CULTURE

Post Malone Falls, Gets Face Tattoo, Hugs BTS on New Year's Eve

His entire night was a very symbolic reconstruction of the incredibly chaotic 2010s and an invitation into what is sure to be an equally chaotic new decade.

Post Malone had a tumultuous New Year's Eve, to say the least.

Just hours before his headlining performance in Times Square, Posty decided to emblazon his face with yet another tattoo. It's "like a gauntlet and like a flail—it's like a big spiked ball on a chain," he told TMZ.

This means that he is rapidly running out of space for more face tattoos, a true achievement. When asked about the tattoo, he said, "It hurt like a motherf*cker."

Later that night, Post Malone headlined Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve in Times Square. He performed his hits in a neon pink suit, and, at some point, he tumbled into the audience. Though the fall caused a stir, Post was unscathed and appeared to be laughing as security helped him back onstage.

Post Malone falls off stage mid performance at Dick Clark's Nye celebrations www.youtube.com

By midnight, he had completely bounced back from the fall, and fellow headliners and K-pop stars BTS drew him into a group hug as the clock struck twelve.

When you're living under late capitalism, sometimes simply being a complete disaster is a revolutionary act.

Thus, Post Malone's disastrous New Year's Eve celebration—face-plant and face tattoo and who knows what other shenanigans—might be read as an act of revolution against a system that expects us to be visually composed and perpetually re-optimizing ourselves. On the other hand, it might just mean that Post Malone—like our global ecosystem and economy—is really in free-fall, and we're just going to keep watching things plummet.

Regardless, Post Malone's New Year's Eve sounds like a true last-night-of-2019 mood, the perfect way to ring in a new decade that's sure to be at least as chaotic and Post Malone-filled as the last. Despite all the mishaps and painful inking experience, the kind of compassion displayed by BTS in Post's hour of loneliness is what might get us through it all.

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.

Reigning weird white women Lana Del Rey, Grimes, and Brit Marling sat down to have a conversation for Interview Magazine, and the result was as futuristic and multidimensional as you might expect.

Grimes, who's in the midst of promoting her forthcoming album Miss_Anthropocene, spoke to Del Rey about everything from ancient religions to artificial intelligence and beyond. Their conversation revolved around artmaking, womanhood, and fame in the Internet age; and like their art, it was characteristically inscrutable. When Del Rey asked if Grimes' work was inspired by personal experience or "the overculture," Grimes launched into a discussion of ancient Egyptian gods and anthropomorphization. "If you think about it, god-making or god-designing just seems so fun. The idea of making the Goddess of Plastic seems so fun to me," she said.

Lana Del Rey and Grimes: Variations on Femininity, Faith, and Critics

Though they're both creative spirits who play with religious symbols and cultural iconography, Grimes and Del Rey are known for representing femininity in different ways (and for dating problematic men). While Del Rey has been linked to classic archetypes of femininity, Grimes' early work seemed to present a futuristic, androgynous image. "On my last record, I was in this gender-neutral mindset," Grimes told Del Rey. "I was an asexual person. F*ck my sexuality. F*ck femininity. F*ck being a girl. I was having this weird reaction to society where I just hated my femaleness. It was like, to be a producer, I felt like I had to be a man."

Consequence of Sound

But Grimes' next album seems like it will lean deeper into feminine and goddess archetypes, while Del Rey's latest, Norman F**king Rockwell, found her comparing herself to great male artists and challenging those who labeled her work as artificial.

Both were full of surprises and were critical of the press, which have always viciously criticized each of them in turn. "In terms of what I'm writing, in my personal life I have to be really, really happy," said Del Rey, contradicting thousands of critics in one fell swoop. They also lamented outrage culture, with its tendency to pluck headlines from interviews and its preference for catchy misinformation at the price of nuance.

Timothysacchenti.com

Grimes and Brit Marling: On Politics, Artificial Intelligence's Impending World Domination, Capitalism, and Hyperobjects

In the second part of the interview, Grimes spoke to Brit Marling, another futurist whose recently-canceled show, The OA, presented an alternative mode of storytelling and connected technology to environmentalism to the multiverse theory. Together, the two lamented how their work and visions sometimes wind up being incompatible with reality.

Like their work, their conversations spiraled through various dimensions, though one could only imagine what they'd speak about off the record. "We're always negotiating the cost versus the craziness, which is why we always end up editing ourselves," said Marling, hinting at dimensions left unseen.

Both expressed appreciation for the mind-bending nature of each other's work, and Grimes quickly dove back into history and archetypes. "In the medieval times, when literacy was at its lowest, everything got really symbolic, like the cross. Nuance got lost," said Grimes. "I feel like we're going back to a time like that, where everything is symbolic. No one reads past a headline because our attention spans are so short. The same symbols are being fed to people, and they're gathering completely opposite meanings from them, and it's creating chaos."

Marling pulled things towards the politics of the present. "The American flag means one thing to one group of people, and one thing to another," she said. "To one, it's a metaphor for freedom. To another, it's an image of oppression. That duality of symbolism applies to so many things. But we live in an increasingly complex time where it's hard to grasp things in symbols. We're having to deal with all of these hyperobjects. Climate change is a hyperobject that people cannot wrap their minds around, because, among other things, it involves a contemplation of time that is off the scope of the human body. We're at a moment when we need nuanced, layered thinking more than ever, and somehow the moment is being met with a real shrinking away from context or depth."

Collider

They also discussed artificial intelligence and its impending world domination, a favorite topic of Grimes'. "There will eventually be a sentient technology that is smart enough and strong enough and has access to take everyone's sh*t, and then can make anyone do whatever it wants," said Grimes. "I might be wrong, and I might be aggrandizing here, but I feel like this might be one of the most important times in history. Especially in the last two years, it feels like we've walked right up to the edge between the old world and the new world. It's like before the pyramids and after the pyramids. We're at a 'pyramids got built' moment. We're going to be digitizing reality and colonizing space simultaneously, which may be two of the craziest things that will have occurred in the history of humanity. It's going to happen while we're alive and while we're young, which is nuts."

Marling has previously written about the need for a better story, one that unifies the scattered threads of our era and critiques hero worship, but the idea that artificial intelligence might write this story is definitely a threat to all of this. She replied, "If the objective of art has often been to be a lighthouse in the dark, to say, 'Hey, come this way,' or to expose fraudulent things for what they actually are, what does it mean if something other than human beings is authoring that force of rebellion?" A valid point—though on the other hand, what if artificial intelligence could improve upon some of the flaws that define the human condition, such as our general inability to understand what asexuality actually is?

Grimes returned to a topic she'd addressed with Del Rey. "We're always looking for our maker: 'Who is our god? Who created us?' What's interesting is, for AI, we are their god," she said. "That will be the first intelligent being that knows its creator, and knows everything about us."

Marling proposed that maybe AI isn't our worst fear—maybe something else is already controlling us. "Capitalism, even if there wasn't corruption, is a model that doesn't work for most people, because its only goal is the increase of profit, which means that there's somebody at the top of the pyramid and most people at the bottom who get paid less than their work is worth for profit to be extracted," she said. "I think part of the reason there's been so much climate change denial is that if you acknowledge that this economic system leads to ecological ruin, you have to acknowledge in the same breath that it's broken. Right now, we put value in growth, and everything is just endless, ridiculous growth, even though we're on a finite planet with dwindling resources and more people every day. Let's say, just for a moment, you put the value on caregiving."

"I was just thinking the other day how much I didn't appreciate my mom growing up," said Grimes. "I remember thinking, 'Why did you wake me up for school? This b*tch. F*ck.'"

There's only one conclusion to be drawn here. Lana Del Rey, Grimes, and Brit Marling should collaborate on a visual concept album with an interactive artificial intelligence component that crafts a new story outside the bounds of capitalism and neoliberalism and that motivates everyone to fight climate change, promote ethics in Silicon Valley, and call their mom.