It's officially a pandemic.
The recent cancellation of E3 2020 is a major bummer for the gaming community, but it's not exactly a surprise.
COVID-19, the coronavirus pandemic (it's official!) currently sweeping the world, is primarily spread from person-to-person. This means that any area where large numbers of people are gathered together—subway cars, office spaces, jam-packed convention centers—are best to be avoided right now. So unfortunately, yes, every major upcoming event you're excited for is almost definitely canceled (or, at the very least, postponed). Oh, and if you don't see the event you're most excited for on this list, don't worry. It will be.
From major sequel reveals to new console previews, E3 announcements shape the gaming industry year after year. But while gamers await E3 news with bated breath, there's no video game that's actually worth risking your upper respiratory system over (except maybe Final Fantasy VII Remake). Besides, it's important to keep in mind that everything planned for E3 will still be revealed later. The PlayStation 5 is still happening, but you can't play it if you're dead.
Emerald City Comic Con
Seattle's Comic Con has gotten big enough in recent years to warrant a serious stop on any nerd culture enthusiast's yearly circuit, but that also means it's big enough to warrant shutting down over coronavirus. Take solace knowing that the scalpers will need to wait a little longer to get their grubby hands on those sweet exclusives before you're forced to pay them a premium.
Google I/O and pretty much every tech event
People who work in tech most likely (hopefully) believe in science, so don't expect to be attending any tech conferences during a global pandemic. Not only are dev events like Google I/O canceled, but pretty much every major tech company is also having their employees work from home. Because, you know, they actually care about their employees' health and safety.
Tucson Festival of Books
Coronavirus can be transmitted through infected surfaces, so books aren't safe either. Okay, that's not actually why the Tucson Festival of Books has been canceled. The problem is still tons of people, many of whom are unlikely to show symptoms even if they're infected, all in one place. But the thought of a ton of people reading books together in the middle of a global health crisis is still kind of amusing.
Street Style At The 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival - Weekend 2 Getty Images for Coachella
The film and music industries, both of which heavily revolve around event-based media, are going to be hit especially hard by COVID-19. SXSW is canceled and refusing to refund passholders, putting plenty of budding filmmakers and musical artists in a major financial bind. Coachella is canceled, too, which is probably for the best considering what a hot bed of germs music festivals tend to be, even when there's not a global pandemic. If you're still holding onto any concert tickets at the moment, try to get a refund sooner rather than later.
United Artists Releasing
Speaking of movies, movies are done. You can still go to the theater, sure, but is there any movie that's actually worth risking spreading COVID-19 over? The new James Bond movie, No Time to Die, is even being pushed back. So stay home. Watch Netflix. This is...no time to die.
Photo via Visit Philadelphia
Watching the St. Patrick's Day Parade is an Irish tradition, which is exactly why the whole thing is being called off this year. If it's allowed to happen, people will go, and if people go, some of them are going to get coronavirus. Looking at people marching while wearing green clothes and shamrock face paint is not worth killing the elderly.
Pretty much everything can be done online now, and that includes college. Why sit in a classroom full of potentially infected students when you can watch your professor talk onscreen, right from the comfort of your living room? The truth is that people barely need to interact face-to-face anymore, and maybe COVID-19 is here to teach us that waking up and going to a physical building to do work is silly and irrelevant.
If you haven't been following world news, here's an important update: Italy has basically shut down due to COVID-19. And if you're in America thinking, "How does that apply to me?" come back in three weeks and let us know. America is about to get hit hard. If you still don't think that's true, we're sorry to inform you, but your stupidity is terminal (for at least 3.4% of the population).
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A cultural misunderstanding may be responsible for Shein's swastika necklace scandal...but it's still an awful company
Popular fast-fashion retailer Shein came under fire this week for selling a swastika necklace on their website.
A Chinese company, Shein has become well-known for their inexpensive clothing and accessories, often featured in so-called "haul" videos on YouTube. Shein has since removed the necklace from their site and issued an apology. But screenshots of the faux-gold necklace—listed for between $2.50 and $4.00 as "Metal Swastika Pendant Necklace"— quickly spread on social media, with users expressing their disgust at the apparent insensitivity to what that symbol represents.
To everyone we’ve offended, we’re really sorry... https://t.co/rm6TCgx99K— SHEIN (@SHEIN)1594381498.0
Earlier this month Shein was called out for cultural insensitivity after listing Muslim prayer rugs—some featuring an image of the sacred Kaaba in Mecca—as "Fringe Trim Carpets" for decorative use and for selling traditional Southeast Asian dresses modeled by white women and renamed to remove cultural signifiers.
Let's take a look at Nazi-inspired fashion.
Villains always have the best outfits.
From Darth Vader's polished black space armor to The Joker's snazzy purple suit, bad guys always seem to show up their protagonists in the fashion department.
Way more handsome than Batman. static.giantbomb.com
But could there possibly be a real world equivalent to the type of over-the-top villain fashion often found in fiction? It would have to be sleek and imposing, austere and dangerous. Probably black.
Maybe it's him. Maybe it's fascist ideology.
Let's call a spade a spade. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Nazi SS outfit is very well-designed. The long coat tied around the waist with a buckle portrays a slim, sturdy visage. The leather boots and matching cap look harsh and powerful. The emblem placements on the lapel naturally suggest rank and authority. And the red armband lends a splash of color to what would otherwise be a dark monotone. If the Nazi uniform wasn't so closely tied with the atrocities they committed during WWII, it wouldn't seem out of place at Fashion Week. Perhaps not too surprising, considering many of the uniforms were made by Hugo Boss.
Pictured: A real thing Hugo Boss did. i.imgur.com
Of course, today, Nazi uniform aesthetics are inseparable from the human suffering doled out by their wearers. In most circles of civilized society, that's more than enough reason to avoid the garb in any and all fashion choices. But for some, that taboo isn't a hindrance at all–if anything, it's an added benefit.
As a result, we have Nazi chic, a fashion trend centered around the SS uniform and related Nazi imagery.
History of Nazi Chic
For the most part, Nazi chic is not characterized by Nazi sympathy. Rather, Nazi chic tends to be associated with counterculture movements that view the use of its taboo imagery as a form of shock value, and ironically, anti-authoritarianism.
The movement came to prominence in the British punk scene during the mid-1970s, with bands like the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees displaying swastikas on their attire alongside other provocative imagery.
Very rotten, Johnny. i.redd.it
Around this time, a film genre known as Nazisploitation also came to prominence amongst underground movie buffs. A subgenre of exploitation and sexploitation films, Naziploitation movies skewed towards D-grade fare, characterized by graphic sex scenes, violence, and gore. Plots typically surrounded female prisoners in concentration camps, subject to the sexual whims of evil SS officers, who eventually escaped and got their revenge. However, the most famous Nazisploitation film, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, flipped the genders.
The dorm room poster that will ensure you never get laid. images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com
Ilsa was a female SS officer and the victims were men. She spent much of the movie wearing her Nazi uniform in various states, sexually abusing men all the while. As such, Ilsa played into dominatrix fantasies. The movie was a hit on the grindhouse circuit, inspiring multiple sequels and knock-offs and solidifying Nazi aesthetics as a part of the BDSM scene.
Since then, Nazi chic fashion has been employed by various artists, from Madonna to Marilyn Manson to Lady Gaga, and has shown up in all sorts of places from leather clubs to character designs in video games and anime.
Lady Gaga looking SS-uper. nyppagesix.files.wordpress.com
Nazi Chic in Asia
Nazi chic has taken on a life of its own in Asia. And unlike Western Nazi chic, which recognizes Nazism as taboo, Asian Nazi chic seems entirely detached from any underlying ideology.
A large part of this likely has to do with the way that Holocaust education differs across cultures. In the West, we learn about the Holocaust in the context of the Nazis committing horrific crimes against humanity that affected many of our own families. The Holocaust is presented as personal and closer to our current era than we might like to think. It is something we should "never forget." Whereas in Asia, where effects of the Holocaust weren't as prominent, it's simply another aspect of WWII which, in and of itself, was just another large war. In other words, Nazi regalia in Asia might be viewed as simply another historical military outfit, albeit a particularly stylish one.
In Japan, which was much more involved with WWII than any other Asian country, Nazi chic is usually (but not always) reserved for villainous representations.
OF COURSE. i.imgur.com
That being said, J-Pop groups like Keyakizaka46 have publicly worn Nazi chic too, and the phenomena isn't limited to Japan.
In South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, Nazi imagery has shown up in various elements of youth culture, completely void of any moral context. For instance, in Indonesia, a Hitler-themed fried chicken restaurant opened in 2013. And in Korea, K-Pop groups like BTS and Pritz have been called out for propagating Nazi chic fashion. Usually such incidents are followed by public apologies, but the lack of historical understanding makes everything ring hollow.
So the question then: is Nazi chic a bad thing?
The answer is not so black and white.
On one hand, seeing Nazi chic on the fashion scene may dredge up painful memories for Holocaust survivors and those whose family histories were tainted. In this light, wearing Nazi-inspired garb, regardless of intent, seems disrespectful and antagonistic. Worse than that, it doesn't even seem like a slight against authority so much as a dig at actual victims of genocide.
But on the other hand, considering the fact that even the youngest people who were alive during WWII are edging 80, "forgetting the Holocaust" is a distinct possibility for younger generations. In that regard, perhaps anything that draws attention to what happened, even if it's simply through the lens of "this outfit should be seen as offensive," might not be entirely bad. This, compounded by the fact that Nazi chic is not commonly associated with actual Nazi or nationalistic sentiments, might be enough to sway some people–not necessarily to wear, like, or even appreciate its aesthetics, but rather to understand its place within counterculture.
Ultimately, one's views on Nazi chic likely come down to their own personal taste and sensibilities. For some, Nazi chic is just a style, an aesthetic preference for something that happens to be mired in historical horror. For others, the shadow of atrocity simply hangs too strong.
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