The link to Goth culture decried

When Cordell Draeger read that the shooter at Red Lake High School was into Goth subculture, Draeger’s world turned dark because he feared that Goth subculture was being misrepresented.

“He may have listened to Marilyn Manson, but he idolized Hitler, and Hitler has nothing to do with the Goth subculture,” Draeger, who usually dresses in black, said Wednesday. Black is typical color of Goth subculture. The senior at St. Paul Harding High school said Jeff Weise, the 16-year-old who went on a shooting rampage before taking his own life Monday, was not typical of Goths.

“Please don’t talk about this incident and stereotype Goths,” said Draeger, 17. “This was a troubled kid. That has nothing to do with what Goths are about.”

Weise was “a very disturbed individual who happened to be into this form of music,” said Nathan Hall, who hosts a Goth-centered Saturday night music show called “Locust Lecture” and is news director at the University of Minnesota’s Radio K.

In 1979, when Goth music evolved from the punk scene, the Goth subculture was first and foremost about music, said Ryan (Frost) Simula, 30, a stage technician from Savage who said he was very much part of the Goth scene. Kids wore black clothing, black lipstick and period costumes.

According to the 2004 book, “What Is Goth?” by an author named Voltaire, Goths tend to be intrigued by “the dark aspects of human existence — such as death, romance, and feelings of loneliness or isolation.”

Sonja Hayden, owner of Pandora’s coffee shop, known to be a Goth gathering place in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood, said she still sees kids wearing black and chains, but most of the Goths seemed to have migrated to the suburbs. Or to towns outside the metro area, including Red Lake.

“Kids are always looking for the new and the exciting, and for some of them, Goth seems pretty ancient,” she said.

“Yes, I’m Goth, and it means going against the crowd,” said Grace Stromquist, 19, of Minnetonka, who says she works at a gas station. “It’s more than a look,” she said glancing at her black nails. “It’s a lifestyle.”

“We’re normal people,” said her companion, David McNally, 17, of Lebanon, Pa. Metal chains aside, he was dressed entirely in black — black arm warmers, black T-shirt, black jeans. “We look different, but inside we’re all the same.”

Hall estimates that there are only 300 “real Goths” living in Minnesota — although he says he has no statistical information to back up this claim. He is certain of one thing, though: The incident at Red Lake had nothing to do with Goth subculture.

“This is a terribly sad story about a very troubled young man. It would be foolish to read any more into it,” he said.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Star Tribune, USA
Mar. 24, 2005
Paul Levy

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday March 25, 2005.
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