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October 26, 2005

Rough, rough rough draft of article 2

This article doesn't seem as good as my first one in my opinion, but recently my Race & Gender Stereotypes teacher seems to think her class is the only one I take. This is rough now but maybe with a dozen eyes on it tomorrow might clean it up. Yes?

On October 15th Pamela Vitale was found beaten to death by her husband Daniel Horowitz. What makes this a slightly out of the ordinary murder is that a cross was carved into her back. The crime scene and the wounds on the victim indicate that this was not a premeditated attack yet why the cross? One answer is that the assailant was a “goth” and a “Satanist” on the grounds that classmates claimed that the young murderer, Scott Dyleski, wore black and painted his nails and read books on Satan. Please excuse me while I sputter for moment.

Let’s start with all the inconsistencies that result from labeling this kid a “goth”, shall we? Students at Dyleski’s high school told officers and reporters that he wore a long trench coat, black clothes, dyed black hair and painted black nails. Ok, the fashion sense does point at the gothic sub-culture. But that’s not what a goth is. There is no real definition of what a goth person is. The media sees a person dressed in all black and sinister make-up and labels that person as goth. For the most part they’re entirely forgetting about all the other kinds of stereotypes that are out there: punks, ravers, metal heads. All these people can dress in black and wear sinister make-up but are not necessarily goth.

So, what is goth? Historically, goth is a late 1970’s (in the U.K.) and early 1980’s (in the U.S.) creation brought about from the punk subculture. It started in the form of music such as Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Sisters of Mercy, and I’m going to include in there Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, but that’s debatable since Stevie is seen as goth but her band is not. (Like the whole ideal of goth Stevie Nicks is a matter of each person’s personal and informed opinion). These bands had a darker look and a harder sound than traditional bands and the new punk bands. This new fashion style did include black clothing, black nail polish, hair dyed black and heavy black make-up. However, the gothic sub-culture is in no way limited to music and fashion alone. It has its influences in art and literature and the media. (A good example of a piece before it’s time: the 1919 silent German film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. However, I can’t explain the ending to you. I still haven’t figured it out myself, but let me know if you do).

What irks me the most about this case in particular and the goth misconception is an article that Foxnews.com hosted on its site with the headline: “Teen Held in Vitale Murder Reportedly Satanist”. It goes on to report that Dyleski once drew a pentagram on the ground at school in front of class mates and danced around it. Other students stated that he told people the book he was carrying around was about Satan. The article goes on with quotes from other students calling him goth because of the book’s topic and because of his sense of fashion. Does anyone else feel the urge to roll up a newspaper and beat Foxnews.com over the head with it and tell them they’ve been bad?

Why do people associate Satanism with the goth subculture anyway? One reason is because part of the fashion is to wear jewelry such as the pentagram which can be associated with the Devil. (Just so we’re all clear the inverted pentagram, just like the inverted cross, is the symbol of the Devil. Also, the cross that was reported to have been carved into Pamela Vitale’s back was not reported to be inverted). Also, the same music is associated with Satanic cults as with the Goths. And Each subculture has the same social group of people in it: white, young, middle or upper-class, average or above average intelligence.

However, while more people in a Satanic cult are anti-religious Goths are, for the most part, open to all religions, learning and barrowing from the various sorts. Goths are open to culture and learning and other people’s opinions while Satanic people tend to be close minded. Also, Satanic cultists tend to be aggressive and violent while more Goths are very passive and patient.

Satanism and being in a Satanic cult are two different things as well. While Christianity is essentially working your way from the outside into the inside, as in being a good neighbor and devout Christian first and working on yourself second, Satanism is the opposite. Satanism is working on the inside first, as in you and your image of yourself, before working on the outside, as in how your neighbors perceive you. In Satanism it is about you before it is about others. And this is what’s entirely different from being in a Satanic cult.

Being in a Satanic cult involves using different and large assortments of drugs. It’s assumed the motive for Vitale’s death was that drug paraphernalia for growing marijuana was thought to have been accidentally delivered there instead of to Dyleski’s. This might have caused confrontation between the two that lead to the murder. Also, Dyleski’s book on Satan is an indication that he was probably heavily into learning about the occult and Satanism. The symbol of the cross carved into Pamela Vitale’s back could have been a representative symbol for the teen’s devotion to the Devil, but that has yet to be determined. However, many people in Satanic cults do leave symbols like crosses and pentagrams at crime scenes. People in Satanic cults are profiled as having been involved in sexual acts such as bestiality and incest as well as taken part in powerful drugs and cannibalism. Their childhood is characterized as middle and upper-class, high intelligence, over or under achieving, having a history of family abuse (sexual or other), and rebelliousness. From the news reports and the crime committed Dyleski’s behavior synchs up with much of the Satanic symptoms, but it has yet to be determined if he is or is not a part of a Satanic cult, or trying to start one or mimic one. Nor should it be said that he is guilty since there has yet to be a trail. However, many news articles are already taking the assumption that he is since the evidence of the crime points a clear finger at him, such as scratches and wounds on his body that would match those Vitale would make in defense and a blood footprint.

Even though the definition and the meaning of goth differs from person to person, I find it inexcusable when people label anything violent and Satanic as goth. For me, personally, a goth person is not a teenager who buys overpriced fishnet at Hot Topic and listens to Good Charlotte. I can tell you everything a goth is not, but I can’t clearly define what it goth is. Scott Dyleski, a lone teenager who beat a woman to death in her home with a piece of crown molding and carved a cross into her back over marijuana growing supplies is NOT a goth because he happened to prefer clothes of the darker end of the color spectrum and read books on Satan. This is a mentally unstable boy who needs some serious psychological attention, nothing more.

foxnews-Teen Held in Vitale Murder Reportably a Satanist
A history of Goth
CBS News
National Ledger

Posted by Whitney Worden at October 26, 2005 1:05 AM

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