Friday, August 1, 2008

Middle-American Gothic - Jonathon Ames

- - Abby - -

I had the weirdest de ja vu while reading this article. I have either read it before or read something similar (possibly by Klosterman…) I have a few complaints:

1. How did I not know about GothicFest? It was near Chicago! People I know should have been there!
2. How did the author not go home with a crazy bloodsucking goth chick? Even if he struck out 14 times, there was definitely an evil young thing there for him, or he could have lied and said there was.
3. I’m surprised he wasn’t converted. GothicFest sounded fun. He could have become a weekend goth.

Beyond that, I just thought the article could have used a little closure, it was short, and I didn’t really catch a strong theme or opinion that tied it together. Especially since in the beginning he talks about how he is, in some ways, a counter-culture freak.

I was also amused by his comment about the Midwest breeding serial killers. Its funny because its true, and also because his last name is Ames (Ames being the Iowa city my mother grew up in and where my parents met.) So while I didn't love the article, it was an amusing read.

- - MiRanda - -
(Sorry it took me so long to post, I'm a lazy ass that spent the whole day watching Spaced in bed)
The article, originally featured in Spin magazine, is a good magazine article. It's well written and amusing, but in the end, it's just a good magazine article.
My problem with it, and maybe this is what the writer was going for, is that he can't quite decide if gothic fest is something to be mocked. The tone of the article switches between varying degrees of mockery and sympathy. The article is at it's most sympathetic when Ames tells about meeting Marc, a goth kid with an abusive, disapproving father. It's at its most mocking when Ames meets Rain:
"Excuse me, could I interview you?" I ask.
"Sure," he says, "They call me Rain."
"Who's they?"
"The people at my college[...]."
"Are you still in college?"
"No, I'm thirty."
Ames meets many more people throughout his day at the festival, all of them self-proclaimed "nonconformists." Perhaps my real problem with the article is the fact that my real opinion of the goth scene, at least as it existed in my high school, is a bunch of whiny kids who strive for individuality by dressing and acting exactly alike. Oh, the irony.
In the end, I really thought Ames was going to go for some sort of "I've misjudged this whole group all along" shtick. As he's leaving, he sees a man with spikes on his head and asks the man if the spikes are screwed into his head. the man replies by pulling a bottle of glue out of his pocket and saying "I'm not dumb, you know." But then Ames says something about calling all the kids outside to do a blood sacrifice, and I realize that Ames still hasn't made up his mind between understanding and mocking.
And I think that's what keeps it from becoming a great article.


Abby-Wan Kenobi said...

I agree with your sentiment, Miranda. I too wanted him to commit to either mocking or befriending. He just sort of sat on the fence all the way to the end.

miranda. said...

I kind of feel like this wasn't a good pick for the first of our Stage II series. But, obviously, it comes first in the book, so we didn't really have much of a choice. I guess it's a good warm up round.