This has been a long time coming and I always held back from writing about my issues with the larger goth youtubers because it’s basically online goth suicide to fight them. But I mean it, they do cheat us, would be goths, elder goths, and most of all themselves out a more genuine and worthwhile goth experience.
There is a template to the whole online personality success story.
You’ve probably laughed or stared in disbelief at some of them, the mainstream YouTubers with millions of followers who suddenly lose themselves and scare their fans, or maybe the Instamodel who starved herself to look more appealing to followers so they could keep getting sponsored. Bloggers have a similar template too, but the three biggest rules of all is if you want to succeed you keep it light, keep it short, and keep it general.
I am thoroughly convinced goths don’t have to play by those rules. That was the whole point wasn’t it? We didn’t fit in with the other kids in school so we did our own thing, found other people doing a similar something and we’re so happy that being on the outside didn’t mean you had to be alone. Too mushy? Okay, fine.
They do not give a fuck about the community.
And that’s a word you’ll hear a lot of people say, argue about sometimes. But when was the last time a single one of the goth poster children mentioned an independent artist? New band? New book? How about anything that doesn’t involve getting you to buy something from one of the mass manufactured companies who don’t have a single employee who has heard of Siouxese and the Banshees? I’ll wait. It’s not like these things are in short supply, but I suppose without the reigning royalty’s approval it’s like it never fucking happened, isn’t it?
Just so you and I are clear, you do know that’s how the hashtag got started right? Before it was in the clearance section of Forever 21 because they couldn’t rebrand it as “witchy”, before actual goth clubs had to shut down and reinvent the entire format because you only looked for them on closing night, before…*sigh* I digress. The point is people showed up for people. That is the basis of the entire goth culture you don’t know of that produced the people you’re holding up now as the be all, end all of goth. Not saying you have to worship every single person you come across, but respect for the individuals who make up the community is the first of the 10 Goth Commandments.
Put that on a t shirt you’ll wear for the ‘gram.
They do not give a fuck about you.
Unless you make them fan art, in which they’ll tag you in it.
I have a lot of disdain for the people who only see wallets and not people. There are too many artists in so many different mediums both on rockstar levels and those with a handful of followers who genuinely give a damn about you for me to let it slide. There are too many people who will make time to answer your question even if they’ve heard it a million times. Not because you had the money to show up and buy a t shirt or a print, but because what they made meant enough for you to be there now and that is where our artistry lies.
I have more disdain for people who follow the money and continue to solely promote corporations that capitalize off of cultures (like ours for starters) and churning out disposable fashion that is not made to last. These traitors. *spits*
Traitor because they lower the value of everyone’s contributions.
The number of times I’ve heard someone say to their friend in front of a vendor’s booth at an event “I can probably find this on eBay for cheaper.” is painful and ridiculous. Because the almighty and beautiful goth youtubers taught hundreds of thousands that they don’t have to pay as much for goth fashion, that it’s not worth as much. Or rather their power is in what they don’t say.
Because they hold you hostage, once they get big enough numbers they can’t just share things they actually like, no, that would betray business. They can’t just reference other YouTubers in their videos but they’ll happily do a reaction video with 14 minutes of them watching it in silence, 20 seconds of them fake laughing, and 6 minutes of the same three sentences said nine different ways so they can rack up that ad revenue. (Although that is probably a thing of the past now, considering how frantic YouTube is change their guidelines these days, but if they profited from it, it’s still fucking theft.)
But hey, maybe you like your culture shifted through bottom lines. IDK.
Meanwhile there are actual goths who brag about their lastest record find and have what few real goths remain dripping with jealousy. But you don’t listen to records, that’s fine.
Truth of the matter is, if this is your only exposure to goth, you are cheating yourself.
Because you are holding a snowflake blown off the tip of the iceberg and have no clue what a beast of a glacier the goth world is.
But gosh, that snowflake sure is pretty.
And now for the Q&A portion of our feature.
Q. Fuck you, they’re awesome.
A. I don’t doubt their ability to follow the business model for content churn out is impeccable. I have serious doubts about whether they should be held higher than the Count from The Belfry (who does more work for this community than anyone else) Nephilim Grave (who you have been sleeping on* since day one) or Angela Benedict (who has done more for goth history 101 in her videos than you apparently deserve) and that’s just three off the top of my head.
*oh look, a black colloquialism because yes black goths do exist while you wear an ankh** like it didn’t come from Egypt
**how new are you where you don’t know…
Q. They don’t have to make stuff for the community. Why are you picking on them?
A. Oh these are problems I would have with anyone with a large enough platform, goth or otherwise. It’s just I deal with backlash of their no accountability personally, daily. Would you prefer if the wittle nobodies stayed quiet? Because I went through all the trouble of climbing up the damn soapbox on top of a damn chair and I’m not scheduled to come down to basic goth any time soon.
To be fair, it’s not even them personally I have a problem with, it’s how they do it like it’s going out of style. I know they could talk about goth music, that’s why I didn’t call them shallow, bottom feeding parasites in too much eyeliner. I think they could contribute far more substantial work and still be just as successful.
Unless…they are shallow, bottom feeding parasites in too much eyeliner, but who specifically did you have in mind? 😉
Q. You sound angry that you’re not getting more attention.
A. Oh honey… I was going to write some scathing sassery, but I’m going to level with you instead. I think you deserve better than regurgitated pop culture nonsense, better than light-hearted sheltered posts that never question anything or start a conversation. I think you deserve the truth and not scene politics and cowardice in the face of a hierarchy. There are people who don’t like me personally or vice versa, but if the work is good, the work is good. Not because I want you to find me noble or cool, but because the old goth ways taught me that artistic dialogue is the most beautiful thing to be a part of as a goth.
I could have been a cute girl who went by Raven, but I missed and became the strange goth bitch named Zakkarrii. Whoopsie.
Q.You don’t write about that stuff you called them for, so who do you think you are?
A. I know I’m the kind of person who writes about dealing with anxiety and suicide in a format that lets me speak freely and quickly. I write about identity and relationships, group formation and identity within groups. I spend most of my free time making things though because that’s what makes me happy. But you’re right, I should talk more about those things. That’s a valid point.
But before you get all smug with checking me, I have written about those things I called them out for.
Follow up questions, comments may be directed to my caffeinated self in the comments.
Until next time,
Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.
Zakkarrii Edison Daniels