Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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I Sez: Bravo on Emo’s Ascension to True Rock Genre Status

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on March 6, 2007

The Good Dr. has opinions on things. Important things.

My roommate recently alerted me to this video, a report done by a North Dakota local news station on the Emo scene. Apparently, the North Dakotan Emo scene, which has emerged in the past year (leading me to wonder exactly what North Dakotan teenagers have been listening to the rest of this decade–have they gotten up to the Swing revival yet, at least?), is freaking the hell out of the town squares. So much so, in fact that the local sheriff has even taken to using the powers of the internet to reseach what is possibly the biggest potential corruptor the youth of ND have faced since The Beatles first played on Ed Sullivan.

Naturally, it appears that the sheriff’s research has led him mostly to emo parody sites, which he has taken for documentation of the scene’s manifesto. Some of the better pearls of wisdom garnered from his explorations:

On Emo Fashion: “It’s all black hair, hair that covers half your face, covers one eye, and the point of that is to only see the world in half-view.”

On Emo Cred: “The acting of the fashion is where the more depressed you look, the more points you earn. There’s a point scale…an Emo-Scale is what they call it…the more they cut, the more pills…the more they talk about suicide, the cooler they all.”

On Emo’s Final Solution: “You can even buy cutting boards that show you EXACTLY how to cut your wrist…Now there’s no prize for gaining all these points, it’s just bragging rights that kids can use with their friends…and on their WEBBLOGS.”

I’m sure many emo fans are already up in arms about this obviously gross misconception and exaggeration of their alternative lifestyle, but I think it’s the best thing to happen to the genre since the video for “Helena.” You can’t be a real rock genre unless parents are freaking out about you somewhere, and for a while there, it looked like it might not happen with emo–after all, it’s probably the most timid sub-genre to ever be the most visible strain of rock at a given time, unless soft-rock or power pop count. Compared to punk, metal, goth, gangsta rap, industrial, classic rock or hell, even new wave (I’m sure parents somewhere were convinced that Culture Club and Depeche Mode were trying to force a homosexual agenda on their 13-year-old son), emo kids seem positively harmless–at least, to everyone but themselves.

So I feel like this is a banner day for Emo–it’s the genre’s equivalent of the Quincy Punk Episode, the Judas Priest suicide trial, or Charlton Heston’s public reading of the lyrics to “Cop Killer”. Emo can now take its proud place among all those other genres for being a powerful enough youth culture to send a bunch of middle-aged halfwits into an ignorant, completely misguided shitfit. Mazel Tov.

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