BY VICE STAFF, PHOTOS BY MAURICIO GARCÍA
Legend has it that the whole thing started after the MTV Mexico program Telehit aired an episode with the topic “What is an emo?” The host of the show, an uglier version of Mark McGrath named Kristoff, gave one of those precious talk-show “Let me break it down for you” speeches in which he made crushingly acute observations about emos, such as “Emo is for people who are just starting to grow pubic hair” and “Emos only like a band because the lead singer is cute.” Not really amazing burns, but whatever. Still, his little quips started a war. Shortly after the airing of the episode, the proverbial kids organized an emo-versus-punk showdown at one of the main emo stomping grounds: the Glorieta de Insurgentes in Mexico City.
The day of the face-off, about 200 kids showed up, guarded by about the same number of police officers. The emos lined up on one side and chanted creative things like “Emos, emos, emos!!” and the “punks” (who look like extras from a Billy Idol video) were all like, “DIE!” Then the emos were like, “FUCK YOU!” and the punks were like, “FUCKIN’ FAGS!” and then they threw plastic bottles at each other, made threatening gestures with studded belts, and gave interviews to eager journalists on the sidelines. After two hours of this, a group of robed Hare Krishnas playing drums and singing into loudspeakers happened to gambol through the crowd and the kids dispersed.
My amusement at the whole thing transformed into sheer dismay when I started reading about the creation of emo/punk tolerance committees. Telehit invited special guests to participate in a televised roundtable on emo-ness. The media got all hot for talking about “warring urban tribes,” and suddenly kids who flatiron their hair and dance in front of the mirror to Avril Lavigne were at press conferences talking about discrimination, justice, and their “movement” against fascism. Um… What? While we always knew punks were full of shit for talking about politics, now 14-year-old kids are mobilizing for the right to wear Nightmare Before Christmas t-shirts and talk about feelings? Ugh.
Emo and anti-emo blogs alike teem with commentaries written in the hardly legible hieroglyphics of their particular subculture. Kids with usernames like Kristoffemokiller and harrypotterpunk infilitrate emo sites and wax poetic about how emos are just “copying them” and that if they are so depressed why don’t they just kill themselves? Users like ++AnGElhEart++ and NoTeXistlOvE then go on rants about “emo tolerance” or settle on calling all the haters “fascist-scumbags-times-infinity, no givebacks.”
What is really fucked, though, is not that kids are calling each other fascists but that it’s providing (yet another) platform for the media to air their boring fears and pontificate about the dangers of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll. Child psychiatrists love this shit because they get to feel important schooling parents in “early suicide warning signs,” academics love it because they get to circulate obtuse sociological terms to the masses, and the baby-pushing breeders love it because they get to feel silent satisfaction in the fact that their children aren’t like those kids. All of these ridiculous spectacles of discussing and understanding the “emo debate” smack of the kind of multiculti marinade that makes us feel (shamefully) moved by Oprah specials.
In other words, the emos-versus-punks thing is NO BIG FUCKING DEAL, both sides are rife with little baby poser kids, and everyone needs to swallow a chill pill or a chill taco or something. OK? Thanks.