Charles, so far we have absolutely NO evidence that these kids were racists hell bent on killing blacks. the evidence you have is that they wore goth clothes, listened to goth music, wore german crosses and nazi insignia. guess what? that explains nothing. what students wear these days may or may not have anything to do with their political beliefs. goth subculture is not necessarily nazi. and fucking hell but i loved the clash and brought their music to my peers in highschool: all over my hs yearbooks--the swastika. but i sure as hell wasn't a neo nazi. nor were these kids necessarily because goth fashion incorporates some nazi symbolism. hang out in a school some day, hang out with 19-22 yr olds like i do. ask them.
so far, i have no evidence that they were aberrantly racists in a neo-nazi sense. and when i'm presented with some evidence then i might concede your point insofar as they are racists. but insofar as this was some sort of racist shooting spree in general. i'm still not convinced.
right now, i suspect that they were more than likely attracted to the symbolism of it because it gave them a form of symbolic power that made their lives more bearable in some way. surely they were racists, we all are. but you have yet to produce anything other than an all too common epithet hurled at a young black man just before they shot him. like kirsten i've read a lot of the media dn searched for alternative sources, talked with my friend in denver who is by no means outside of the loop when it comes to these issues. and, as far as i can gather, *so far* racial hatred just wasn't a major contributing factor in this incident. that's what he knows based on the alternative musician/artist community in Denver, not what he knows through mainstream media. again, rumors and unsubstantiated but hey are you going to tell me that the media is somehow MORE reliable after your diatribe against the mainstream media?
so, let's look at what we do know. MY MAIN POINT, again, if it were about their hatred of blacks, jews, latino/as then they surely would have found a way to kill these groups of people --very easy to do in a school like Columbine. you must know that the social structure of a school is highly segregated. two smart young men could have easily figured out where to go in order to kill a lot of black students. but they went to the library and i have no doubt that they do so knowing that certain people would be in that room at the time. yes, they were after one person in particular but they were also after jocks. and to just dismiss that seems ridiculous. every newspaper account i've read has pointed out that they were after Isiaah, that there'd been a run in with Harris before.
what i'm pissed about in the media representation of this is that they have dismissed the shooting of a black student and the use of the word n-word and, indeed, the entire incident by attributing it to their connections to some neo-nazi youth cult. skinheads *are* big in Denver. but these kids were goths. not skinheads.
the report from the denver on line news indicated that someone had complained about harris already, turning over 15 pages of material associated with the harrassment of their son. no where did they mention that it was about race. i seriously doubt that they'd leave that out of it because the tendency is to want to explain this in terms of individual level explanations and what better way than to point to an aberrant racism connected with neo-nazism. the media and ordinary USers will be relieved to think that that are neo=nazis. they will want to perpetuate that story and play for all it's worth. and you know damn well why: because it's easy to think that there's was an aberrant form of racism associated with Hitler and Nazi's rather than something quite a bit more complex.
i find this really troubling. over and over, i read versions of this: "how could this happen. such normal boys. such a wonderful community" yadda yadda. answer: skinhead connection. and based on incredibly little evidence it seems to me.
what speaks loud and clear to me is what i've said over and over: if they wanted to kill blacks or any other ethnic group then they could easily have done so. they planned this out. they were in that building for over five hours.
it is absurd to tell kirsten that you see nothing wrong with overemphasizing racism. it is absurb because it only fuels the fires of those who are already extraordinarily and aberrantly racist and it only confirms the suspcions of those who are just yer normal racists that the left is comprised of a bunch of PC wankers who'd rather grind an axe on any media event rather than take the time to provide nuanced, complex, sohpisticated analyses of the conjunction of racism and capitalist exploitation and oppression.
(btw, an anti defamation league reported that they found the website reputedly created by one of the shooters and they didn't find it alarming enough to attend to. that doesn't mean i think that having a website with racist hateful language on it is a good thing, but it does suggest that their entire lives weren't wrapped up in the ideology of nazism.)
Goth Genres, Fringe Rock and Germany
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By TODD S. PURDUM
OS ANGELES -- Like generations of teen-age misfits and outcasts before them, the post-pubescent gunmen in the Colorado school shootings apparently found comfort in the words of the darker bards of their age -- in this case in the depressive, anarchic, nihilistic and suicidal musings of the disparate strands of fringe rock music genres known as Goth and industrial.
It is not clear that either of the presumed gunmen firmly identified himself as a Goth or industrial adherent or that their musical tastes had anything to do with the shootings. But schoolmates said that at least one of the two wore a baseball cap with the logo of the popular industrial band KMFDM, and he apparently posted its apocalyptic lyrics on what other described as a personal Web page.
Goth, shorthand for Gothic, grew out of the ashes of punk-rock in Britain in the late 1970's, and later took root in Los Angeles under the rubric of "death rock." Industrial music flowered in Northern Europe and North America beginning in the 1980's on the theory that the everyday mechanical sounds of the modern age could be captured, recorded and manipulated into music that questioned authority and orthodoxy.
The two genres have since spread from urban underground clubs to suburban fans. The styles sometimes overlap and not even their adherents can agree on precisely how to categorize artists and bands.
But the essence of Goth is "very depressing, kill-yourself music," said Ali Ohta, the director of publicity for Cleopatra Records, the nation's largest Goth label, based in Los Angeles.
Eric Harris, one of the two suspected gunmen, was described as maintaining a Web page and user profile on America Online in which he quoted lyrics of KMFDM, which was founded in Germany and whose name is shorthand for "Kein Mehrheit für die Mitleid," which the band's Web site translates as "No pity for the majority."
KMFDM, founded by Sascha Konietzko in Paris in 1984 in a performance that featured the sound of Polish coalminers banging their tools, has been based in the Pacific Northwest and Canada in recent years. It broke up in January and released its last album, "Adios," on Tuesday, the day of the shootings, according to its official site on the World Wide Web.
One of the band's past songs, "Piggybank," included the lyric, "If I had a shotgun, I'd blow myself to hell."
The two suspected gunmen were reported to have harbored a hatred for minorities and a fascination with Hitler. But Nicole Blackman, a former spokeswoman for KMFDM, said emphatically that the band did not subscribe to racist or neo-Nazi views.
Ms. Blackman said the band's message was "rip the system," but added: "I can't understand how a couple of kids in Colorado in black trench coats could think that KMFDM's message is to go out and shoot people."
touch yourself and you will know that i exist. ~luce irigaray