21 April 2008

Operation Emo Freedom

The other day, while listening to NPR, I heard a story about how emo kids in Mexico City are under attack. Now, this story isn't funny at all- but I swear for the first two minutes, I thought at first it was a classic The Onion piece meant to be a parody. Imagine my surprise to hear this is a true story. Emo kids are under attack.

Among the many youth subcultures that exist, it seems that emo kids provoke the strongest reaction. I thought this might just exist in Mexico, but a simple google image search will show otherwise- but I'm going to stick with Mexico for now.

So why are the emo kids being attacked? Various sociologists have cited the recent presidential election as polarizing the right versus left, a more "macho" culture infused with homophobia and intolerance, but also the conflict between youth gangs over space and symbolism. These emo kids are being attacked (rather physically) by skaters, punks, and skinheads. Yes, other urban tribes are attacking the emos. Folks themselves who have appropriated their symbols are mad at the emo kids for stealing those same symbols.

Some of what I've read about the situation refers to the emo kids as "emosexual", which demostrates there are obvious gender and sexuality issues. Many of these more "masculine" subcultures are upset about the emo boys dressing more like girls. So, it sounds like the fear of boys taking on the characteristics of girls is the real issue. Really? That is what you are scared of?

Here is an article from the Chicago Tribune about the situation taking place in Mexico City, if interested. In Mexico, emo music fans face core of hatred.

As I mentioned, this isn't just happening in Mexico City, but the story stresses how this is spreading through various internet "campaigns" and youtube. As I searched for an image about emo kids, I was bombarded with images that demostrate the general hatred of emo, EVERYWHERE. There are images stating that "emo is just an excuse for boys to act like girls" and "yeah, emo, go cry about it". Apparently, June 6, 2006 was dubbed National Emo Kid Beatdown Day. There is an ad created that features 6 various haircuts and informs that on June 6th, if you have one of these haircuts, you should expect to be punched in the face.

I can only assume this is about gender. Expressing emotion is relegated to being feminine. It seems that a brunt of this violence, hate, and anger is reserved for male emo kids. Or at least more of it.

Much like all youth subcultures, emo was derived from a music subculture later to become amalgamated into a youth culture of fashion and style, as somewhat distinct and "mainstreamed" from the original source. I don't want to get into the history of emo culture, but rather, I find the fact that other subcultures that have been developed in similar ways would find so much to hate about this "newer" group- which is apparently another criticism of the groups attacking in the city of Queretaro. They are upset about this new group. They haven't been around long enough. I'm pretty sure the original working class punks in the UK wouldn't be too thrilled with the modern day punks in Mexico City.

As a side note, the NPR feature appropriately chose a Bright Eyes song to tie up the story. Conor, be careful.

17 April 2008

Songs About Myrtle Beach

I have a travel guide about music and the United States. The travel guide informs you about where to find cool music venues, record stores, and historical music sites in each state. At the beginning of each chapter, there are a list of songs for the particular states. I always assumed these songs were listed so you could make a proper mix tape as you traveled the entire United States. Wait, perhaps that was just my plan.

There are of course any number of songs about a particular state or destination that could quickly be called to mind. I fell in love with Band of Horses, due to their song called St. Augustine. Turns out that a radio station in Minnesota did something very similar to this back in 2005, you can find the link here. This can help for any summer road trips you have planned.

Regardless, I find myself drawn to music about a particular location- especially when I live there. Imagine my delight when I came across Sunny Ledfurd's song Myrtle Beach. And I'll be honest, when people ask me about what it is like living in this spectacular location. I'm not going to answer anymore. I'm simply going to point them to this song. This is all you need to know. You can find this song on Sunny Ledfurd's myspace page, which I have listed below. I must warn you, the song isn't the "clean" version- so plug in those headphones before you isolate yourself from the rest of the office. That being said, a clean version of this wouldn't be Myrtle Beach. Not at all.

Sunny Ledfurd's Myspace Page

And if that wasn't enough, I listened to Sunny Ledfurd's song Red Bull and Vodka, which not only points out the merits of living in Myrtle Beach, as opposed to Los Angeles- but also speaks about a bar near the university in Charlotte called Tipsey's. Tipsey's use to be on of my favorite destinations in Charlotte. I wouldn't have survived graduate school without the aid of Tipsey's. Though the video comes dangerously close to a "girls gone wild video"...you'll get the point.