When Rivalries Go Out of Control

June 15, 2009

Last year, metal and punk fans ran amok in Mexico beating up emo fans. It got so bad that the emo kids had to get police protection. It seems that the metalheads got so pissed off at the emos constantly talking about how life sucked and suicide was better that they decided to help them along:

Via the Austin American Statesmen, several postings on Mexican social-networking sites, primarily organising spot for these “emo hunts,” have been dug up and translated. One states: “I HATE EMOS!!! They are not even people, they are so stupid, they cry over meaningless things… My school is infested with them, I want to kill them all!”

Another says: “We’ve never seen all the urban tribes unite against one single tribe before… Emos, their way of thinking is for crap, if you are so depressed please do us all a favour and kill yourselves!”

The whole thing has two important implications.

The first is that Richard Dawkins is wrong. Do you remember how after 9/11 he had an essay which said that religion is a convenient label for identity formation and so drives violence? But alas, identity formation doesn’t depend on religious indoctrination by your parents. People find ways to choose their own identities (metalhead, punk, goth, emo), and then cheerfully slaughter each other over them. So it goes. (Kunal also helpfully points me to this pertinent Penny Arcade quote: “Policing the output of our cultural apparatus for wrongthink is a pleasant occupation for young men with surplus energy.”)

The second implication is that we in India have dodged a major bullet. Can you imagine if the Lata Mangeshkar/ Asha Bhosle rivalry had spiralled out of control? If it was fought not between O P Nayyar and Naushad but gangs of fanatical fans, ready to spill blood (their own or others) over the issue of who had recorded more songs or whose pitch was more controlled? The result would have been sheer carnage.

Even more horrifyingly, it would eventually have resulted in a Romeo and Juliet or West Side Story sort of situation. A guy from the Lata didi fan club would fall for a girl from the Asha tai fan club. After five acts, they would both die, but not before Bappi Lahiri too perished in the violence, shouting “A plague o’ both your houses!” with his dying breath. Then finally the two fan clubs meet and their differences are mediated by a Kishoreda fan. But unfortunately by that time the plague would have incarnated as Himesh Reshammiya.

Bonnie and Clyde Fundaes

April 18, 2008

First, via Popagandhi on twitter, I discover this astonishing story:

Two lesbian lovers, one who drank blood as part of a vampire culture, were sentenced to life in prison on Friday for what an Australian judge said was the “evil” killing of a girl they bludgeoned to death with a concrete block.

Jessica Stasinowsky, 21, and Valerie Parashumti, 19, pleaded guilty to murdering 16-year-old Stacey Mitchell in Perth in western Australia in 2006 because she was annoying, reported Australian Associated Press form the court in Perth.

(International Herald Tribune)

There is no possible smartarse comment I can make about this that can match the story itself.

Next, on silklist, I discover this story about a couple fighting… over which gang their child should join:

A couple arguing about which gang their 4-year-old toddler should join caused a public disturbance that resulted in the father’s arrest, Commerce City police said Thursday, reported KMGH-TV in Denver.

His girlfriend told police that they had been arguing about the upbringing of their son and which gang he should belong to. The teen mother, who is black, told authorities she is a member of the Crips, police said. Manzanares is Hispanic and belongs to the Westside Ballers gang, the woman told police.


I will make smartarse comments about this story. We now know what would have happened if West Side Story had had a happy ending after all – five years later, Tony and Maria would be arguing about whether Tony Jr. should be a Jet or a Shark. This would be interspersed with many many songs and throwing of dishes.