How Much Damage Has Twilight Done To Goth?

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In our last meeting, Gothic Council member Paul Fredric of Asmodeus X said the following...

As a gothic union or lobby we'd definitely have a large stake in all things vampiric. How about a class-action lawsuit again the Twilight movies and novels for trying to misrepresent vampires as GQ nice-guy vegans? My grandmother is more vampiric than Robert Pattinson.

Though Fredric's suggestion was not acted upon in the Council's haste to formally recognize Johnny Cash as goth, his words can be ignored no longer. The film series is blissfully coming to an end, but can we really breathe easy?

After all, our own Godfather of Goth himself, Peter Murphy, made a cameo in the last flick. Does that lend the series goth credibility, or was it just a one-off in-joke for Hunger fans?

Gothtopia went into the bathroom, and by chanting Ian Curtis's name five times we summoned the Gothic Council to ask, "Just how much damage has Twilight done to goth?"

Joining the Council this week is Sarah Fanning, founder of Punky Moms, goth fashion designer Batty, and gory dessertier Lynda Rouner.

Sarah Fanning: I would like to credit the popularity of my tits for the success of our last Council meeting.

Gothtopia: The chair recognizes Sarah's tits for their promotion efforts. Can we get to the question at hand, please?

Fanning: I really see Twilight as more of a product of emo culture than goth.

Lynda Rouner: The question is [not] what it's a product of, it's has its existence done damage to gothic image?

Fanning: I get that. I wasn't clear in my meaning. I feel that Twilight really resonates more with the younger, more emo crowd, and is shunned by the goths.

I'm ashamed to say I have seen these movies. My 6-year-old was begging to be allowed to watch vampire movies. She's seen Buffy and Angel, and some old-school Bela Lugosi Dracula films. She heard about Twilight from our stylist at the salon and was nagging me about watching it because it has vampires and Sharkboy. So, I screened them first then let her watch the first one.

I was happy that she likes Alice - the gothiest of the characters, and in my opinion, the one with the best personality and [who] is well-balanced and not a total emo-freakjob like many of the others. Edward and Bella make me want to duct tape their mouths shut. He is over-the-top emo, and she is unstable. If my daughter ever behaves like Bella, I may have to commit her... but neither Edward or Bella are goth.

This leads me to a conversation my husband and I had the other night while I was watching an Angel episode. He remarked that Darla looked awful preppy, and doesn't that harm the goth image? My response was no. Just because something has vampires, it does not mean it is goth. If that were the case, Scream Blacula, Scream would be considered goth... I think this misconceived notion that vampires equals goth is the real problem...

Back to Twilight equals goth... the closest it comes to goth was Peter Murphy's role.

When I heard Peter Murphy was doing a cameo, I was horrified. But after much thought, I decided that maybe it wasn't a bad thing. Maybe some young fans would be intreagued by him and discover his music... he could be the gateway drug into gothdom for some.

Batty: I don't see the Twilight thing as damaging goth per se. It's like anything else that has been the trend with the kids over the years, it might be misleading, but it is a round about way to introduce them to a subculture they might not be aware of. While Twilight leans more to the normals or emo kids, it might lead a rare few to actually explore our subculture further than a "Team Edward" shirt at Hot Topic.

As a clothing designer I kinda like it whenever a new trend involves the gothic subculture loosely because that means more money for me as things get popular again. Unfortunately Twilight has horrific fashion, and I really hope that in the future goth doesn't become about wearing plaid flannels, jeans, and sneakers because of it.

But again, it's appealing to the Abercrombie set, which is actually kinda genius because it's totally sucked them in, so if a few good recruits don't come to the dark side because of it, at least it makes for a great chuckle.

Lynda Rouner: Personally, I think the whole Twilight story is some weird Mormom allegory for overcoming homosexually by "finding the right girl." That aside, the whole appeal of Twilight is the same appeal that The Lost Boys had.

You end up treating monsters like they're misunderstood and cuddly, and then it becomes very very apparent that they are still monsters. They kill you. They endanger you. It doesn't matter how young and pretty they are. That dangerous, on-the-edge element is inherent in most things in the gothic image. It's the attraction to a fear of the dark.

In that regard, Twilight is fairly goth, but it's still the teenage, lame goth phase most of us go through on the way to a less eye-rolling style. I'd say its damage is minimal.

Gothtopia: The ruling of the Council is that Twilight has not done any significant damage to the image of goth, just to our respect for cinema and literature.

Peter Murphy plays Underworld's 12th anniversary party tomorrow night at Numbers.

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