CULTURE

Best Protest Signs You Missed at the Global Climate Strike

To best capture the zeitgeist of end-of-the-world activism, here are some of the best protest signs from the climate strike.

While climate strikers attempted to shut down Washington, D.C. on Monday, the movement to stop climate change has already gifted us with immediate results.

Granted, policy makers didn't leap to action and a hoax even circulated Facebook that hypocritical "eco warriors" had trashed Hyde Park in London while protesting (a bogus claim that was quickly debunked). But on Monday, the United Nations held their Climate Action Summit for world leaders to create "concrete, realistic plans." A U.N. official said the meeting could be a "slingshot" to mobilize world leaders to reduce emissions and limit global warming. Even Donald Trump, who was not scheduled to attend, made an unexpected appearance.

But no, the most immediate gratification from climate strike is the bevy of protest signs that mix calls to action with meme culture, text speak, and cult classic teen movies. Led by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, the Global Climate Strike movement resulted in strikes in 150 countries, spanning across all 7 continents. The demands, as listed on the climate strike website, are simple: "We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart."

In New York City, over 250,000 protesters took over downtown Manhattan, thousands more marched in major cities like Denver and Chicago, and #ShutDownDC became a trending topic on Twitter as protesters continued the movement in the nation's capital. To best capture the zeitgeist of end-of-the-world activism, here are some of the best protest signs from the climate strike.

Popdust writer Dan K. showing up for climate change

Popdust writer Dan K. showing up for climate

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.

MUSIC

Ed Sheeran Announces Hiatus After Stealing Music (Again)

The singer announced an "18 month" hiatus to be with his wife, but we know the truth.

Ed Sheeran announced at a show in Ipswich last night that he will be taking a break from music for "probably 18 months."

'Thinking Out Loud' vs. 'Let's Get It On': Does Ed Sheeran's song sound too similar? www.youtube.com

"There is something very bittersweet about it. I love that you guys are here and we are ending it in Ipswich," Sheeran said before oddly closing out his set with "You Need Me, I Don't Need You." The news came as a shock to his prepubescent fans, who handled the news rather dramatically.


While Sheeran claims that the break will be an opportunity to start a family with his wife, the timing of the break is eerie considering the singer is two weeks away from a scheduled court date over plagiarism allegations. Sheeran is accused of ripping off Marvin Gaye's 1973 hit "Let's Get It On" on his 2014 smash "Thinking Out Loud." The court appearance comes after it was additionally announced that the singer would not be able to receive royalties for his smash hit "Shape Of You," due to another set of plagiarism accusations from musician Sam Chokri. Chokri alleges that the track's chorus was lifted note for note from his 2015 song "Oh Why." He claims he sent the song to Sheeran's representatives in a bid to collaborate with the singer. The High Court Of England will review the case in 2020.


The most recent allegations also come after the singer recently settled another plagiarism suit outside of court with a former X-factor contender, who claimed that Sheeran copied his song "Amazing" note-for-note on his song "Photograph." As you can see below, Sheeran is no doubt guilty.

Did Ed Sheeran plagiarise Matt Cardle's “Amazing" with his song Photograph? (Comparison / Mashup) youtu.be

Whether the world will miss Ed Sheeran is yet to be seen. No other musician has been such an epitome of toxic masculinity. From the self-deprecating ego-trips of "Shape of You" and "I Don't Care" to the unrealistic and unhealthy relationship guidelines laid out by tracks like "Thinking of You" and "Galway Girl," children and teenagers alike will no doubt be better off without the mediocre singer/songwriter. Perhaps his socially inept fans can start living in the real world and learn how to start and maintain healthy relationships before it's too late.