Saturday, May 31, 2008

March against the Mail today

The march/gathering has moved location looks like the police would not accept it being direcly outside the Mail. See here.

The publicity surrounding the march has resulted in a few articles. The BBC has looked into the problem:

Rock cult or nice kids that do their homework?
BBC News, UK -29 May 2008

As she knuckles down to prepare for her A-level exams, Kate Ashford, 17, from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, offers a less sinister explanation for the appeal of MCR.

The theatrical angst and drama of emo is, she suggests, no more than an outlet for a generation creaking under the weight of social expectation.

"Being a teenager has got to be so much more difficult these days," Kate says. "There's a lot more exams and pressure to get into university.

"Listening to a band like MCR is a cathartic thing. And I suppose emo style is meant to be about standing out, looking different - even if all the other emo kids are dressed the same as you."

Matthew Hirons, a 22-year-old web developer from Stourport-on-Severn, is even more phlegmatic. He suggests that the critics take the music far more seriously than the fans.

"People say emo is all about depression and suicide," he says. "But I'm a happy person. I've got a girlfriend and a good job. I just like the music and the fashion.

"I think anyone over 25 will find it hard to understand what it's all about. Even I'm a bit past it for an emo, to be honest."

The Times article is far better however with a wideranging article on the problems of emos in South America. But why no mention of emo attacks in the UK?

Emo kids are under attack.
Times Online, UK - 29 May 2008

Coincidentally, Mexico is one country that has recently experienced a wave of antiemo attacks. The emo cult is growing throughout Latin America, and its followers are regularly subjected to abuse, prejudice and even violent attack. They are seen as homosexual, antisocial poseurs, weird and fanatical. In March antiemo attacks swept through Mexico.

On March 7 a mob of 800 in the city of Queretaro went looking for emos to beat up. On March 15, a silent march against the attacks, organised by a gay rights group, was staged in the same city.

In Chile there are reports of skin-heads attacking emo kids. In São Paulo, Brazil, emo teenagers report regular attacks, especially in the city’s poorer Eastern suburbs. In Lima, Peru, a gang of anarchist punks recently attacked emos, kidnapping one who was kicked and punched before he was rescued.

For South American emos, the appeal is more about identity, means of expression, and style. Especially for those in the continent’s enormous urban sprawls, where the increasing economic boom means that families have internet and cable television but where there are few outlets for increasingly sophisticated teenage youth.

This is clear in the shabby, nondescript Galeria Brasil in Lima, situated on the edge of the city’s drab, grimy, suburban sprawl. It’s one of Peru’s most famous destinations for rock fans. But this grubby concrete mall, with its CD and T-shirt shops, looks like a Hackney tower block. Teenagers idle out their afternoons playing out-of-date video games for 25p an hour. Looking around, it’s easy to see why a cult about teenage identity and isolation might spread so quickly.

Jimmy Carrillo, a Peruvian TV reporter, profiled emos recently. “The emo movement is very strong here in Lima,” he says. “It’s a new movement. It’s very colourful, weird, very estranged from other movements.” Emo is gaining ground in poorer, transitional barrios such as Villa El Salvador and Los Olivos, where people are open to the influence of American rock and MTV. But the prejudice against the perceived homosexuality of emos runs deep. “This is a very macho country. So homosexuality is taboo,” Carrillo says. Anarcho punks particularly hate them. “They hate homosexuals. And they look at the emos as people who stole ideas and music. It’s a double punch.”

Junior Medina, 20, is a singer in Lima’s hottest emo band Ediana. “We are called gays, queers, pussies, faggots,” he says. “The lyrics are one cause, because they are romantic, about heartbreak.” Their followers are accused of being poseurs. “Emos are more concerned about the way they look,” Medina says, fiddling with his floppy fringe.

Yet Latin American emos are fighting back. In March Medina took part in a studio debate for the Peruvian TV chat show Enemigos Intimos, in which emos were heavily satirised. “That was fake,” he says. Realising some of the other emo participants were imposters, he waited until 1am, and filmed two of the vacant emo teenagers – actually channel employees – leaving work. Medina posted the video on YouTube. The national newspaper El Comercio ran an exposé and the show’s producers were forced to apologise.

“Emo isn’t emotional, it’s just queer,” is a popular saying among fashionable youth in Brazil’s most style-conscious city, São Paulo. When the cult hit the city in 2006, homemade “comedy” videos appeared on YouTube showing how to lynch an emo.

The assumption among many Brazilians is that emos are gay, unsociable, and self-centred – none of which goes down well in this conservative, sociable country. Victor Sousa, 20, is a former emo and he encountered plenty of prejudice, he says. “The homosexual prejudice is unfair. People say that, but it isn’t true for everyone.”

Typical of emo’s critics is Ligia Terceira, 30, a salesperson in Shopping Tatuapé, a vast, hectic mall in Zona Leste, São Paulo, where many emos gather and where many are attacked. “Many of them look like homosexuals,” he says. “It seems they don’t like people. They exclude themselves from society. They have closed minds; they’re radical and fanatical.”

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