Market Fragmentation

A question I have after reading these articles and related commentary relating to Russia’s go-after of “Emo Kids, and it may be telling that I don’t have any particular care about the fate of “Emo Kids”:

Has our high school clique set of sub-cultures fragmented over the years, or are standard issue types of personality types — conforming to various noncomformist modes — simply transfered from one model in one era to another in a different era?

Strictly speaking, there was no “Emo” when I was a high school student, though there seem to have been bands which have sort of retrospectively been retrofitted into that label.  Or perhaps this sub-genre broke out far enough that they could be properly labelled.  I don’t know.  The situation is absurd to the point where a local alternative news weekly previewed a concert for “Jimmy Eat World” by referring to them, a band who got commercial success in the early part of this decade, as “forerunners of Emo”, who remind us in this era of emo-backlash why emo was once good.  It does appear they, or the bands which could surface onto “Top 40” listings — were a lot less stratified and strident in their “emo”-ness or genre conventions, and hence… better… and more listenable.  “In the Middle” is a very good pop song. 

What the hell is “Emo” anyway?  Goth without the Occult references?  A smidgeon of a sort of skinny pants wearing indy-rock influence of olde?  Or, better labeled as as rather narcissistic angst-ridden depressed hyper – myopia.  I am not a fan, no.  Go buy some Cure tracks (for your fancy new “i-pod) and get back to me, alright?

Musically, the situation is sort of the “nothing new under the sun” land which is demonstrated in this used book of 1990s rock criticism I picked up once, which was hilarious because of the notes of an angry reader who basically wrote over and over again in the margins about such and such an act from the 1970s (all of them you know) being there long before such and such an act from the 1990s (all of them you know) and the latter being deriviative crap.   As for that land of teenage sub-cultures, and my question on whether they are splintering or just transfered (throw one kid into an earlier age and see him/her adapt)… hm.  Maybe it’s just a matter where we broadly define them as the dress-in-black Drama kids.

The experiment I am told one tries in assessing high school cliques is to watch how everyone assembles in a cafeteria.  The stars of the major sports of football and basketball and cheerleaders and such sit in the center of it all, and from there you branch out to not stars and stars of lesser sports and preppies and elected student government and you go on from there back on and on until you see Charlie Brown sitting forlornly outside under a tree pining for that red-headed girl he has been attracted to since grade school.  Or something like that.

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