Love is something eternal the aspect may change but not the essence. Vincent van Gogh What is the Goth culture? It is basically indefinable, because "Goth" means different things to each follower. Many adopt unusual fashions in order to separate themselves from other youth. Gordon A. Crews, associate dean of the School of Justice Studies at Roger Williams University in Bristol, CT is an investigator of what he calls the "occult" which-- in his opinion -- includes the Goth culture. He said: "It is up to the individual to define what Goth is for themselves ... The mentality is, 'I want to be left alone but I want to be seen. I want to see the shock on other peoples' faces." 11 Some factors that are commonly observed are: * Its unique music, art and literature. * The use of extreme black clothing, light colored makeup, unusual hair styles, body piercing, bondage items, etc. * A fascination with medieval, Victorian and Edwardian history. * Wearing of symbols such as a Christian cross; an Egyptian ankh or "Eye of Ra," or "Eye of Horus;" a Wiccan pentacle, a Satanic inverted pentacle. etc. 14 * Goths tend to be non-violent, pacifistic, passive, and tolerant. Many in the media have mistakenly associated Goth with extreme violence and hatred of minorities, white supremacy, etc. * Many Goths write about being depressed. Followers seem sullen and withdrawn, when in public. They are often much more "happy and carefree in the company of [other] Goths." 1 Examples of depression are: * "Tigriss," commenting on her own life, writes: "So my gothic persona fit me quite well. My black clothing and dark music aptly reflected my own depression, pain, and anger which was what I made most of my life about. Most of my goth friends had dysfunctional families and troubled childhoods as mine. We could identify with each other through our dark make-up and painful pasts." 12 o Researcher Jasin Tamlin comments: "If you take a look at the 640 sites that are listed on the Gothic Web Ring, you will find many of them filled with desperation, depression, anger, hatred, despair and angst." 13 * "A lot of people turn to the Gothic subculture after having a hard time in school, feeling alienated, and looking for a way to express themselves that mirrors those feelings. Others find the scene through literature, still others want to be shocking, and some people just find black clothing slimming." 1 * Goth music often deals with thought-provoking topics, concentrating on societal evils, like racism, war, hatred of groups, etc. Their music tends to concentrate on the very "nasty, unhappy" topics that "North American culture" wants to "ignore and forget." * A fascination with death. They try "to find a different way of thinking about life, like trying to find beauty in life, pain and death. It's all a quest for immortality." 2 * In contrast, many Goths are optimistic about the future and see much beauty in the world. * Some Goths enjoy playing role playing games. However, RPGs are not an integral component of Goth culture. It is just that those intellectual and creative challenges that draw them to the Goth scene make them more likely to enjoy RPGs as well. * Other interests: writings by authors like Dante, Byron, Tolstoy; German Expressionist silent films; writing music; painting, etc.