Sure, 2008 had it’s fire and brimstone moments for emo, what with the violent outbursts in Mexico, the “cult suicide” in the U.K., and the proposed ban on the genre in Russia. But in just over a week of 2009, it appears that the name of emo is already being dragged through the mud.
This time, the culprit and location of the negative emo outburst is Australia. The Brisbane Times‘ Andrew Wight on an unfortunate incident that occurred in the fair town:
“About 11pm, police say an argument started between a group of teenagers walking along Dawson Parade and a skinny man in his early 20s with a Mohawk hairstyle and dressed in a black button-up jacket, long black socks, long black shorts and a black shirt with white braces.
The argument deteriorated into a physical altercation and police allege the man then threatened the two teenagers with a knife.”
Well, you can see where this story is headed. And with two teens in the hospital, The Brisbane Times might not be helping the case by projecting a negative and incorrect stereotype. Nowhere in the article is the word “emo” name-checked, and yet the headline blares the following:
‘Emo’ stabs teens after street fight
Granted, this may be the editors’ choice to throw emo into the article title and not necessarily Wight. But, considering journalism’s place in society is to tell people the truth and facts of a situation rather than promote sensationalist stereotypes (ok, clearly that doesn’t always work out), the headline is something an ombudsman should quickly make note of. The regalia of the attacker is that of a typical “punk” more than anything else, right down to the stereotypical mohawk. So, if anything, this is an “injustice” (I realize my argument may be trite, but it happens) to an already pervasive negative stereotype against emo. And now people will just be more confused. Moreover, that violent image will be projected on teens other than those who may identify as emo and has the potential to become something of a stigma in Australian society. Obviously, this is looking way down the line, but the editorial mis-reading of a situation where people have been harmed may cause more damage in the long run than good.