a conservative heretic commenting on hypocrisy and stupidity in a world with too much of both
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The Goth Sings

When I was a teenager, the British Invasion was underway. Long hair, bell bottoms, rock music with heavy guitar solos and tie-dye and flowered shirts were the rage. Our parents and the rest of the older generation thought we looked like bums at best or hoodlums (their description) at worst.
I still remember the first time my mother saw The Beatles perform. “Well, at least they wore suits,” was the only positive thing she could say and she was virtually speechless the first time she saw The Stones on Ed Sullivan.
You would think that as I got older, I would have remembered how people looked at us for our pseudo-rebellious appearance back then and be a little more tolerant of the different fashion expressions of successive generations but you’d be wrong. As each new generation came along, I found myself raising an eyebrow over some of the things kids were wearing.
Basically, despite my best efforts to the contrary, I was turning into my parents.
I was quite scornful of Mohawk haircuts, piercings, tattoos and gangsta clothing, with the crotch of guy’s jeans somewhere around their knees. I hated the backward baseball hat or even worse, guys who wore a baseball hat brim facing the front but who never took the time to curve the brim. To me, they looked like they were wearing a duck on their heads.
The look I particularly scorned was the Goth look. I thought the over-the-top black make-up, the black leather, the shower curtain ring piercings up and down one ear and the Doc Martin boots were just plain stupid. In fact, I had become so intolerant that I considered these folks lazy, self-indulgent and just plain silly.
Well……….I got slapped for that attitude tonight. I got slapped hard and deservedly so.
A young man dressed in black, with heavy black Goth make-up, an oily hair style and Siberian Husky eye-like contact lenses, walked out on the audition stage of America’s Got Talent and reminded me of just what an ass I had been.
I don’t know what any of us would expect if we saw someone who looked like a cross between Marilyn Manson and Chris Angel walk out onto a stage ready to sing but whatever it is, it definitely wasn’t this.

This Goth freak was polite, soft-spoken and a classic counter tenor. It was an unbelievable performance by a young man who had never sung in front of anyone before, including his parents. 
And here’s the funny thing about what happened. By the time he finished singing, I didn’t see a Goth freak standing on that stage. I saw a very talented, somewhat shy young man. In those 90 seconds, his performance rendered his appearance and my biases irrelevant. 
Andrew de Leon’s performance wasn’t merely an incredible moment of singing; it was a reminder that people should be considered for who they are and not simply by what they wear or how they look.
That, by the way, goes for the beautiful and fashionable people too. 
We tend to forget that sometimes there really isn’t all that much that is very substantial under the designer clothes, fabulous hair and make-up of some of the beautiful people.

Well done Andrew. You accomplished a considerable amount in 90 seconds and it was more than just a great performance of remarkable singing.

The name Susan Boyle comes to mind.

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  • Anonymous

    This was the boost that kid needed. Like me, he’ll get to an age when he will stop giving a flying continental what people think.You go get what’s yours son. Because it belongs to you.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      I think you’re right on both counts. More to the point, I think this young man just took a major step into discovering that he really is good at something and not only has talent but value as a human being. It was inspiring to watch that transformation.

  • Adrian

    I have experienced this life as two individuals (no sex change operation). One as a skinny acne faced teen with the curliest hair. After growing out of those curses my body developed into a man (stud). As a teen I was ridiculed made to feel like an outcast almost repulsed and now people interpret my silence as having an attitude instead it’s scars from those times. When I went to design school I had already learned a valuable lesson about this world and how to use design, image as a powerful tool. But I don’t buy into this stuff because I can see through all of it. Yes it’s a very superficial world and people need something to help make sense of it. It’s because of fear we use the visual to give us an answer.