June 2, 2008

Now look what you've done

There's no doubt that words have power, especially when they're amplified even by the lowly newspaper.

Case in point: Last week, Britain's Daily Mail ran a story about a thirteen–year–old girl who took her own life. It seems that a fortnight before she hung herself, Hannah Bond had discovered the "emo" ("emotional hardcore") rock of My Chemical Romance, an American band which has a strong following on both sides of the Atlantic, not to mention major label support (Warner Bros. Records).

Apparently, the Mail's Tom Rawstorne struck some raw nerves with his story. Just the title itself — "Why no child is safe from the sinister cult of emo" — would pretty much sum up his feelings — or those of his editors — on the subject.

At the heart of the disputed article is concern and worry shared by adults in general about whether or not young minds are able to deal with the dark imagery conveyed by bands such as MCR. (There is more on the topic over at National Public Radio's website.)

Of course, this is hardly something new. Parents and other adults have always had a misunderstanding about rock music (and other entertainments popular with the young). They've had a hangup with the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Chubby Checker, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan… it's nothing new. And if you access conservative cultural groups such as Focus on the Family, you will still find "experts" so determined to be the last word on the subject.

Here, it was the Daily Mail's "suicide cult" line that angered MCR fans in the UK so much that on Saturday May 31st, a good number of them marched from London's Hyde Park to the paper's own headquarters on Derry Street — some armed with placards and signs emblazoned with such words as "I'm not afraid to keep on living" and "We're not a cult, we're an army — the MCRMY."

They even have one media entity — NME (otherwise known as New Music Express) — in their corner.

And that's not all.

The British music community portal Audiojunkies arrived with a video crew to record the protest, and now we have a trailer for what is now being promised as Emo: The Movie:








2008 Audiojunkies.

For the record {ahem}, here is a link to the protest website.

And don't expect this one to go away anytime soon.

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