MUSIC

Phoebe Bridgers Debuts New Song “Halloween” and More, Discusses New Album

Another new song, "Kyoto," is all about astrology, chemtrails, and sadness, and we'd expect nothing less.

Phoebe Bridgers, the astrology-loving wunderkind who solidified her place in indie folk royalty with 2017's Stranger In the Alps, is officially at work on her second album.

"The production is totally different to my first record. People still kind of think of me as like a folk artist, but on the first record, I truly was deferring to other people to produce me," she said. "I basically had these country folk songs. [On the new record] I do a little bit of screaming on what we've recorded so far."

Bridgers has had a busy few years. After a stint opening for Julien Baker, she joined the supergroup Boygenius (with Baker and fellow indie rocker Lucy Dacus), and the trio released an EP. Then she formed a duo with Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst called Better Oblivion Community Center, and the two released their debut last year.

She's been pretty quiet about her solo work, but this week she debuted a total of four new songs at various performances. These songs are called "Halloween," "Kyoto," "Garden Song," and "Graceland Too," as far as we know. Bridgers is an incredibly talented lyricist, and these songs show her interweaving modern themes like conspiracy theories and astrology with characteristically devastating refrains.

Phoebe Bridgers - Halloween (Live Debut) [2019] www.youtube.com

While we don't have a date for the next album, judging by these songs, it'll be worth the wait.

boygenius - "Salt In The Wound" (Live at WFUV) www.youtube.com

CULTURE

Nazi-Chic: The Aesthetics of Fascism

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.

Oh, right.

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.

Implications

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.

Yes, maybe you've swallowed a spider in your sleep before.

But contrary to the myth that the average human swallows eight spiders a year while they're sleeping, it's highly unlikely to happen more than once in your lifetime. Still, something about life in America encourages a fear of spiders, as 30.5% of Arachnophobiacs live in the United States. In fact, Google Trends reveal that fear of spiders is one of the most prevalent in the country. Clinical psychologist Sophie Li posits that that specific phobia could be social run-off from media depictions: As "a social or cultural component...spiders are often depicted and promoted as being scary and deadly." She adds, "Another theory is that, through evolutionary processes, we've been genetically predisposed to develop fears and phobias of things that threatened the safety of early humans, things like spiders and snakes."

Realistically, based on Americans' most common fears in 2019, it's probably a combination of both. A phobia is defined as "a type of anxiety disorder that causes an individual to experience extreme, irrational fear about a situation, living creature, place, or object." Phobias have unclear causes, but it's usually the result of traumatic events and/or a manifestation of a pre-existing anxiety disorder. As such, you're unlikely to develop a phobia past the age of 30. Of course, phobias are different from our every day fears (they are an official, diagnosed mental disorder, after all), but their roots lie in the same black depths of our brains where we process the world and our anxieties about it.

Chapman University

According to surveys of Americans' specific fears, the most popular (and growing) fears are of corrupt government officials, pollution, and economic instability. Meanwhile, our universal fears remain pretty constant: aging (gerascophobia), public speaking (or glossophobia), death (thanatophobia), being eaten by a wild boar (agrizoophobia)...the usual. Horror movies have mastered the science of tapping into our fears and anxieties, from natural disasters to killer v*ginas (v*gina dentata).

Welcome to our tour through humanity's most common fears with these celebrated and not-so-celebrated and sometimes downright cringey horror films.

Dolls

First stop: Pediophobia, a.k.a. fear of dolls. Pediophobia is relatively common and classified as a type of automatonophobia, or fear of humanoid figures. Think uncanny valley plus evil spirits. Clinical psychologist Kate Wolitzky-Taylor, PhD, says we're strangely conditioned to fear dolls from pop culture and experience. "This consistent pairing of dolls with other creepy, scary stimuli may lead to experiencing fear or nervousness when confronted with a doll or an image of a doll," she says. "Learning is a big factor, whether it's direct learning experiences, or vicarious learning through others."

Bottom line: No adult genuinely f*cking likes dolls. Annabelle is a Bratz doll raised by wolves. Haunted wolves. Buy your DVD copy today!