MySpace and many other online communities are awash with young people whose goal in life seems to be trying to be perceived as cool. This is nothing new, but these days nothing says "cool" like being a gangster. Gangsters are the knights of modern America, through their beliefs in honor, brotherhood, discipline, and redemption. They live fast, die young, and get rich through any means necessary. Gangsters also typically lead a childhood rife with suffering, and suffering equals credibility. Credibility, in turn, means additional coolness.
But the MySpace kids (see previous post)
have a perception of the lives of gangsters based entirely around film and music, where gang life has been glorified since the days of NWA
. This has led to the misperception that the only life worth leading is that of a gangster. Of course, many many of these kids grow up in relative wealth, in good neighborhoods, with caring parents. Many may even attend private schools or prestigious universities. Education, nurturing childhoods, and attempting to live within the confines of the law is seen as weak, as "gay." To them, in order to still remain credible in the eyes of their peers, they have no choice but to fake their gangsterness. This is unfortunate, because many of them could find lasting credibility in modern America by pursuing intelligence, self-improvement, and even nerdiness. Yet they persist in their poseury, and we get to make fun of them. All the better for me.
Here, for your education and amusement, I present Gang / Not Gang. A tit-for-tat comparison between MySpace gang life, and true gang life. Exhibit to follow.
Gang has prison and gang tattoos clearly marking his identity as a hardened gang member.
Not gang has pretty star tattoos and wears his trucker hat to the side.
Gang has scars all over his body from numerous gunshots, stab wounds, and savage beatings.
Not gang has a tongue piercing and has spent years working up to large guage tunnels in his earlobes.
Gang wears a bandana over his face to protect his identity.
Not gang has his laundry done at drycleaners.
Not gang wears hip clothing purchased from fashionable retailers such as The Gap.
Gang doesn't even wear a shirt.
Gang flashes hand signs to identify who he allies himself with, and who is his sworn enemy.
Not gang is always, ALWAYS from the westside, even when he's from central Connecticut.
Gang goes to funerals.
Not gang goes to homecoming.
Not gang hangs out in a band room that may or may not be a hotbed of gang activity.
Gang gets shot.
Gang gets 25 to life.
Gang gets the death penalty so macho Governors can look more macho.
Gang is the product of a society operated by white shits who don't give a crap about minorities and the underclasses.
Not gang is just a fucking jackass.