Leading article: Reasons to be cheerful

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The Independent Online

The list of popular music trends that have scandalised the curtain-twitching classes would take more space than we have here to chronicle.

Suffice to say that, from Elvis to the Beastie Boys, from the Beatles to the Sex Pistols, there has rarely been a time when "polite society" has not found something in youth culture to demonise. The latest target of the wagging finger of reproach is "emo": a style of music that places heavy emphasis on what one might describe as the more sombre aspects of human existence.

One Middle England newspaper has even labelled the emo scene a "cult" and linked it to the suicide of a 13-year-old girl who was deeply into the American emo band My Chemical Romance.

In an admirably well-organised counter-attack, hundreds of emos are planning to protest outside the newspaper's offices, presumably dressed in their characteristic black garb.

We understand the frustration of emos at being slurred in this fashion. But we would also offer some consolation. First, being attacked like this is a back-handed compliment: most good music gets the moral outrage treatment at some point.

Second, it won't be long before the reactionaries turn their attention to demonising some other aspect of our culture.

And, eventually, they'll no doubt even be complaining that "the youth of today" are so much worse behaved than those polite emos of yesteryear.

It's advice they're unlikely to heed, but emos should try to remember that it's not all doom and gloom.