TV Features

Meet America's Worst Couple: Sean Hannity and Ainsley Earhardt

While they have yet to confirm they're dating, inside sources have confirmed it, and it's too awful to not be true.

Ainsley Earhardt's Facebook

Earlier this month Sean Hannity and Jill Rhodes—his former wife of more than 20 years—announced that they had divorced...more than a year ago.

Apparently their separation has been in the works even longer—with "amicable agreements" dating back to at least 2016. The couple issued an official statement claiming that they still have a close relationship and are "committed to working together for the best interests of their children." But the question remains, why—after keeping it such a closely-guarded secret for so many months—did the Fox News host and his ex finally decide to announce the end of their marriage?

Now, barely a week later, we have an answer that is too upsetting to be anything but the truth. Because, with the divorce public at last, rumors have begun to swirl about a new (or not-so-new) relationship between Sean Hannity, 58, and Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt, 43.

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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.

Satire

Bill O'Reilly Is "on His Last Legs Anyway"

The former host of The O'Reilly Factor wants us to remember that people who are old like him barely matter

Does anyone remember who Bill O'Reilly was?

We probably shouldn't talk about him in the past tense. He's still alive, after all, though probably not for much longer. He's only 70, so he could live another 30 years, and probably someone in the world would be happy to see him still shuffling about, mumbling about writing another Killing So-and-So book, but most of us can see that he's on his last legs. How else could you explain the idea of a man who was once considered a sharp political commentator speaking dismissively about the deaths of tens of thousands of people?

That's exactly what O'Reilly did when calling in to Wednesday's episode of The Sean Hannity Show. Referring to the COVID-19 pandemic that is currently ravaging the hospital system in New York City, Hannity and O'Reilly started out by pining together for a return to normal life, which prompted O'Reilly to find an optimistic angle, saying, "We're making little steps. Bernie Sanders, you know, he's—he's gone, that's really good for everybody."

Seann Hannity Bill O'Reilly Two47 News www.youtube.com

It's unclear what O'Reilly might have meant by that—if he felt that the Vermont senator dropping his bid for the Democratic nomination was a positive move in terms of Trump's reelection chances, Joe Biden's shot at the nomination, or just for the country in general. While it seemed to be a complete non-sequitur, perhaps O'Reilly was under the impression that Bernie Sanders' campaign was somehow responsible for the spread of the coronavirus—when people get on in years, it can be hard to tell what they're even talking about.

But after that brief tangent, O'Reilly managed to get back on topic, producing some figures downplaying the on-going tragedy in a way that almost seemed to suggest that the disruption of familiar routines was actually the bigger issue: "The projections that you just mentioned are down to 60,000, I don't think it will be that high. 13,000 dead now in the USA. Many people who are dying, both here and around the world, were on their last legs anyway." As always, O'Reilly is demonstrating the pinnacle of emotional restraint by keeping things in perspective

Bill O'Reilly - We'll Do It LIVE! www.youtube.com

The "projection" he mentioned is the current estimate for the eventual US death toll from the coronavirus. While it's not clear if that figure will include the deaths that are currently being left out of the total count, 60,000 is significantly less horrifying than previous estimates, which put the expected fatalities closer to 100,000. The fact that Bill O'Reilly happens to think 60,000 is still an overestimate cannot be attributed to any expertise in medicine, epidemiology, or statistics, so the best bet is that he's simply confused—as tends to happen to people who are barely clinging to life. It's good to know that when Bill O'Reilly passes—whether that's a week from now, a year, or twenty years—his loved ones can skip the mourning process and shrug their shoulders because, however he dies, he was old anyway. He was on his last legs.

We can leave aside the fact that many of the people who have already died as a result of contracting the novel coronavirus have been in the prime of their lives. O'Reilly would seemingly acknowledge that those cases deserve our sorrow. His point is just that most of the people who are dying are old like him, and therefore not really worth getting that upset about. If we look at Italy, for example, the death rate for people in their 40s who contracted the virus is less than 1%, while with people in their 70s (like Bill O'Reilly) the virus has killed nearly a quarter of the infected. But they're old anyway, so no big deal. Right, Bill?

Three Bill O'Reilly Sexual Harassment Accusers Speak Out | The Last Word | MSNBC www.youtube.com

The overall message seems to be that if you've ever lost a loved one who was old, you were wrong to get upset about that. They were on their last legs anyway. And if that seems like a heartless, cruel message, please keep in mind that—before he was outed as a serial sexual harasser and removed from Fox News—Bill O'Reilly once hosted the highest-rated show on cable news. These days he is a c-list radio personality.

In other words, he is mentally and physically a hollowed-out husk of his former self—withered away and rapidly deteriorating. We can either wait for him to die, or accept that his life is already devoid of value and start ignoring him now. He's on his last legs anyway.