alone or doing something as a family. He added that the White House’s Flickr photos of the children exist to control the paparazzi market for pictures of the Obama children, the youngest to occupy the White House since John and Caroline Kennedy, who were also fiercely guarded.

Then again, Sasha and Malia haven’t quite reached the age of wild teenage expression. Assuming President Obama is re-elected, we’ll get to see the majority of the girls’ teenage years. I seriously doubt that there will be any major news stories resulting from their choice of fashion, but I could be wrong. Goth just might be their thing!


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