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Fashion goth - click opera
February 2010
 
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Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 07:43 am
Fashion goth

I'm not into this thing, fashion goth.

It's probably because I'm not into rock and roll, Romanticism, or Christianity.

I'm not into Asia Argento or Vincent Gallo.

I think their way of thinking is inherently right wing.

I mean, Gallo votes Republican. Fucking fashion goth!

Trent Reznor is also a plonker.

I'm not into Suicide Girls.

I hate tattoos and piercings and the cult of self-injury.

Sex is not evil or wicked.

What Christian sect do you guys belong to?

I'm not a Christian.

Fashion goth is an aestheticization of pain.

Just like a Cranach crucifixion scene.

We invented goth in London in the Batcave in 1984, but something else came along in 1985, I forget what.

Oh yes, Live Aid.

But America takes much longer to forget stuff, especially stuff like punk and goth.

And social activism has no chance against Christian imagery and teen suicide and eating disorders, has it?

The Marquis de Sade was mounting a critique of the Enlightenment.

What's wrong with the Enlightenment, girls?

Why do you dress in black and dye your hair with streaks of burgundy red?

It looks terrible.

Fashion goth!

Hedi Slimane has a lot to answer for!

Hedi gave fashion goths a skinny tie.

We love you, Hedi! But personally I prefer Bless, or Ann-Sofie Back.

Jack Brennan and Maximilian Hecker are pretty fashion goth boys.

They work for Hedi sometimes.

Life can't be all that black when you're as pretty as they are.

One DJs, one sings, hunched over his piano, so intense.

Come on, Maximilian, you fucking fashion goth tortured Romantic genius!

I like Kai Althoff much better.

When I say "I like X much better", it's usually because X has a keen sense of the absurd.

And also because I can't immediately pigeonhole X's style.

X is not a fashion goth.

Sometimes Berlin seems like nothing but fashion goths on the one hand and the cute kitsch crew on the other.

(Oh, and of course Russian punks with scary dogs.)

The fashion goths and the kitsch crew both love Japan, but I think they get Japan wrong.

I'm not into Trevor Brown, who makes S&M look kawaii.

I'm just not into S&M full stop.

And I was never a Bauhaus fan, although I did see them live in 1981.

Are you jealous, fashion goths?

Pete Murphy was vicious and pretty, lashing out at people with pointed shoes and carrying a strobe light.

Japanese people tend not to be fashion goths, or into kitsch.

Even the black lace Gothic Lolitas in Japan are something else, really.

They're human mille feuille cakes, not goths.

I think it's because Christianity has never meant anything in Japan.

If you get into a Shinto-Buddhist mindset you don't dwell on negativity.

Japan is a different culture bloc.

Shinto is a fertility religion.

Can you imagine a fashion goth soaking in a sento and then playing pachinko and then eating a hearty meal at an isakaya, chatting away and laughing at the comedians on TV?

"Where's the agony?" he would cry, meaning "Where's the beauty?"

He'd miss the beauty in the food, and in the water.

It's a mistake to think there's only beauty in pain.

Fertility religions celebrate life, whereas Christianity and Islam celebrate death and resurrection.

Your average Japan-based girl blogger photographer has something in common with the brilliant Rinko Kawauchi.

Photos of tendril ferns, a clear sky, a starfish or a seahorse, a delicious cake!

Sunshine came into the room! Life looks good, and the cake looks tasty!

Why is fashion goth always connected with eating disorders?

What's wrong with our relationship with food in the West?

Why do the Japanese-in-Japan love food so much, and celebrate it all the time on TV?

Let's not even talk about drugs here, "heroin chic".

I really, really hate heroin, and how it makes the world around you matter less.

Just like Christianity.

Shall we have children?

Shall we celebrate fertility?

Kahimi Karie was wholesome and positive until she started living in Paris and started dating a fashion goth model called Jerome Lechevalier.

She changed visibly into a fashion goth. Then she started asking me for songs about skulls and monsters and sleeping in a coffin and stuff.

I blame the fashion goth model guy. (Though of course I'm to blame too. Post-feminist guilt made me try to toughen up her image.)

When I was in New York this time all I could see on everyone's T shirt was skulls, skulls, fucking skulls.

How can you protest the Iraq war if there are skulls all over you, fucking fashion goth?

Apollo not Dionysus, Marx not Spengler, Gandhi not Jesus!

Happy not sad, chatty not mute! Celebrate, don't mourn! Fertility, not necro-fashion!

If you mourn you'll give us a reason to mourn. But if you celebrate you might give us a reason to celebrate.

The good thing about Devendra and (say) The Incredible String Band is that they're hippies, not goths.

They draw on the orient, not the occident.

Though of course the Incredible String Band were Christians, weren't they?

But they were "white robe" Christians, not black shirt and scars Christians.

Robin Williamson says something in "Be Glad For The Song Has No Ending" about not feeling inferior to god but finding god in yourself.

I wonder if 9/11 gave New York a big fashion goth boost?

New York is a big global disseminator of styles.

Are we all living in the shadow of the towers, "learning to live with somebody's depression"?

I don't want to live with somebody's depression!

You can't just suddenly become fashion goth if you don't feel it, if it's not deep in your culture.

I mean, if we were bombing people to fashion gothery the way we're bombing them to "freedom", it wouldn't work either.

Joy Division were quite a good band, but New Order are better, ne?

Because, finally, it's better to be alive than dead, and happy than sad.

My next album is going to be deeply immersed in the reputedly banal positivity of Shinto-Buddhism.

No influence from Asia Argento, but lots from Rinko Kawauchi.

Fashion goths will not buy it.

The sleep of reason breeds monsters, said Goya. "And fashion goths," we might add.

134CommentReply

seanthesean
Mr. Sean
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 06:34 am (UTC)

How does this fit into the whole cruel gourmet thing? Anyhow, 9-11 had nothing to do with more or less Goths, what happened was the lack of imagination & hopefulness in this country ((usa)). Cowardice! That, & the internet, which is the coward's medium. The internet has made more Goths than... ! or ? put together. The amplifier of bad taste! Still, I think that you might be a different shade of fashion goth, somewhere between a Peruvian rug poncho & a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal. Hiding behind Japan & an eyepatch, instead of two colors, dyed hair & makeup. How many steps are between Vincent Gallo & Gavin McInnes? Is not death a celebration of life?
etc.


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33mhz
33mhz
The Queen of Overdub Kisses
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 06:46 am (UTC)

Yeah. One half retreated into superficially colorful but internally mindless and monotone jingoism, and popular music culture (it seems to me) embraced mindless hedonism even more enthusiastically, a kind of "It's The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" response.


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stanleylieber
stanleylieber
Stanley Lieber
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 06:38 am (UTC)

Fashion goth as Platonic solid!


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eptified
eptified
H. Duck
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 06:39 am (UTC)

What exactly is wrong with an aestheticization of pain? What else would you like me to do with it? If it's a big thing for me why shouldn't I explore it? If I have a sexual fetish that involves pain who are you to tell me not to indulge it? If I choose to explore the inherent hilarity of death what's wrong with that?

There is something wrong with goths who take themselves too fucking _seriously_, who view themselves as emissaries of death, but for god's sake, it is possible to wear black eyeliner as a fuck you to the people who aestheticize life and bomb abortion clinics. You can choose not to treat with evil if you want -- to, effectively, turn the other cheek and not read the newspapers -- and hey, I have no problem with that. But what stance is there for people who wish to acknowledge the evil in the world without taking up the sword and cross if _not_ the aestheticization of pain?

But...um...I agree with your assessment of the current new york scene. Fucking johnny-come-latelies. (I say all this, incidentally, as someone who's never put on a pair of fishnets in his life but who loves some very, very happy goths.)


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stanleylieber
stanleylieber
Stanley Lieber
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 06:43 am (UTC)

It really is interesting to point out that the most vocal supporters of the Iraq war in America would object to 'fashion goths' on (much) the same grounds as Momus.


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i_am_a_hot_sale
i_am_a_hot_sale
waffles forever
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 06:41 am (UTC)

Fashion goths in Florida are masochistic (black clothes & sweaty makeup in the hot humid summer).

I guess that makes them better fashion goths than those of the northern provinces, who know not the suffering of a true southern fashion goth.


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butterflyrobert
RND
Fri, Aug. 12th, 2005 05:41 pm (UTC)

And florida fashion goths tend more often to be obese and missing teeth.


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(Anonymous)
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 06:46 am (UTC)

Hear hear! It had to be said. And thank you for that, Amen.

*Hangs rosary beads on crucifix and enters the nearest tea house*


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33mhz
33mhz
The Queen of Overdub Kisses
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 06:51 am (UTC)

Durn.

Robert Smith just started crying and he doesn't even know why, behind that.

Mind, that's not exactly out of the ordinary, but still.


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kineticfactory
kineticfactory
this is not your sawtooth wave
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 08:50 am (UTC)

Maybe he's despairing that he can no longer feel the anguish of no longer being able to feel the sense of emptiness he had or something.


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bdu
bdu
Missing enough to feel alright
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 06:58 am (UTC)

It's a mistake to think there's only beauty in pain.

Sure, but let's not presume that there is no beauty in pain. Not that this post seemed to, though some are reading that into it...

9/11 had not so much to do with a goth resurgence as the movement of the religious right into the mainstream here in the states. US goth post-1980s is really just all about defining the self through being the antithesis of that which you hate. This is never really a good idea, but it's always easy.

As you imply, they are christians insomuch as they validate christian ideology by attempting to be the anti-christian. It's facile and ungenuine, but whatever floats your boat, eh?

Joy Division were quite a good band, but New Order are better, ne?

Which really makes your point better than most of the rest of the post...


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kineticfactory
kineticfactory
this is not your sawtooth wave
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 08:55 am (UTC)

The antithesis of what you hate along with a Slavoj Zizek-esque overidentification with it. Witness the presence of fascist imagery used by goth-identified bands from Joy Division to VNV Nation (and, of course, Laibach) and Nazi-inspired fashion in the goth scene, along with the fact that (AFAIK) there are no phalanges of jackbooted goths training in paramilitary tactics or sincerely discussing setting up a gothic fascist dictatorship. Goth takes fascism and reduces it to an aesthetic stance and sexual fetish, snorting it like cocaine before a BDSM session.


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charleston
charleston
Bonham C
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 07:05 am (UTC)

Why do the Japanese-in-Japan love food so much

because their food is the BEST!


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benchilada
benchilada
benjamin sTone
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 07:29 am (UTC)

Right, I'm off to listen to Neil and Chris sing about "Miracles"...


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sonjabrains
sbrains
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 07:32 am (UTC)

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

"...cute is happy and round while hot is sullen and pointy." Also, yellow.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 07:36 am (UTC)

ah ha ha ha ha har ha ha!


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butterflyrobert
RND
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 07:46 am (UTC)

Excellent post! Of course, you probably could have shortened it with "The 'goth thing' is both silly and sad." But that would have ruined a great post.

Still, I have to say I cannot dis' Dionysus. Good wine, good music and good company are, in themselves, worth celebrating. Nothing exceeds like excess.

And Joy Division, though campy in their own way, were a better incarnation than New Order. New Order were mostly about homosexual kitsch and they weren't as lyrically interesting.


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martymartini
martymartini
martymartini
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 07:59 am (UTC)

Suicide Girls are fuckable, but dating them would just mind-fuck a non-fashion goth.
I love what I just wrote!


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kineticfactory
kineticfactory
this is not your sawtooth wave
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 09:05 am (UTC)
Negative eroticism

Suicide Girls are fundamentally unerotic; all those piercings and look-into-the-darkness-of-my-being-if-you-dare scowls and moronic-cynicist oppositional-agressive stances crushing out any sense of playfulness or lightheartedness. Ultimately it looks like a more alternative version of Madonna's "SEX" book, a fundamentally unsexy artefact.

Anyway, as far as looking at n3kkid girls goes, I Shot Myself is better. For one, (most of) the models actually seem to be having fun rather than strenuously affecting a stance.


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twoheaded_boy
twoheaded_boy
Saelan
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 08:14 am (UTC)

best momus post in a while.

the last one has me curious, though: what does nick currie think of Goya?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 08:26 am (UTC)

I think Goya represents the very beginning of the Romantic movement, a movement that took a valid critique of the Enlightenment through Gothic novels like Frankenstein and right up to the 20th century in Surrealism and Hitler and Rock'n'Roll. It's one thing to critique the Enlightenment, quite another for your critique to turn into a Dionysian or Zoroastrian cult of irrationalism.

I suppose I'm more amused by the Chapman Brothers' take on the "Disasters of War" than by the originals. I like how they neutralize Goya's liberal concern / ghoulish fascination with disasters, turning it into pure nihilism. They identify a tabloid element in Goya


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qscrisp
qscrisp
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 08:52 am (UTC)

I must say, I'm rather fond of goth, but I suppose I'm thinking of the British movement that, I believe, began with Joy Division. I'm fond of it because in this country (Britain) everyone finds goths to be ludicrous and pretentious, except the goths themselves, who are now very much an endangered species. I like the fact that there are people so visibly dramatising their inner lives in a childish 'make-believe' manner.

I'm not so fond of Marilyn Manson, though I certainly don't hate him. I believe he went out with Rose McGowan, and that alone justifies his existence.

I do actually think Joy Division are far better than New Order.

I even like Fields of the Nephilim.

I don't think Buddhism is a particularly 'positive' religion, anyway. It's certainly one that I find fascinating, but it is centred very much on death. As every Japanese person knows, it's Shinto for weddings and Buddhism for funerals. However Buddhism may have started, culturally it is not an 'affirmation of life'. If you're very good, in Buddhism, you get to escape the eternal round or earthly existence forever - that is the ultimate goal. And I think it's inaccurate to say that Japanese culture celebrates life, as if it is in some way markedly more life-affirming than Western culture. Death has also, traditionally, played a central role in Japanese culture, with death, to many, actually being far more important than life. In the samurai ethic, for instance, it was the warrior's death that was all-important.

Japanese literature, too, is full of preoocupations with death rather than life, dwelling on pain, on the sad transience of existence and so on. The most sybaritic Japanese writer I can think of - Tanizaki Jun'ichiro - was intensely aware of death, and his last two novels are painful explorations of the sexuality of men succumbing to death in old age.

But, all this aside, a very interesting post.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 09:06 am (UTC)

Well, you're right about Buddhism being rather death-oriented. I was seeing Japan more as a Shinto culture, with Shinto standing as a fertility religion and therefore being attuned to festivals and the agricultural / gourmet joys, as well as sexual reproduction. But I also think the aristocratic nature of Buddhism has had a strong influence on Japan: Siddhartha Gottama was the scion of a rich family who turned his back on money and materialism. So in Japan you have both a populist celebration of the material world (Shinto) and an aristocratic rejection of it (Buddhism). One just in time for marriage, the other just in time for death!


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(Anonymous)
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 08:53 am (UTC)

Don't jocks beat up goths for roughly the same reason, for not being 'wholesome and positive'. I don't think I've ever met an unhappy goth. Terribly sensitive, yes, in need of armour, but never unhappy.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Aug. 11th, 2005 09:01 am (UTC)

When I dress in what I think is a wholesome and positive way jocks and goths beat me up! There's just no pleasing some cultures.


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