Harry Styles' new Rolling Stone cover story and interview just dropped, and it's thoroughly offensive.
Who gave Harry Styles the right to be so genuine, so talented, so enlightened, and so utterly adorable? I'm so mad. I emerged from the One Direction craze almost completely unscathed and even managed to sleep on Harry's persona despite being a fan of his new music—until Rob Sheffield just had to step into that Tesla with a pen and a wide-open heart.
"The Eternal Sunshine of Harry Styles" might be one of the most flattering profiles that Rolling Stone has ever published, but it's well-written and persuasive enough to feel genuine. It might even make you fall in love. Here are some of the most infuriating details.
Images by Ryan McGinleyRolling Stone
Transcendental Meditation and Psychedelic Adventures
Not only is Harry Styles a bonafide rock star—he's also on a spiritual journey. He practices transcendental meditation: that form of famous-person mindfulness pioneered by (my favorite filmmaker) David Lynch.
He's also into psychedelics. At one point in the interview, he and Sheffield go to Shangri-La studios, where Harry wrote a lot of his album while tripping, drinking, and enjoying the local ambiance. "We'd do mushrooms, lie down on the grass, and listen to Paul McCartney's Ram in the sunshine," he said (and I totally have not been listening to Ram the entire time that I've been writing this article).
While I've never felt the need to try psychedelic drugs, I tend to have the best discussions with people who have, and one would imagine that Harry would make an excellent conversationalist. He's probably an environmentalist, too (there's proof that psychedelics make people feel more connected to the earth!), and he most likely has some very interesting theories about reality and the universe that this author would absolutely not love to hear about, preferably while getting stoned on a Malibu beach at 4 AM or something.
Trying to Subsist on Coffee Alone
"Man cannot live by coffee alone," says Harry in the middle of the interview. "But he will give it a damn good try."
As I'm on my fourth cup of the day while writing this, Harry, we clearly understand each other. (I also blame the entirety of this article on the adrenaline shooting through my veins thanks to Dunkin's $2 cold brews).
He Reads Murakami for God's Sake
Apparently, Harry has a fabulous (or at least, my exact) taste in art. "In February, he spent his 25th birthday sitting by himself in a Tokyo cafe, reading Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle," writes Sheffield.
Forget Robert Pattinson's tired "date a girl who reads" refrain. Date someone who spends their birthday alone reading Murakami.
Harry also loves David Bowie, Joni Mitchell's Blue, and Stevie Nicks. I'm not saying this is anything more than a coincidence, but I happen to love David Bowie, Joni Mitchell's Blue, and Stevie Nicks.
Both Woke and Humble: Feminism, Black Lives Matter, and the Art of Genuine Allyship
On a serious note, if this interview is to be believed, Harry is the embodiment of a genuine ally. To be clear, "performative allyship" is that thing where people pretend to care about social issues, but they're really just trying to bolster their own image.
Sweet, self-aware Harry, though, seems to have transcended this entirely. "I'm aware that as a white male, I don't go through the same things as a lot of the people that come to the shows. I can't claim that I know what it's like, because I don't. So I'm not trying to say, 'I understand what it's like.' I'm just trying to make people feel included and seen," he said.
"I think ultimately feminism is thinking that men and women should be equal, right? People think that if you say 'I'm a feminist,' it means you think men should burn in hell and women should trample on their necks. No, you think women should be equal. That doesn't feel like a crazy thing to me. I grew up with my mum and my sister — when you grow up around women, your female influence is just bigger. Of course men and women should be equal. I don't want a lot of credit for being a feminist. It's pretty simple. I think the ideals of feminism are pretty straightforward."
This is gospel for our times. Harry clearly listens to women and cares about people other than himself. He respects his young female fans, something that is near and dear to my own heart. "They have that bulls**t detector," he added. "You want honest people as your audience. We're so past that dumb outdated narrative of 'Oh, these people are girls, so they don't know what they're talking about.' They're the ones who know what they're talking about. They're the people who listen obsessively. They f*cking own this sh*t. They're running it."
Regarding the Black Lives Matter sticker on his guitar, he said, "It's not about me trying to champion the cause, because I'm not the person to do that. It's just about not ignoring it, I guess. I was a little nervous to do that because the last thing I wanted was for it to feel like I was saying, 'Look at me! I'm the good guy!' I didn't want anyone who was really involved in the movement to think, 'What the f*ck do you know?' But then when I did it, I realized people got it. Everyone in that room is on the same page and everyone knows what I stand for. I'm not saying I understand how it feels. I'm just trying to say, 'I see you.'"
So, maybe I'm praising a white dude to the high heavens for doing a rather minimal amount of listening and acknowledging his own privilege, but the bar is pretty low, OK?
Pink and Green Nail Polish: Performing Non-Toxic, Vulnerable, Queer Masculinity
Harry Styles is basically the Keanu Reeves of his generation, and here's why. They're straight dudes, yes, but they're also emotionally vulnerable and in touch with their feelings.
Aesthetically, they embody a fluid, gender-queer kind of masculinity that doesn't fit inside binaries or restrain itself to labels. Harry arguably does this more visibly than Keanu and in this, he's doing vitally important work.
After all, toxic masculinity may be one of the most poisonous diseases ever to descend upon humanity. Think about how many genocides began because of toxic masculinity. Think of how many angry men have started fires or wars or committed murders because of their own vendettas against the world and themselves.
In the era of "social justice warriors," many men have responded by criticism by becoming even more toxically masculine—i.e. the incels or anybody on 8chan—and speaking of this, so many mass shooters in America share a vicious hatred of women that arguably stems from their own insecurities or traumas. Hatred of women and hatred of the earth have a lot in common, too. You could argue that toxic masculinity and its relatives—rugged individualism, cutthroat competition, and relentless greed—are root causes of climate change, and therefore are going to cause the end of the world.
But Harry is showing us that there is a different way. As Harry reveals, deconstructing masculinity and the binary prison that is gender is a positive, liberating thing for all people.
The Article Ended With Harry Hugging His Mom
At the end of the article, Stevie Nicks dedicates a performance of her song "Landslide" to Harry and his mom, and they hug for the entirety of the song. The sheer audacity.
The photos speak for themselves.
All photos via Rolling Stone