The thing about emo (as a musical genre and a cultural phenomenon) is, I think, that it was a response to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and the Bush administration’s painful mishandling thereof.
No, I’m serious. My Chemical Romance was formed as a direct result of Gerard Way witnessing the towers fall. Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ (an album that, at least as far as I can tell from having been a teenager in Canada at the time, was seminal in influencing the look and sound of emo) is all about the Bush administration – all the lyrics are about life under a democratic dystopia and many reference current events from the time – and it came out in 2004, halfway through the Bush presidency. A bunch of Linkin Park’s stuff makes reference to it also, especially their album ‘Minutes to Midnight’, where they first started moving out of the nu-metal/rap sound they’d been working with before and into a more mainstream emo-rock sound. That album came out in 2007. All of the really big bands with that kind of sound – and most of the smaller ones with more of a punk/hardcore sound but similar themes – were active in the mainstream from around 2001-2010. Many of them didn’t survive past 2009, and those that did either totally reinvented themselves (Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, MCR for the five minutes it took to produce Danger Days, Linkin Park) or became near-totally irrelevant (Paramore dropped an album sometime in the last two years; did any of you know that? And Green Day haven’t mattered since 21st Century Breakdown, which was released in 2009).
Why? Well, many of you are probably too young to remember this, but the 2001 terror attacks were what really made ‘Islamic terrorism’ a real threat in the minds of most Westerners. We’d never experienced an attack of that scale on American soil, and it was just as the internet was really becoming a mainstay in every house and my generation was getting online. As a result, it was not only a major political event, but it was hugely personal – the coverage was everywhere, in everybody’s home, all the time, and there were a lot of kids being exposed to the coverage in such a way that they often had no good way to process it. I’m not exaggerating when I say it changed the way we live. I’m Canadian and I felt this shit. Before, we could fly to America domestic, without a passport. Now? Half the draconian, ridiculous rules that hold you up at the TSA today were initiated in September and October of 2001. It was the only thing anyone could think of to do – lock down, protect your own. People were scared, on a continental scale.
And to make matters worse, George W. Bush’s government, which had to somehow respond to and take point in the response to this unprecedented event, didn’t seem to have the first foggiest clue what they were doing. This was a government that not only didn’t seem to listen to its people, not only lied blatantly to its people, but did it badly. They made hugely unpopular decisions, including starting a war in the Middle East that dragged in multiple countries and completely failed to achieve its stated goal of catching Osama bin Laden or proving that he had in his control weapons of mass destruction (the whole war was predicated on the fact that these so-called weapons of mass destruction existed, that the Bush administration had good reason to believe that they existed, were under the control of the Taliban, and were going to be used against Western targets, none of which was ever proven to be true).
So, from 2001-2009, the two (TWO) full terms of the Bush presidency, there were a whole lot of people who couldn’t vote (be they under the age of majority, like most of the emo kids I knew, or Canadians unhappily dragged along with the US’ boneheaded foreign policy decisions because we’re allies, also like most of the emo kids I knew) and therefore felt, not only scared of basically the impending end of their world in a way that they hadn’t previously had to feel, and not only angry about being clearly lied to and clumsily manipulated when the truth was obvious to anyone with eyes, but also powerless to do anything to change anything about that. And meanwhile, people kept dying in this pointless war and the president kept trying to hold together the illusion that everything was hunky-dory.
And what was popular with teenagers from about 2001-2009? Yep. Emo.
Emo as a genre was very personal, very focused on the individual (with the exception of the albums I noted above), but lyrically and musically, it fit right with the cultural atmosphere of the time. People were scared of the impending end of their world/their lives? Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and The Black Parade. People were angry about things they felt powerless to change? From Under The Cork Tree and Decemberunderground. Emo captured what kids were feeling about trying to fit into a world that was so clearly fucked up and broken and pretending to be okay, putting on a strong face to Show The Terrorists They Didn’t Win. Emo was about stripping away the mask, exposing the messy, angry, frightened, sad, true underbelly of American society at the time, and exposing hypocrisy – in individuals as much as in politicians. The hatred of ‘preps’ and ‘posers’? Totally not just a My Immortal thing. Emo was about wearing your heart on your sleeve, about it being okay to mourn, to rage, to be afraid for your life beyond this – and to keep moving forward regardless, step by slow step.
So what changed in 2009 that made the phenomenon fade without so much as a whimper? Simple. Hope. The Audacity of Hope, to be exact.
Barack Obama won his presidency largely because young people supported him. Those were the young people who suffered through feeling helpless and powerless under Bush, who wanted things to change but felt they had no chance of making it so. Barack Obama was a chance. One of his first campaign promises was to end the Iraq war, a promise he followed through on. And even if his presidency hasn’t been perfect, it has never been the Bush administration, with the feeling that the will of the people was being entirely and quietly ignored by those in power to further their own agendas.
What I am saying, then, I guess, is that it’s time to buy stocks in Hot Topic, because whatever happens in the upcoming US presidential election, there are a lot of young people who may soon be needing black, white, and red graphic band tees and Manic Panic hair dye.
From someone who was in American high school in 2001, we were also incredibly terrified for at least the early Bush years. We were all pretty sure that the draft could possibly be reinstated and we could get sucked into the war. Some of my friends and I had plans on how best to get Don’t Ask, Don’t Telled out of the draft. We were all absolutely terrified of the prospect.
concept: a TV show with a dark, tragic, fucked-up beginning that steadily gets happier and lighter and more hopeful as the seasons go on, the narrative arc premised on healing and growth instead of a “gritty” downspiral, the challenges faced in each season finale leaving the characters in a progressively better place. nobody queer dies, and the worst things we ever see after season 1 all happen in flashbacks to events preceding the now.
It’s a very distinctive plotline.
‘staring into the camera like you’re on the office’ is such an interesting cultural phenomenon because it points to one of my very favorite things in pop culture, which is the use of commonly known fictional situations to indicate an emotion or context that is extremely specific and can’t necessarily be communicated with language alone.
why do characters on the office look into the camera? on the office, the characters are being filmed as part of a documentary; they understand they are being filmed and can acknowledge that fourth wall and those theoretical future viewers. but because the office is a comedy, that fourth wall acknowledgement is not about explaining motivations or gaining approval for an action, but about sharing an agreement with a group of people who are not actually there.
characters on the office look into the camera when something ridiculous is happening that no one in the room thinks is ridiculous but the person looking at the camera, were they to say ‘this is so ridiculous’ to the people in the room, their comrades in fiction, they would get serious pushback or anger; to those characters the situation is serious. the character looking into the camera is a more objective viewer, like the audience, and by looking at us they’re putting themselves on our objective team. and in the future when this ‘documentary’ would air, they would be vindicated as the person who understood that the situation was ridiculous.
so in real life, when we talk about ‘looking into the camera like we’re on the office’, this very specific emotion is what we’re referring to: that we’re in a situation that any objective viewer would find inherently ridiculous, and are seeking acknowledgement from an invisible but much larger group that would agree with us, even though nobody in the situation would do so. we’re putting ourselves in an outsider position, a less emotional position, and inherently a more powerful position, because we’re not vulnerable to being laughed at like all the ridiculous people we’re among. we’re among them, but we’re not with them, and the millions of people watching us on theoretical tv would be on our team, not theirs. that’s such a specific idea and concept, and one that’s really hard to communicate in pure language. but we can say ‘looking into the camera like we’re on the office’ and it’s much easier to communicate what we mean.
for me that’s what pop culture is for, and why it’s so important that it’s pop culture. maybe it feels more special if it’s only you and a grape who know that something exists, but the more people consume something, the more its situations and reactions become common knowledge, a sort of communal well from which we can draw to articulate real life problems. and ultimately, the easier it is for us to communicate and understand each other.
One of the things I love about Leverage is how all of the main male characters are giant middle fingers to toxic masculinity.
Like, Nate is shown to suffer through his grief, coping through alcohol, and he’s not portrayed as weak for his emotions.
You think Eliot would be the most obnoxiously masculine person in the show, being a former military black ops dude who busts heads for a living. But he isn’t! He’s passionate about cooking, he loves kids, even when he sleeps around he treats all of those women with an equal amount of respect; when Hardison is affectionate with him he often denies his small moments of reciprocity but instead of getting violent (”gay panic”) he simply goes “Dammit Hardison!” and is embarrassed because Hardison usually does it to embarrass him in front of a girl he’s flirting with, but he’s never ashamed or humiliated.
Speaking of Hardison.
My dearest, beloved marshmallow.
The most loving and affectionate member of the team is a black man. This guy hacked the bank of Iceland to pay his foster mom’s hospital bills. He plays the violin, he paints, and he just feels so much empathy for the people they help. He’s the first one to go in for a hug, the first one to admit his feelings, this funny and delightful man who is so fiercely protective and loving. He owns up to his weaknesses, admits when he needs someone, is so supportive of his team. The first one on the team to call them a family!
Sometimes I just randomly think about Leverage and want to cry because I have never seen another show that does characters the way Leverage does.
you know, mostly I love the way Castiel is presented in fandom. but sometimes I miss seeing the side of Cas that isn’t just cheery and bumbling and sweet-mannered. I love the old bad-tempered, overdramatic whiny pissbaby Cas. this is the creature who bitched and complained constantly, and whose first instinct upon hearing the Apocalypse had arrived was to suggest they all get piss-drunk and lie down on the ground and wait to die.
where’s the high school AU where Cas is a melodramatic bitter asshole like ‘I failed this test. what’s the point. I’m going to drown myself in the water fountain’ where’s the coffee shop AU where someone gets Cas’ order wrong and instead of being a cutie about it he just stares bleakly into his styrofoam cup like ‘i guess it’ll do. i guess it won’t matter when we all eventually turn to the abyss. then again, by that logic, nothing really matters’ or the cute teacher AU where he teaches philosophy and gives all the kids existential crises being like ‘well, technically, nothing is real. and our concept of human life is arbitrary and entirely meaningless……. your paper is due Thursday’
Kalique scoping out her sort-of mother’s sort-of boyfriend.
my headcanon for this scene is Kalique took one look at Caine who battle-parkoured shirtless into her private residence to hold her at gunpoint, and then at Jupiter and the way they looked at eachother
and let them go with minimal fuss
and went to order a ticket to some ludicrously expensive vacation spot for herself
‘My Lady, what about your plans to usurp your traitor brothers and take over their fortunes?’ says Maladictes.
‘Nevermind that,’ says Kalique. ‘You know, it’s been ages since I had a proper massage.’
One week later she’s hanging out by the pool sipping on a fancy cocktail when the news comes in that Balem is dead, Titus is in the slammer for attempted kidnapping and obstructing justice, and Jupiter and Caine are making out on a roof somewhere.
Kalique smiles to herself. She’s now the only living heir of the Abrasax line, still in Jupiter’s good graces, and all she had to do was step back and let everyone else do the work for her.
#this line out of context seems like an excerpt from the kinkiest fic your ever had the privilege of stumbling across#this like IN context also sounds like that#I’m sorry this is straight up the most sexually complex proposal ever heard in a so-called kids film#IN ANY FILM#i could write essays on the consent dynamics that this implies and the delicious world of possibilities it implies#for a grown up Sarah should she decide to revisit later on her own terms#(which is the only way Jareth would have it any way – hence the emphasis on her needed to choose)#(over and over and over)#left or right up or down stay or go take the crystal forget the baby look what I’m offering you#but none of it means a thing unless she chooses it#he’ll rig the game as far as he dares but when the message comes that the girl is at the gate on her way to get Toby#he’s genuinely scared – call out the guard! take the baby and hide it! – because he knows she is a danger#he’s an all powerful probably immortal wizard and king – but he knows that her choice is the pin that can undo him#KIDS MOVIE(harrietvane)
We the generation who grew up on this movie turned out to be an interesting bunch of people, let’s put it that way.