Don't Know Dick


hile the Dick Tracy comic strip has entertained millions of readers for decades with serial suspense, the latest crusade (and I mean that literally) which started March 19, 2000 is a bit misinformed. Dick Tracy is hot on the trail of the evil Goths bound and determined to take out Brent, the letterman who stole Bonnie the Goth girl and is taking her to the prom! The "Goths", surrounded by swastikas and Nosferatu posters brandish an arsenal in preparation for a Columbine sequel.

archive 3/19/00 - and counting

The stereotype perpetuated by the media sound-byte attributing the slaying of 15 students and faculty to "The Trench Coat Mafia" is by far not a new prejudice.

The choice of attire if not the slayings themselves was soon blamed upon a subculture which developed out of the post-punk 1980's. Spanning more than two decades, the choice of monochromatic black, the wearing of an ank or pentagram, and listening to music described most kindly as "dark" has resulted in crimes of violence, school suspensions, and even imprisonment for crimes without sufficient evidence as was the case in West Memphis, Arkansas.

Less involved in its anarchistic roots, this cultural forum has allowed the development of artists, writers and musicians (let's not forget the hair stylists!). The hardened edge of its facade was the thorn to the rose. While previous artistic endeavors often paled despite their validity due to the cynical criticism of the 80's, this movement used this very cynicism as a shield to harbor expressions of love, loneliness, pain, loss and disillusionment. It is often human nature to destroy what it does not understand, and to ignore what it can not destroy. Where ignored, this edge of extremism could be used to raise attention to these issues both within and without the scene. When threatened with harm, bodily or otherwise, the "dark" offered a shelter to hide till its passing. Ranging from high-school students looking for acceptance when no other social category would fit to sentimental artists looking for a sheltering medium, many, myself included would prefer to distance ourselves from the label Goth. Labels are limiting and offer extremely easy targets. This comic strip is a case in point. No one I've known in the "scene" has toted a gun. They're all trying to make their way through an inhospitable world with a bit more flourish than is commonly accepted. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've had a hard day at work (yes, and a good paying job too). In all seriousness, I'm going to bleach my hair, polish up my nose ring, get the cat hair off my black trench coat, and take my wife dancing.

Do as thou will, harm none.

C.T. Thieme

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