As if the good people of Grand Forks, North Dakota don’t have enough to worry about, a local news station has alerted them to the menace of a mutant subculture:
[ we’re having a glitch with the video embed, but it’s also available here. ]
This is tone-deaf even by TV news standards. Even someone who will never see 40 again (yours truly for example) can tell that at least some of the material presented here as typical of “emo culture” has obvious satirical intent.
Members of the subculture rank themselves on an “emo scale”? One where you “get more points if you cry a lot” and “win the jackpot by committing suicide”? Granted, lifestyle reporting is not exactly a positivistic discipline. But come on, folks, surely you can be a little more rigorous about evaluating sources than that.
Henry Jenkins cites this at Confessions of an Aca-Fan as “a textbook example of the ways that youth subcultures get misrepresented on television news and the ways that adult anxieties about kids who don’t look, dress, and act ‘normal’ get turned into hysteria by misreporting.”
He dissects the typical failures of competent reporting embodied in this segment. And he takes the whole thing seriously for its role in fueling moral panics. Worth a look.