CULTURE

Sharon Osbourne Might Be the Worst Person on Earth

Ozzy used to seem scary, but Sharon's story about endangering and firing an assistant is pure nightmare fuel.

The Sun

As a child, I remember the Osbourne family getting a reality show, and hearing that the shuffling, mumbling Ozzy Osbourne had once bitten the head off a dead bat in front of a crowd of Black Sabbath fans.

At the time it was hard for me to process how this shambolic man could once have been capable of such a horrific act, and the mystery of that transformation made him somehow even more terrifying. I was much less concerned with his wife, Sharon, whose cheery screeching would have seemed at home in a HOA meeting anywhere in the world. To me she seemed like an ordinary suburban mom, unwittingly wedded to an inhuman fiend.

Ozzy Osbourne

Today, that's no longer the case. I have grown up, Sharon has unmasked herself, and I have come to realize that Ozzy was the innocent victim all along. His dazed shuffling was no act. It wasn't concealing anything. The recent rumors that he had taken to his deathbed were unfounded, but they reflect a deeper truth. He has long been drained of the dark energy he once held by extended proximity to a more powerful malevolent being. Sharon Osbourne is my new nightmare fuel.

She revealed her true form on a December 26th episode of the BBC game show Would I Lie to You? The format of the show involves celebrity panelists telling stories about themselves that the other panelists have to judge to be either true or lies. The story Sharon told about herself spoke of such outrageous and oblivious cruelty that there was no question she was telling the truth. Her summary of the events tells the story plainly enough: "I once sacked a member of my staff because he showed absolutely no sense of humor during a house fire."

Did Ozzy Osbourne on FIRE get his assistant sacked?! | Would I Lie To You - BBC www.youtube.com

Generally the summaries on this show—when the stories are true—are revealed to be slightly hyperbolic versions of the actual events, exaggerated so their fellow panelists will mistake them for lies. But as the panelists dug into Sharon's story, the details become more and more upsetting. She describes a mishap that unfolded with a candle gifted to the family for Christmas, with the result that she woke up to find their living room and half of Ozzy's hair on fire. After a failed attempt of whacking him with a magazine, she managed to douse her husband by pushing him into the fountain.

That part is fine—even if she does claim to have been laughing at his suffering. Where the horror begins is when Ozzy's assistant enters the picture. When panelist Liz Bonnin—known for presenting wildlife programs in the UK—asks where the assistant was throughout this first part of the story, Osbourne responds, with disgust twisting her features, "Sleeping!" She seems to think that it's this assistant's responsibility to operate at such a pure level of subservience that sleep ceases to be a basic bodily function and only serves as a standby state for such times when assistance isn't needed. Bonnin's baffled, "How dare he…?" summarizes the natural human response to this level of entitlement, but Osbourne is just getting started.

Sharon Osbourne upset Getty Images

Her next step was to rouse the assistant from the guest house and send him into the burning building to retrieve the family's dogs, but not before grabbing valuable paintings. It's certainly understandable that a person would want their pets rescued in a situation like this, and maybe even ask someone else to do the saving if you don't feel up to it yourself. It may not be a reasonable request, but emotions run high when pets are in danger. But the paintings? Do they not have insurance on these valuable works of art? If I were the kind of person who valued my things above the safety and well-being of humans, I would definitely get those things insured. But maybe for Sharon Osbourne, having a disposable underling on hand is the best kind of insurance. That seems to be her thinking when she complains that he was "hemming and hawing" at the order to re-enter the burning building that she herself would not go into.

The most disturbing part of the story comes after the arrival of firefighters, who provide the assistant with an oxygen mask to ameliorate the risk of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. In her own words, Sharon Osbourne's response was to say, "How very dare you! You work here, and you get more paintings out right now!" and to pull the oxygen mask from his face and give it to her dog instead. The hierarchy of value in her head is so clearly warped to only account for what serves her needs and desires. A dog has value as a companion, a painting has value as an asset, but a worker has no value as a human—only as means to their employer's ends. Their reliance on her wealth renders them subhuman.

sharon osbourne gif

Later on, when Sharon and Ozzy were laughing about the incident and the assistant expressed some small portion of their resentment at this inhumane treatment and the trauma Sharon Osbourne had inflicted—as well as some concern about the health of their lungs—Sharon, rolling her eyes, recounts saying, "If you don't think that's funny, do you think this is funny… you're fired."

No one thinks it's funny, Sharon. You seem to think this is a story of you being sassy and tough, but the truth is that you are the kind of monster that keeps sane people up at night. At this point, biting the head off a bat would humanize you.

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

The Bloodiest Bands of All Time

These guys are bats*it crazy, but it's Spooky Season after all!

Spooky season is upon us, and that means that it's time for us to pay respect to the bands and artists that genuinely terrify us.

The world of music is such a diverse and creatively open environment, which is both a gift and a curse. It's a gift in that self-expression, no matter how horrid, is (usually) welcomed with open arms, and it's a curse because self-expression, no matter how horrid, is (usually) welcomed with open arms. Let's take a look at the worlds spookiest musical acts and pay homage to those that have scarred us forever!

Slipknot

You can't talk about scary musicians without discussing the antics of Corey Taylor's 17-piece metal ensemble: Slipknot. Those spooky masks aside, the guys have all come clean about the absolutely bats*it things they've done as a band. From getting pissed on by two girls to huffing the scent of a jarred bird's corpse to get high on stage, these guys have a gauntlet of horror stories seemingly with no end. Also, let's not forget that they got into a fight using their own feces. Rock on guys, I guess.