Wednesday, January 16, 2008

On Being Goth

This is another post inspired by visits from Google searches. As I have mentioned before, this blog regularly (several times a week often at least twice a day)get visitors here who come from a Google search such as "Goth Blog", "Goth" "Blog Goth" "Blogspot Goth". Also, as I have mentioned before I wonder what it is exactly people who place these searches are looking for and if what they find here fits what they are looking for or if what they find here is not at all what they were expecting. Given that most of these do not appear to stay long (though I am not certain of Sitemeter's accuracy on this) and as far as I can tell the people who make these searches and visit here tend not to come back.

For some reason I feel like I should offer something for those of you who find your way here wanting to read a Goth blog. What is a Goth Blog after all? Who are we these Goth's? This might be unfair to these searchers of blogs of the Goth kind but I imagine that at least some of them are hoping for some dark melancholy rants or poems, or some regular account of this or that drama in the goth scene. In that sense they are perhaps expecting (if my imaging in anyway hits the mark) a blog that is something like the Goth comic book GloomCookie.? Which btw is a great comic and very funny. If you are interested in things Goth and aren't so uber-Goth that you can't laugh at yourself and the Goth scene then you must find yourself a copy of Gloom Cookie. But I digress, Priestly Goth blog is nothing like GloomCookie. A simple glance at the tags on blog posts it is not what is written most about. Posts on faith and theology feature much more prominently. Yet, This is among other things a Goth blog.

I must admit that my imagined reasons of why someone would search "Goth Blog" in part has to do with how people not infrequently receive what in most instances appears to them as contradictory data: this person before me is both a goth and a pastor. There are of course many reasons these two things seem contradictory but I think one of them is that Goth is viewed as this all consuming thing. This reminds me that occasionally I get a visit from someone whose Google search is "Goth Philosophy". LOL, Oh that just cracks me up. I suppose one could (and I am at times) philosophical about being Goth, but I really don't know if there is a particular Goth philosophy or ideology, there is an aesthetic to being Goth, but not really a philosophical aesthetic. Though, come to think of it this is part of what creates the dissonance for many about Goth and Pastor and perhaps also which perhaps is what is intreageuing about Priestly Goth. Though I wonder if on first seeing the title of this blog a certain visitor has in his/her head another Goth stereotype, neo-pagan.

However, really while there perhaps aren't many pastors or priests who continue to publicly self-identify as Goth, I don't think I am that uncommon a Goth. You may brush shoulders in your office with a Goth without knowing it. We too have to have jobs and while we may not completely conform to office business attire one might be amazed at how one can twist corporate attire to the Goth aesthetic ever so subtly that only the astute may know. That temp in your office, just might have been a Goth (and might have been me and so also a pastor). My point while for some Goth is all encompassing perhaps even an obsession for many perhaps most Goths it is simply part of life we work, we may even get married, or at least have a partners, have kids etc. I do know some former Goths and it seems that to some degree for them Goth was this all encompassing thing. However it is quite easy to get the former Goths I have met and know to talk about things Goth and bands like Bauhaus, Sister's of Mercy, Dead Can Dance, the Cure etc., and they may even make it to a show now and then and even dress the part. Really, still Goth at heart. I will out (though really he hides this rather poorly so I don't feel too bad ) one of these My friend and former co-pastor the AngloBaptist. He does admit at times that part of his love for liturgical and clerical vestments and liturgy (liturgical vestments are flowy and at times black!) connects up with his old Goth self. But I he's working on the eccentric Southern gentleman thing which kind of occupies a similar terrain as goth as does his being in a Irish band.

My point is that to paraphrase Eddie Izzard: Goth is a much wider community, a wider community than you might think. We do not all obese with the various dramas that might play themselves out in the Goth scene in what ever city we live in, we are not all constantly depressed and under a little black cloud. So, ya I don't write much about being Goth or the Goth scene in Chicago, but write about theology and art and politics and movies. So, that temp with slicked back hair button down shirt, black dress pants, and black patent Kenneth Cole shoes might be a Goth, and the attendant at your towns community center... ya that guy with the blond buzzed hair in black jeans and faded black T-shirt and black engineer boots who plays basketball regularly with a league that plays in the gym, ya he's Goth too. Yes this blog is a Goth blog even though it doesn't have a black background and has no bad melancholy poetry, and little word about the ins and outs of the Chicago Goth scene. Just in case you were wondering and were scratching your head about "Goth" in the title of this blog and were disappointed in what you've found.