MUSIC

Diagnosis: Matty Healy Is Rich and Out of Touch

The 1975 frontman made a "joke" about the coronavirus that he probably shouldn't have made.

Not to insinuate that anyone's life is easy, but especially in times like these, it must be nice to be Matty Healy.

The 1975 frontman is in an incredibly privileged position. His band is so popular that they can afford to be extremely picky with which festivals they perform at, though they've already headlined many. They've landed a No. 1 album. Their list of awards and nominations warrants its own Wikipedia page. Healy's net worth is most often estimated to be somewhere around $15 million.

But despite a status that most rock hopefuls can only dream of, Healy is still a sentient human being who has opinions about the coronavirus, and he hails from a country whose leader is almost as hopeless as Trump in handling the pandemic. And, like many human beings, he voices those opinions on Twitter. In light of the coronavirus quite literally putting people out of work and wreaking havoc on the indie music industry, Healy had this to say: "Stop telling people to support you we don't want your EP and zine bundle right now Laura we're going to die."

Who is this Laura? Unclear. But it doesn't matter—it was a joke! A joke, guys! A joke about people's livelihoods! Even if buying EP and zine bundles is the one thing keeping folks afloat! And it's OK to joke about it, Healy assures us, because he runs an indie record label. He's totally in tune with struggling musicians just scraping by for a living.


No, Healy shouldn't be "canceled" over this haughty take, but it's not a cute look. With just about every festival, event, and concert tour on the chopping block, musicians—especially lesser-known independent ones—are taking a massive hit in funds that's going to set them back possibly devastating degrees. These artists don't have the safety net that Healy does; with this joke, he's punching down.

Yes, many people have died of coronavirus and will continue to die until everyone masters the art of social distancing, but Healy probably won't die over it. He has a condition called being rich, which impacts those affected by providing access coveted COVID-19 tests mysteriously quickly. Idris Elba also has the condition of being rich; he tested positive for coronavirus despite showing no symptoms. On the other hand, this peasant VICE writer was told she didn't qualify for a coronavirus screening test, despite exhibiting multiple known symptoms, being a social smoker, and working in the same building as someone who potentially came into contact with COVID-19. Strange!

Our diagnosis? Healy is very wealthy and out of touch. I hope he gets well soon.

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

Matty Healy Says the 1975 Will Only Play Gender-Balanced Festivals from Now On

"Reading and Leeds with more women would be honestly the best festival in the world."

The 2020 lineup for the Reading and Leeds Festival was announced this week.

Although a headline slot from the recently reunited Rage Against the Machine has been causing a positive buzz, many people were quick to point out the glaring gender imbalance. Of the 91 acts slated to perform at the major English festival, only 20 of them are women.

Guardian deputy music editor Laura Snapes shared her thoughts on the matter, tweeting "By this stage we can conclusively assume that [managing director of Reading and Leeds promotion company] Melvin Benn doesn't give a s--t about representation."

The 1975 frontman Matty Healy chimed in to say, although he thought RATM is a "dope booking," he agreed with Snapes' comment. Snapes then responded: "add a condition to your rider that says you'll only play festivals that commit to X% (ideally 50%!) acts that include women and non binary performers."

Healy swiftly obliged. "Take this as me signing this contract," he responded. "I have agreed to some festivals already that may not adhere to this and I would never let fans down who already have tickets. But from now I will and believe this is how male artist[s] can be true allies."

The 1975, one of the world's most beloved active rock bands right now, committing to only playing gender-balanced festivals is a major step towards equality in the music industry. They've been staples in festival lineups since their beginning, even headlining Reading and Leeds last year. They're a highly-coveted booking, and, hopefully, their commitment to stick with festivals that equally represent artists who aren’t male will motivate more festivals to think critically about the representation in their lineups and encourage other artists to instill similar ultimatums.

Though some think gender-balanced festival lineups are unrealistic, it's been proven possible. Primavera in Barcelona reached their target of 50 percent women and non-binary performers last year and have hit that target again for their 2020 lineup. Other UK festivals have committed to the increasingly-popular Keychange initiative, in which festival organizers pledge to reach a gender-balanced lineup by 2022.

Healy said it best: "Reading and Leeds with more women would be honestly the best festival in the world."