A helpful reader in the UK has alerted me to a bizarre development. A well-respected British newspaper, The Independent, has been duped by P.A.R.O.D.Y., the joke antigoth website I wrote as part of the promotional effort for the Blair Witch Project soundtrack. In a largely positive article about goth culture, entitled “ Don’t mock goths: future’s bright for the men and women in black,” they note that “Goth culture still arouses suspicions.”
On its website, the Parents’ American Religious Organizations [sic] Defending Youth, Parody for short, blames Goths for everything from the Columbine massacre to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and South Park.
The website asks: “What are the worst dangers that threaten our children today? Satanism? Drugs? Homosexuality? A culture of violence? Heat exhaustion? What if there was a danger that included all of these? That danger is here and its name is GOTH.”
To be fair, this is, in fact, an accurate portrayal of the point of view of the Parents’ American Religious Organizations Defending Youth, or P.A.R.O.D.Y. for short, insofar as P.A.R.O.D.Y. is a completely made up entity whose only expressed viewpoints can be found on one very silly website that hasn’t been updated since 1999.
The Independent, which was named National Newspaper of the Year at the 2004 British Press Awards, has Britain’s 11th-largest newspaper circulation (261,193 in November 2005). In American terms, that’s roughly on a par with the New York Post and the Boston Globe. In other words, it’s a serious piece of business. That it should have been taken in by P.A.R.O.D.Y. is hugely entertaining, and I will always be proud that this is how I have made my first entry into the British press.