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Hatred Swells

By Amil Niazi

Friday February 11, 2005

Satan made me do it

For young immigrants to this country one of the initial shocks, after language and spatial barriers are overcome, is the dominance of culture cliques. I was only six when we landed in Toronto so the issues were few, a trifling British accent being the only point of contention between my ignorant peers and I. Fortunately, my parents were already hip to the ways of the modern European world and we adjusted easily. But having encountered family members and friends who had the unenviable task of discovering these social circles mid-puberty, I can understand the paralyzing horror that might accompany both personal and cultural transformation. When sixteen-year-old Josephine Shih attempted to map out her place in the general pecking order by exploring “occult” groups and practices, she wasn’t going much further than most teenagers desperate for a comfortable skin.

In high school labels are placed using lowest common denominators. If you have big boobs, you’re a slut. If you threw a ball of any sort once and sometimes you wear sports-related t-shirts, you’re a jock. If you wear black and cry yourself to sleep or through English or on your way to the cafeteria, you’re a Goth. These arbitrary titles and positions serve no real purpose other than appropriately segregating the masses. They make important decisions, like where to eat and who to sit with on break, easier and render non-conformity useless. Most adult humans shed these pinnings shortly after high school and move into more mature sub-sections of the population. But for whatever reason; once a goth, always a goth. And that inane desire to remain in a constant state of fantasy-driven infancy is why the media is always so quick to blame those hooded youngsters on the loss of many a runaway’s innocence.

Of course if we take a glance at what attributes possess a teen that considers themselves of the dark order, we’d realize they are probably incapable of rationalizing their behaviour to themselves let alone converting hundreds of malleable adolescents to their “seedy” ways. Pagan poetry will not cast protective seals around their idiot friends, role-playing games will never secure power in other realms and black nail polish is not cutting edge. Avril Lavigne is a prime example of how far we’ve allowed the trendy goth mystique to go and is thus clear why it’s time to bury the enigma.

Shih didn’t run away because she was lured by the awesome power of sobby teen witches hoping to cast love spells on their history professors. Nor did the Internet create a black hole of voodoo worship, allowing her insight in to the never land of mind-blowing magic. She was an alienated child, sandwiched between parents incapable of relating to a hormone soaked adolescent and a society driven by the need to pigeon hole its members by height, weight and pop-fashion sense. By burying the issue of cultural confusion and a history of generational isolation, we end up pointing fingers of blame at awkwardly drawn pentagrams and hopelessly runny stockings. Of all teen sub-groups for the media to vilify, this has to be the most ridiculous. At the very least hippies seemed capable of generating revolution. So-called goths seem to have little time for anything more than “dark” poetry slams on real chat or collecting tears to pin on butterfly sperm in order to conjure up unicorn babies for the future.

But aren’t they humans? In order to understand these creatures further, I visited some of their online profiles. Everything from tortured souls, to vampish fetishists, I was amazed at how complex and tender the Goths really are. I invite you to explore for yourself and create your own gothic tome. I leave you with this poem that expresses my own soulful togetherness with the misunderstood. (Created on the Goth-O-Matic Poetry Generator)

Hatred Swells
the night falls without a sound, stricken are we.
the light for which you lust
flares once, then dies,
swallowed by a velvet ebon nothingness.
all hope must sicken and die.

your passion throbs no more.
how could you tear us asunder?
our dark emotions surround us, crying,