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:: Friday, July 25, 2008 ::

No Mo Emo?

Dozens of black-clad emo music fans protested Saturday in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk against plans by Russian lawmakers to ban their dark style from the country's schools [and government buildings].

Russian authorities are considering legislation aimed at heading off the "dangerous teen trend" of emo culture.

"The document states that emos are aged from 12 to 16, wear black and pink, and have long, black hair which may "cover half the face". Other characteristics identified include black fingernails, black belts with studs and pins, and ear and eyebrow piercings."

Hmm, I think I'm safe. I may be wearing some pink but I'm too old and don't have enough hair to cover half my head let alone my face.

It's as ridiculous as the Commie witch hunt in the US in the '60s, where the list of signs to look out for included 'may carry a guitar.' (I can't find an online reference for that. I think I'm quoting a Bob Dylan documentary.)

Are musical sub-cultures really as dangerous as oppressive states make out? Maybe so. It's claimed that Rock and Roll brought down communism in Hungary, so maybe there is something in it.

And that's all the more reason to encourage it. It's not really about the way someone might dress or what music they choose to listen to, it's about controlling the way people think, and that is never acceptable.

I may not identify myself that strongly with either goth or emo culture, but I love to see people setting themselves outside of the norm. (Although I worry that in both cases what is considered outside of the norm in the West is just as prescribed and marketed as the norm itself. Just have a look around a branch of Clare's accessories to see that.) But in some countries if you don't even have the freedom to choose which harmless subculture to belong to, that's a worrying state of affairs.

As one of the protestors placards said, "Why Do We Have To Think The Same?"

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