Second That Emo-Tion
Girlie Action revisits emo.
By Margaret Moser,
11:51AM, Thu. Apr. 12, 2007
I lifted the advance proof of Everybody Hurts from the pile of books by Raoul’s desk. “Can I have this?” He snickered as I squirreled it away among the 43 CDs that had jammed my mailbox on that pre-South by Southwest day. I poured over the book. I even read it the night before the Austin Music Awards when I should have been making my guest list and checking it twice, but I was hooked. I haven’t found a book about modern music culture so helpful since Generation Ecch! came out in 1994.
Everybody Hurts was a good read because I’ve been baffled about emo culture and what defines it only to discover I’ve been there. Basically, it comes down to being young, dressing like a geek, taking pride in it, and listening to bands like Panic! at the Disco, My Chemical Romance, and Dashboard Confessional to reinforce life’s futility. That life is tough is news only to those under 30, because when you’re young, it’s important to think that life only happens to you and no one ever has hurt like you do.
More importantly, when you’re young, everything else is old and nothing is worse than being old. The best thing about getting old is finding out it beats the shit out of being young, except you’re usually prettier when you’re young. Plus, it’s hard to dress cool when you’re old without looking like a complete dipshit. But when you’re old, looks and dress doesn’t matter as much as long as you’re comfortable. See, comfort is really what being old is about, because when you’re old, everything hurts.
Emo kids like to wallow in self-pity. That part I remember well, though I hadn’t wallowed in self-pity since I got addicted to My So-Called Life during the Nineties. It turns out that it's in the pantheon of emo TV shows. It was the pluperfect show for me at the point in my life – flustered at finding myself in my early 40s, separated and almost divorced, having far more sex than necessary with a man half my age in a tizzy of mid-Nineties bands like Elastica, Oasis, Bush, Toad the Wet Sprocket, the Offspring, and Smashing Pumpkins. I developed an inappropriate crush on Jordan Catalano, played by emo-approved actor Jared Leto. The Christmas episode with emo goddess Julianna Hatfield still makes me weep. And whatever became of A.J. Langer, who played Rayanne Graf?
For a few minutes, I figured maybe I was emo before emo was cool. So I did the only thing I could reasonably do. I found the Everybody Hurts MySpace page and became their friend.