Goths

Examples of social decline, especially in the UK

Goths

Postby Yessica » 27 Nov 2013, 08:09

Lindsey mentioned them in one post. What is your opinion about Goths or their culture?

I have a lot of friends which are Goths and I consider them nice people. In fact I have yet to met the Goth whom I do not like.

Virtually all Goths if have ever met are like this: from a middle-class background, intelligent, good school (but typically poor grades), gentle and soft-spoken, relatively carefree live, full of Weltschmerz.

Stereotyping? You bet!
May be it is just because I am not as deep as them but I do not understand their Weltschmerz. Those are the people who have everything at their finger-tips. Have to say as I do - as many people in modern societies do.

Rejecting all the blessing they have to me seems unthankful.
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Re: Goths

Postby Michael » 27 Nov 2013, 16:21

I dressed in goth fashions in late high school but never embraced the world view (four words to explain my actions: "there was a girl ...."). I was too sardonic and snarky to take on what I felt was silly teenage morbidity.

As I moved into college and started studying philosophy I came to actively reject the worldview. As Elliott remarked in our Modern Clothing: Your Thoughts subforum, dressing so as to shock or offend is uncivlized; it doesn't matter whether it was not the 'intention' of the person. To dress in a threatening or intimidating manner is to reject the possibility of social intercourse with others. I've known plenty of perfectly nice people who dressed in spikes and heavy combat boots, but it remains a fact that they are dressing aggressively.

Rejecting all the blessing they have to me seems unthankful.


Ingratitude is the modern vice - so widespread and common that it is almost unnoticeable, like air. It is only from ingratitude that people could actively reject and attempt to destroy the culture and traditions they inherited.

As for any thought of Goths and others being 'deeper' than us regular folk, I use a simple rule when judging other people that has not yet steered me wrong: the more effort someone puts into external appearance, into dyed hair, tattoos, and extravagant clothing, the less they have going on inside themselves - both in emotional sensitivity, depth, and intelligence.
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Re: Goths

Postby Elliott » 27 Nov 2013, 21:52

I will comment on this thread more after I've had a sleep, but for now I just want to say that I think Michael's last paragraph is a true pearl of wisdom.
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Re: Goths

Postby Caleb » 28 Nov 2013, 03:40

Some of them are okay. Some of them are extremely sanctimonious, though not necessarily about being a goth. Many seem to be rabidly left wing. Many are also often vegans or participate in some other lifestyle choice or subculture. I had a housemate who was a vegan and unbelievably sanctimonious and in everyone's face about it. She used to drive me up the wall. After the (relatively) recent Australian federal election, she (and a few other people I had as friends on Facebook) threw several massive tantrums about the result. I consequently removed her (and others) from my friends list.

Another thing that frustrates me somewhat about a lot of goths is that they have extremely narrow, if not bigoted, tastes in music. If it's not metal (and a particular kind of metal, often), then they can be really in your face about that too. At the time, my housemate used to annoy me with this too, because whilst I liked (and still do) a lot of metal, there was lots of other stuff I liked also and she was extremely disdainful of anything that wasn't metal.
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Re: Goths

Postby Mike » 28 Nov 2013, 21:49

My cousin (40 y.o.) is a bit of a Goth, although perhaps Medievalist would be a better description, but she's had plenty of Goth friends over the years. On the whole, I've found them not obnoxious exactly (with a couple of exceptions), just a bit callow and juvenile.

Michael wrote:I use a simple rule when judging other people that has not yet steered me wrong: the more effort someone puts into external appearance, into dyed hair, tattoos, and extravagant clothing, the less they have going on inside themselves - both in emotional sensitivity, depth, and intelligence.


I couldn't agree more.
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Re: Goths

Postby Jonathan » 28 Nov 2013, 23:22

You don't encounter that many Goths in Israel. At least, I haven't. From what I've seen on TV or in movies, it seems like a juvenile rejection of civilization.

I'll also add that I found myself constantly nodding in agreement while reading Michael's post.
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Re: Goths

Postby Caleb » 29 Nov 2013, 00:12

Jonathan: It's strange in a way because at one level, they reject civilisation, but at another, their aesthetic vision is a highly stylised version of pre-20th century aesthetic forms and they often celebrate great virtuosity in those forms.
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Re: Goths

Postby Yessica » 30 Nov 2013, 14:34

Caleb wrote:Jonathan: It's strange in a way because at one level, they reject civilisation, but at another, their aesthetic vision is a highly stylised version of pre-20th century aesthetic forms and they often celebrate great virtuosity in those forms.


Perhaps they do not reject all civilisation but only things that happened after 1900, two world-wars, poison gas (it did not exist before 1900, did it), Auschwitz, the A-bomb. There are some good reasons to reject the 20th century... well and then there are so many good reasons to love it like antibiotics, fridges, computers.

Have yet to meet the Goths who rejects antibiotics...
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Re: Goths

Postby Paul » 30 Nov 2013, 16:23

What or who are Goths? I mean, seriously? I thought they were just the representatives of merely another, predominantly, musical fashion, with the attendant clothing, hairstyles and trinketry that attaches to musical trends. To my mind they emerged as a further extension to the early 1980s New Romantic trend.

It now turns out there is an ideology that could be said to be political, as well as other concepts such as morality, and the like. I never knew that.

I suppose I should spend half an hour and some finger-clicking to learn a great deal about Goths.
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Re: Goths

Postby Kevin R » 30 Nov 2013, 21:24

Goths always seem to be the leitmotif of nearly every town and city up and down the land don't they..

I wonder if they are merely trying to escape what they experience as the ineluctable drabness and quotidian boredom of lower middle-class suburbia by indulging a narcissistic fantasy that they exist in some collective twilight Hammer-Horror world of the mysterious and macabre? Paradoxically this seems to me to heighten their plight, especially if one sees them strolling along a High St of some local town on a drizzly afternoon clutching a Sainsburys carrier-bag, or gazing despondently out of the windows of a trundling municipal bus or local train on their way back home to tea from the town-centre gathering. How many of them really understand or know of the core meaning of romanticism in the late 18th C that gave birth to thee phenomenon of the Gothic revival mind? Of it's longing for a religious homecoming for man via his relationship with nature? Perhaps some of them do, or have read about it.. The Gothic tale of Frankenstein's creature was certainly a very potent allegory for the times to come ahead nearly two centuries later, when identity can be constructed according to a plan arranged by someone else (it's how the corporations sell us the idea of lifestyle identity for example..).

The present incarnations of Goth subculture seem to revolve more around the leaden genre of their primal music combos, and absurdities and extremes of dress (much of it now made and sold by mercenary commercial interests as against the DIY approach that Goth fashion had when it first emerged).. absurdities such as huge fetish-like boots, and leather coats much too long for the wearer. Still, of all the tribalisms that haunt our streets, I suppose they are the least physically hostile, if perhaps the appearance doesn't engender delight in the sensibility of the discerning viewer.
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Re: Goths

Postby Lindsey » 30 Nov 2013, 22:16

I must admit I like Goths! Though like many trends, I think it came to encompass a wider fashion , wherein it's origins (i assume)started out in teenagers who were in the pressure cooker of the American school system, and needed a way to reject and ward off not just authority but peers their own age. I suspect many saw something horrendous in the society they were expected to become a part of and reacted to it.
Many now though are just in it for fashion and shock.
Luckily their is help available to goths, like this rehabilitating scheme ;)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL9tm3LH ... ata_player
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Re: Goths

Postby Rachel » 01 Dec 2013, 00:21

Jonathan wrote:You don't encounter that many Goths in Israel. At least, I haven't. From what I've seen on TV or in movies, it seems like a juvenile rejection of civilization.

I'll also add that I found myself constantly nodding in agreement while reading Michael's post.


I have never seen one in Israel. I assumed that there weren't many Goths because the black clothes don't suit the Israeli climate. (Yes I know the Ultra Orthodox wear black clothes but I have never undestood how they manage it in the heat.)
Plus the pale makeup looks bad if you are dark skinned or have a heavy tan. There are not many latino, asian, or black goths now I think about it.
Perhaps Australians and Americans can get away with the Goth look because they have more air conditioning too.
Maybe I am being a bit glib, but that is what I always assumed.

Paul wrote:What or who are Goths? I mean, seriously? I thought they were just the representatives of merely another, predominantly, musical fashion, with the attendant clothing, hairstyles and trinketry that attaches to musical trends...

I 'ed also like to know what/who are Goths.
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Re: Goths

Postby Caleb » 01 Dec 2013, 04:03

Kevin R wrote:Goths always seem to be the leitmotif of nearly every town and city up and down the land don't they..

I wonder if they are merely trying to escape what they experience as the ineluctable drabness and quotidian boredom of lower middle-class suburbia by indulging a narcissistic fantasy that they exist in some collective twilight Hammer-Horror world of the mysterious and macabre? Paradoxically this seems to me to heighten their plight, especially if one sees them strolling along a High St of some local town on a drizzly afternoon clutching a Sainsburys carrier-bag, or gazing despondently out of the windows of a trundling municipal bus or local train on their way back home to tea from the town-centre gathering. How many of them really understand or know of the core meaning of romanticism in the late 18th C that gave birth to thee phenomenon of the Gothic revival mind? Of it's longing for a religious homecoming for man via his relationship with nature? Perhaps some of them do, or have read about it.. The Gothic tale of Frankenstein's creature was certainly a very potent allegory for the times to come ahead nearly two centuries later, when identity can be constructed according to a plan arranged by someone else (it's how the corporations sell us the idea of lifestyle identity for example..).

The present incarnations of Goth subculture seem to revolve more around the leaden genre of their primal music combos, and absurdities and extremes of dress (much of it now made and sold by mercenary commercial interests as against the DIY approach that Goth fashion had when it first emerged).. absurdities such as huge fetish-like boots, and leather coats much too long for the wearer. Still, of all the tribalisms that haunt our streets, I suppose they are the least physically hostile, if perhaps the appearance doesn't engender delight in the sensibility of the discerning viewer.


That was great, but especially the part I put in bold.
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Re: Goths

Postby Elliott » 01 Dec 2013, 09:38

My perception of goths, having lived with one during art college and spent time with his friends and gone to goth clubs with them, would be something like this... they are very friendly people, but, important as that is, it's about their only virtue.

They are obsessively into their music/subculture and will compete to be "the most goth person here".

They are utopian and immature in a way that is almost deliberate, perhaps because of their commitment to being as "goth" as possible.

Self-absorbed and emotionally hysterical, they are not only prone to bouts of mania but positively revel in the tendency. Their music is really all about emotional extremis, to such an extent that I long ago concluded that it was completely affected. Nobody is actually this angry, and the mosh pit is a parody of genuine emotion.

Goths have a simplistic view that rich people are evil, poor people good, and the rest of us are in the middle but should, if we want to be good, be much closer to the poor than to the rich.

They have an equally simplistic view (but one that I would say is, in our time, basically correct) that all politicians are corrupt. But, because they are so cynical and detached, they also lack any sense of intellectual responsibility. Thus, the goths whom I know lauded Barack Obama at first but, when he proved to be at least as corrupt as Dubya, they either kept believing or just went quiet. There was no hint of apology or self-examination. They're basically nihilists. These people are essentially quite weak and unstable people, and nihilism is the safest position because it means you never have to fail and nobody can hold you to account.

Civilisation, in the sense of Western hierarchy, is anathema to them. They see it as virtuous and their raison d'etre to be against everything that has been "achieved" by the West. This, even while they happily take advantage of Western medicine and science, over-estimate the value of their democratic vote, and would be the first to go to the police if they got robbed. So, not only nihilististic, but infantile, and duly outraged when Daddy hasn't looked after them.

One final criticism I would make of goths is that I think in a certain sense they are the culmination of Generation X. Now, I have friends (including on this forum) who are part of Generation X, so I hope the usual caveats can be taken for granted. The fact is, Generation X is a largely defeatist generation who, since they feel they cannot change society, thrive on rejecting society. There is a lot of street-cred associated with "dropping out" of "the system". Of course this stuff began with the Baby Boomers in '69 (or even earlier) but I think the Gen Xers internalised it and made it quite a personal, harder-edged thing, whereas for the BBs it was always hot air. The BBs said the spiel and they live by it, but they still feel at some level that they have a stake in society and that their voice is valued. I think Generation X are altogether more cynical and disconnected from "the system". Goths epitomise this.

Now, to repeat the good points, because they really are good points, I think that goths tend to be very nice people, very loyal and, partly because of their detachment from society, are very good at keeping your spirits up. For someone like me, who is very driven and obsessed with achievement, it is sometimes good to consult a goth friend who will show me the other side of things, ie that our society is basically corrupt and absurd so you might as well calm down a bit, kick back and relax. They also have a sense of fun which, again, someone like me doesn't naturally have. If I want a good night in, I know I can have it by watching a movie with a bunch of goths. However, I would have to make myself scarce if they started playing their music, which I have always found unbearable.
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Re: Goths

Postby Yessica » 05 Dec 2013, 20:45

Rachel wrote:I 'ed also like to know what/who are Goths.


This is difficult to define as there are different "tribes" within the gothic scene.

I'll give it a try nevertheless.... Things that most goths I have met have in common:

* a longing for the past. They tend to believe that the time prior to the 20th century has been been a better one, fairer one, people were leading more meaningful lives and so on
* the idea that it is of the highest importance how something is designed. Many tailor their own clothings, they like to write with a feather instead of a pen or - God beware - a ball pen and so on... Things must be unique and old-fashioned at the same time and people are valued on basis of that. A person who possesses many unique, oldfashioned or old things (and preferably black) things like for example his great-grandfathers sword, a black coat that looks like 19th century and so on will be hold in higher regard than the person who does not have things like that. At the same time the goths claim to be opposed to materialism.
* the desire to be "hurt" or "broken beyond repair". Liking one's live is often seen as a kind of shallowness
* somewhat old-fashioned gender roles
* Work / Career is seen as a burden

That is the philosophy that unites them all

There are different "tribes":
* One is for example the "gothic lolitas".
They value childlike innocence, a childlike sense of wonder, nature, looking at the stars and so on... Women are supposed to be meek and soft-spoken as well as sexy at the same time. This tribe is very big in Japan. So, yes, goth exist in east asia.
* One is goths who like nordic stuff, old runes and so on. I don't know if there is a name for that tribe. They value physical prowess far more. and have a strong dislike for men who dye their hair are physically unfit and so on... Some are very right-wing, but some also left-wing or a-political... They look nearly the same for the outsider but I have been told if they are wearing boots you can see their political opinion by the colour of their shoelaces. Black shoelace - left-wing, white shoelace: right-wing, any other colour: apolitical
By the way... I was wrong. There is one gothic tribe, which does not like to be "hurt". This one.
* There are goths who just enjoy watching horror movies and smoking weed with their friends
* There are goths who love medival and reenacting

That is how I would describe what goths are.

If I had to describe them with one word it would probably be "escapism". They do not like this century and the past and like to pretend that it just did not happen.
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