- The Washington Times - Monday, June 18, 2007

Pale pose

“In general, youth culture tends to be tied closely to the mood of the time (hippies, punk), to a certain kind of music (hip-hop, mod, reggae), to a sport or activity (skate punk, surf rock) or to a social or ethnic group (rastas, skinheads). Goth, on the other hand, is completely flexible. There are goth clubs and pubs, goth movies (anything by David Lynch, Tim Burton or Ed Wood seems to fit the bill), goth jewelry and fashion, goth-friendly home decor, even goth lingerie. …

“Goth isn’t only for the young, either; if it suits you, you can be a goth all your life (which is certainly not true of punk — there’s surely no more depressing coiffure than the receding Mohawk). In fact, if you’re trying to look like a corpse, a gaunt face and figure can be an advantage rather than a drawback — although, after a lifetime spent avoiding the sun, some eldergoths (as they’re respectfully known) remain surprisingly wrinkle-free; just look at Nick Cave, Robert Smith of the Cure, or Marilyn Manson. For women, the Morticia Addams look is age-appropriate for stylish goth matriarchs like Vivienne Westwood and Anne Rice. …

“Taking for granted the misery of the human condition, goth turns depression into an esthetic, a semi-ironic pose — a perfect style for the awkward and self-conscious.”

Mikita Brottman, writing on “Goth’s Wan Stamina,” in the June 15 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education

Father factor

“Fathers are important everywhere. … Studies suggest that fathers play a particularly important role in five domains of children’s lives: providing financially for their children, protecting their children from abuse and neglect, teaching their children how to regulate their bodies and emotions through play (including ‘roughhousing’), disciplining their children (especially their boys), and modeling good male-female relationships to their sons and daughters. In urban America, the social science indicates that children who grow up in intact, married families are significantly more likely to succeed in schools, to avoid teenage pregnancy and to steer clear of the law.

“So, children who grow up in father-present homes are much more likely be virtuous citizens and to play an important role in creating good communities. By contrast, children who grow up apart from their fathers are much likely to suffer from a range of social, economic, and emotional ills. At the collective level, communities dominated by fatherless families also suffer. … So married dads play a central and often unrecognized role in fostering safe and prosperous communities.”

W. Bradford Wilcox, interviewed by Kathryn Jean Lopez, Saturday in NationalReview.com

Silent no more

“Holocaust victims have one. So do the fallen of World War II and Vietnam. But what of the estimated 100 million who perished at the hands of the last century’s greatest tragedy, communist totalitarianism?

“Until recently, these silenced masses — victims of Soviet gulags, Vietnamese concentration camps, Cambodia’s killing fields, the East German, Cuban and North Korean police states — had no fitting memorial to remind the world of their unjust, and often inhuman, fate, let alone of the ideology that abbreviated so many lives. That changed [June 12] with the dedication in the nation’s capital of the world’s first memorial to the collective victims of communism.”

Jacob Laksin, writing on “Remembering Communism’s Victims,” Friday in FrontPageMag.com