Emo Can Be Funny


A student told me this joke last week: "How many emo kids does it take to screw in a light-bulb? Who cares, let them cry in the dark," and I laughed, but I'm still not sure what exactly defines "emo," and if you ask, you get answers like this Wikipedia article: i.e. rambling, imprecise, and always mentioning the band Dashboard Confessional and the sub-genre "screamo" . . . but I suppose this is excellent for jokes, because if you can't define "emo," then it is fair game to make fun of it and use it as the butt of a joke, because no one will claim to be offended by the term-- but if anyone has a concise definition, please share.

11 comments:

Igor said...

I contend that emo bands are acts with punk rock talent and singer-songwriter sensibilities. They take their garage-y sound and instead of singing about bringing down the tyranny of the man and smashing things, they whine about unrequited love and how hard it is to get by in the world today. Blink 182 re-opened the door to this cruddy genre with "Adam's Song."

Anonymous said...

Madeline and her friends (12 year olds) use it to describe classmates all the time. I asked them what it meant and we got into a discussion about cutters (people that cut themself for fun?) Just to bother Madeline I ask her if her "friend" is emu and it makes her CRAZY because I am so uncool (along the lines of you giving up punk/rock music so Alex and Ian can rebel). I can't define emo for you but I know Vanessa and Ariel Rey from high school where way ahead of their time.

Dave said...

i think you've got it-- people from are generation aren't even ALLOWED to say it or define it.

it may be a cruddy genre but i like blink 182. are they emo?

zman said...

Igor's going to yell at me but ... the Beach Boys were the first emo band.

Dave said...

is the blues emo?

zman said...

I think the blues is to, well, bluesy to be emo. Listen to Pet Sounds and tell me you can't see how it morphed into emo.

Igor said...

Zman, I see (hear) your point, but I always felt like emo had a harder edge sound than the Beach Boys were delivering. I think it derived from those straight edge punk rock rebels who didn't drink and didn't need to shout about death to tyranny. I thought the "emo" label was sort of a slag on them, like pussy punk. And over time somehow the pussy element began to take over, so that the music began to follow the pattern of the lyrics -- soft. So while nowadays you'd think you could trace it back to Brian Wilson, the real roots would have been if the Stooges had written "Sloop John B."

Igor said...

And by the way, when I first read this post, I thought it said "Elmo Can Be Funny." Which is true. That little guy is hilarious.

zman said...

Fair enough. If Brian Wilson had a pair when he wrote I'm Waiting For the Day, then the Beach Boys would be emo.

Igor said...

Is "Dear Ozzy (Thanks for Nothing)" emo?

Dave said...

i don't think we have enough hair on our heads to be emo.

or enough emotions.

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