Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bad media coverage

My media environment seems to be awash in hysteria about (a) the Internet (b) emo subculture, and (c) the Internet and emo subculture of late. I had the misfortune of having my intelligence insulted when someone presented me with this woefully bad Today Tonight segment on the emo subculture in the wake of the double suicide of two teen girls in Melbourne. Last night my lecturer suggested watching Difference of Opinion on ABC as it was covering issues concerning new media, and both my boyfriend and I found it so cringe-worthy that we had to stop.

I'm no longer youth, but I was part of an "alternative" subculture, as well as currently being a heavy user of the Internet, and really, the reporting conventions for "evil youth subculture" don't change much. Henry Jenkins wrote a post on a similarly overblown US report on the emo subculture in "Dissecting a Media Scare", which basically describes Today Tonight's coverage as well - the only real difference being that Repentant Recanter didn't get a play in the Australian coverage, while Overwrought And Overtaxed Parent did. I guess the goth kids are feeling kind of thankful that they're not in the media cross-hairs this time, although they probably shouldn't relax just yet with headlines like "Drug use and gothic culture led to WA murder" starting to crop up.

The emo kids themselves are for their part distinctly unimpressed. Here's one Myspace user who seems to think that the trouble he's facing in life stems far more from the "concern" adults show at his subcultural identity than it does from the subcultural identity itself. I can just hear the cries of thousands of misunderstood teenagers facing off against their newly concerned Today Tonight-watching parents with that old teen trope "why can't you just let me be who I am?!!".

As for Difference of Opinion's "The Digital Revolution: Communications Breakthrough or Breakdown?", I really think it's the adult "experts" that have got things wrong there. The main argument against youth adoption of new media was the claim that they didn't understand the full implications of what those media were capable of doing. I respectfully disagree: I think they understand the implications better than those of us who haven't grown up immersed in them by virtue of having more experience with them, and perhaps also by having no preconceptions about how they "ought" to work.


James said...

You really think we're going to miss subtle references to "boyfriend"?

This must explain why you're not blogging much lately!

Congrats :) I look forward to hearing more!

Z said...

I've been busy, yes, balancing work, uni and a newly-expanded personal life. It sort of crept on me but - yes, I'm no longer single.

Thanks. :)