Cat fight — Siouxsie vs. Staci

By now, everyone knows about the gothic kitten case.  If you don’t,  I’ve covered it here, and here.  Or I guess you could read the NYT too.

But yesterday, one of my favorite sites got it all wrong.

Staci (“Morning Dockette”) Zaretsky, the new Assistant Editor at Above the Law, turned the case into something it is not.   Rather than a story about a woman who mutilated black kittens to make them more goth, Ms. Zaretsky conflated the facts and made this a story about a goth woman who mutilated kittens to be a better goth.

She titled her post – “Piercing Your Cat Will Not Make You a Better Goth.”

To write this piece, Ms. Zaretsky assumes that Holly Crawford, the kitten piercer, is goth.   But where in the world did Ms. Zaretsky get this from?

The articles I’ve read describe Crawford either as a Pennsylvania woman or an animal groomer.  A few articles mention that Crawford had been in trouble with the law before, and that she has a facial piercing.  But none describe Crawford as goth.  And while there is one photo on the internet of Crawford wearing a black tee-shirt with a crazy symbol, all the rest of the photos show Crawford wearing a very ungoth brown windbreaker or an ugly plaid shirt.  And in every photo Crawford has hair and makeup that no goth would be caught with in broad daylight (or moonlight).

Even more telling, we have a media that loves to run stories about goths who commit crimes (sadly, the subculture has some bad eggs), but the media covering this story has never associated Crawford with the goth subculture.   Not once has the media made this story about a goth woman.   Not anywhere.   See, e.g.ABA Law JournalNewsdayThe Consumerist.  Instead, this has always been a story about a “goth” kittens.

Let’s get this straight –Crawford is a criminal, a loser, and a dope who had a moronic  idea to try to make money off the recent popularity in all things goth.  But she isn’t goth.

Even if Ms. Zaretsky was privy to secret facts that were not disclosed by the mainstream media or in the court’s opinion, and it turns out that Crawford held aspirations to be goth, Ms. Zaretsky’s post is still troubling.

Ms. Zaretsky centered her entire post on the false premise that Crawford mutilated the kittens because it was part of goth culture.

Here is what Ms. Zaretsky says —

You know what, this is America, and if you want to paint your face like an inept contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race and wear chains connecting your ears to your nose, then by all means, go right ahead. I have absolutely no problem with that. If you want to look like the latest incarnation of Boy George, and thereby make your family embarrassed to be around you, then go for it.

But really, leave your pets out of it, okay? Your kittens don’t have daddy issues like you do…

I get that jokes about goths and drag queens are funny.*  And I enjoy offensive humor, probably too much so.  But this isn’t funny.  It is just mean.

Why is it not funny?

For one, Ms. Zaretsky’s stance doesn’t jibe with the news reports or the court’s 19-page opinion.  Jokes that are based on fact are funnier, than ones based on supposition.  By all accounts, Crawford appears to be a deeply troubled loser who mutilated kittens because she thought it was “neat” and because she wanted to make money selling them as “gothic” on eBay.  No one, until Ms. Zaretsky’s post, has ever suggested that Crawford maimed the kittens because she was a goth or aspiring to be.

Second, the very act of harming an animal, especially a cat, is about as ungoth as you can get.  Goths love animals; many of us are even PETA-loving vegan freaks.

Despite this, Zaretsky’s attacks on goth continues even when discussing the ridiculous appeal, Ms. Zaretsky jokes–

I guess she was afraid that her CD player would break and she wouldn’t be able to listen to The Cure on repeat all day, every day. Or maybe she just didn’t have enough Manic Panic hair dye to survive for that long all on her own.

This could be really funny.  But to be so, Crawford has to be goth.  Or, a goth alum.  Otherwise, it makes no sense.

I spent most of yesterday trying to figure out why Ms. Zaretsky would write a post that is so hostile toward goths .  But I’m at a loss.  Maybe she was picked on by goths in high school.  Maybe she dated a goth and it didn’t go well.  Maybe there was a question about goths on the last bar exam that she got wrong.  Dunno.

But here is the thing.  In spite of this post, I’m really rooting for Ms. Zaretsky.   Whatever her hostility towards goths, I have a lot in common with her.   She loves fashion and law and would like to work in fashion law one day.   (Me too!)   She is a woman.  (Check.)   From Jersey.  (Holla!)  Jewish.  (This is getting weird.)  She cares deeply about cats and was disgusted by what this Crawford person did.  (Yup.)

Everything I’ve seen about Ms. Zaretsky, I respect.  She is attractive and smart.   She is a great writer with what seems to be a quick wit.  Not to mention, she landed a very coveted editor gig at Above the Law — America’s most popular legal tabloid.
I just wish she had been a little more careful about her post.   Tens of thousands read her piece yesterday.  And thousands more will read it today. And those that read Ms. Zaretsky’s post will assume that the goth kitten piercing case is about a goth who pierced kittens, and that animal cruelty has something to do with goth.  They will think that even though none of that is true.
*Many of Ms. Zaretsky’s jokes about goths were dead on.
  • Manic panic — I can’t live without it; though I mix mine with Raw Hair Dye to get the perfect cobalt blue shade.
  • Listening to The Cure on repeat —  Maybe back in the day, but not so much any more.  Well, except when I practice yoga.  Or write briefs.  Okay, Ms. Zaretsky you win this point.  (If you haven’t heard it, check out Japanese Popstars’ latest single, which features Mr. Robert Smith).
  •  Sure, I have daddy issues.  Who doesn’t love a girl with daddy issues?  (Sorry dad)
  • Neoclassical clown, not so much.  No self-respecting goth would take the look that far.  Well, except for Siouxsie Sioux in the Happy House video.   And now that I think of it, it’s a pretty awesome look.  Though definitely not work appropriate.
  • Wearing chains connected from your ears to your nose —  Not a goth requirement, but certainly popular with some members of the community.  It should probably be noted, though, that the look was made famous by non-goth former Prince paramour Jane Child (I guess I’m showing my age with this reference, umm I was in utero when this song came out).

~ by siouxsielaw on June 18, 2011.

3 Responses to “Cat fight — Siouxsie vs. Staci”

  1. So so cruel! And I agree goths are generally animal loving creatures and mostly good humoured about the relentless jokes they have to suffer. Brilliantly balanced written response to this woman’s apparent goth-bashing too.

  2. Staci Z really hates goths. How can anyone who likes fashion have so much hatred toward goths? She even looks a little spooky in her pic on Above the Law. I think she was just trying to be mean to impress her new friends.

  3. I think Peter’s response is totally right… there’s some sort of weird bullying behavior going on here, where she’s trying to get in with her new crowd by beating up on the weird kids. Great response, Siouxsie!

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