Is Professor Althouse the New Goth?

A little blue-black hair dye and a lot of eyeliner, and Professor Althouse would be as good as goth.


Recently, Professor Ann Althouse suggested that radical Muslim is the new goth.

Professor Althouse, for those who don’t know, is a very popular legal blogger.  She teaches law at Wisconsin. She is off-the-charts smart (first in her class at NYU Law), has strong opinions and is a great writer.

Here’s how this all came about.  Professor Althouse wrote a blog post about Zachary Chesser, the individual behind the South Park threats.  For those living under a rock, Chesser posted an informal fatwa against the creators of South Park because the 200th episode depicted the prophet Mohammed in a bear suit.

Chesser has been reported by the media to be a former goth (whatever that means).  The so-called former goth listened to industrial music and doodled satanic images on his notebooks in high school.

And so Professor Althouse titled her post, “Is radical Muslim the new Goth?

This is offensive on so many levels.  It is not a kind comment.   And while it may have been said half in jest, it is based on inaccurate stereotypes that goths are mean and/or troubled people.  Even worse, it implies that goths are more likely than others to become crazy and violent religious fanatics.  And it serves only to fuel the most common misconception about goths — that goths are violent.

So why go there Professor Althouse?  Sure, lots of folks like to pick on the goth kids.  But Siouxise thinks there is more to it.

It just so happens that Professor Althouse mentions goths from time to time on her blog.  And when she does, she is always a little too defensive about her knowledge of all things goth.  So much so that it makes Siouxsie wonder . . .

Take for example when Professor Althouse posted about the death of Peter Steele, the lead singer of Type O Negative.  She shared that she was saddened by his death.  But then she quickly distanced herself and explained that she only knew of the band because she was a chaperone at a concert, and that she didn’t even like them.  Siouxsie isn’t buying it.

And then there is the time Professor Althouse blogged about a goth Barbie doll that she loved when she was a little girl. The doll has dark hair with reddish-henna highlights and chunky bangs; lots of eyeliner; and what appears to be purple arm warmers.  Instead of describing the doll as goth, Professor Althouse avoids the label completely and calls it “ancient.”  The very first commenter on that post quickly quips that it is a goth barbie.

In 2004, when Professor Althouse blogged about fashion, she suggests that she had been tortured by the mere thought and sight of goth fashion. She states:  “I’m not surprised that the preppy look is replacing the grunge or goth or bondage look or whatever what we’ve been subjected to lately should be called.”


And there are all the other tell-tale signs.  She is an artist, a music lover, and an individualist.

Is Professor Althouse really goth?  Only she knows for sure.

And if she ever wants a goth makeover, Siouxsie Law would be willing to fly out to Madison to help her.

Bonus fun fact:  It just so happens that Professor Althouse teaches at the same school that Zola Jesus attends.  Madison seems to be the epicenter of goth culture these days.

Photo credit:


~ by siouxsielaw on May 5, 2010.

7 Responses to “Is Professor Althouse the New Goth?”

  1. The evidence is overwhelming. I think you are right about Professor Althouse.

  2. Professor Ann Althouse: “Crusty conservative coating, creamy goth chick center.”

  3. Gothiness can be (not “is”, but “can be”) rebellious self-Othering (watch me deploy that postmodernism) posturing.

    Radical Islam can (not “does”) fill that same niche.

    (And is Zola Jesus really “goth”? I’m not sure I buy that.)

  4. I love your blog. Both you and Prof. Althouse are smart, opinionated and funny. Great post.

    In light of what I have read about Prof. Althouse’s courtship with Meade, I think that she is just being coy. I predict that you guys will go to a Zola Jesus concert together.

  5. […] Is Professor Althouse the New Goth? Last week, Siouxsie Law criticized Professor Althouse’s suggestion that radical Muslim is the new goth, and Siouxsie Law […]

  6. […]  Is Ann Althouse the new goth?  I looked into Professor Althouse’s gothic tendencies here.  In response, Professor […]

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