Warren's savage performance at the debate last night left Bloomberg's expensive candidacy badly damaged
Last Night's Democratic Primary debate in Las Vegas had a number of highlights, with tension and personal attacks arising between a number of candidates.
Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar clashed numerous times during the debate and finished the night with a rejected handshake, while every candidate but Bloomberg himself took a swipe at the former elephant in the room (because he used to be a Republican…and they have an elephant mascot…you get it). But there was no other drama as costly—in every sense of the word—as Elizabeth Warren's vicious takedown of the former Mayor of New York and current billionaire scandal-machine.
After dropping more than $400 million on an advertising blitz that includes memes from the people who promoted the Fyre Festival and a commercial that all-but claims an endorsement from best-friend Barack Obama (with whom Bloomberg is hardly friendly), Bloomberg had managed to scrape together an impressive position in national polls. That, along with possible help of donations to the DNC, was enough to qualify him for the debate stage in Las Vegas Wednesday night, but he may be regretting that fact after Warren tore into his troubling record on a number of issues, beginning with the laundry list of sexual harassment allegations that his employees have leveled against him.
"I'd like to talk about who we're running against: a billionaire who calls women 'fat broads' and 'horse-faced lesbians.' And no, I'm not talking about Donald Trump; I'm talking about Mayor Bloomberg. Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of harassing women, and of supporting racist policies like red-lining and stop and frisk."
Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images
As she went in, Mike Bloomberg stood roughly three feet to her right (though several miles to her right in terms of policy positions), allowing the audience's derision to wash over him. The sour expression on his face spoke to the sprawling spreadsheet inside his head, calculating what it will cost to repair his polling after such a bloodbath. Of course, any conversation about his history with female employees is hampered by the fact that the details of the cases against him are not available to the public. The women involved signed non-disclosure agreements from which Bloomberg could easily release them—despite his meaningless protestations that the contracts were "consensual."
"He has gotten some number of women—dozens? Who knows—to sign non-disclosure agreements, both for sexual harassment, and for gender discrimination in the workplace. So, Mr. Mayor, are you willing to release all of those women from those non-disclosure agreements, so we can hear their side of the story?"
No, he is not. What he is willing to do is claim that "some number" of non-disclosure agreements is actually just "a very few"—though not so few that when Warren repeatedly asked him, "How many is that?" he could provide a specific answer. He was also happy to dismiss the women's complaints against him, saying "maybe they didn't like a joke I told" to jeers from the crowd.
Repairing his image among women who have worked under casual misogynists is not going to be cheap. No doubt there are crisis meetings in board rooms along Madison avenue right now, full of advertising executives and copywriters storyboarding a 2-minute primetime spot about how much Bloomberg hated hanging out with Harvey Weinstein throughout their long friendship—watch for that during commercial breaks for this Sunday's American Idol.
Jemal Countess/Getty Images
But Warren wasn't done with him. She dug into Bloomberg's record on race relations, as well. Many people have criticized his half-assed apology for his Stop and Frisk policy—claiming that he cut the practice by 95%, when he actually expanded it by 600% and only cut it down when he was forced to—but Elizabeth Warren really broke it down:
"When the mayor says that he apologized, listen very closely to the apology. The language he used about Stop and Frisk is about how it turned out. Now, this isn't about how it turned out. This is about what it was designed to do to begin with. It targeted communities of color. It targeted black and brown men from the beginning. And if you want to issue a real apology, then the apology has to start with the intent of the plan as it was put together, and the willful ignorance, day by day by day, of admitting what was happening, even as people protested in your own street—shutting out the sounds of people telling you how your own policy was breaking their lives. You need a different apology here, Mr. Mayor."
Ouch. It's a situation that many voters outside of New York are likely unfamiliar with. And considering Bloomberg's strong polling among black voters, this potent indictment could do more damage than any number of spurious Obama commercials can repair—but he has to try, dammit! Hopefully no one is motivated to Google Warren's comment about red-lining, or they may find the audio of Mike Bloomberg from 2015, seeming to blame the 2008 financial crisis on the end of racist home-loan practices.
Prediction markets are sometimes dumb but don't remember someone crashing this much over the course of a debate (we… https://t.co/yoVMclOc2X— Nate Silver (@Nate Silver)1582166984.0
The full bill for damage control remains to be seen—polling generally takes a few days to register shifts in public opinion—but looking at the steep dive Bloomberg took in the betting markets and the fact that his campaign has cost around $22 million for each percentage point of support, it seems safe to say that Elizabeth Warren's savage performance will end up costing him at least $100 million. Fortunately that's only about 0.15% of his net worth, so he certainly won't get vindictive and go on the attack in a way that reinforces the idea of him as a heartless and spiteful person…
Good luck out there, Mike!
Here are the best tweets about Warren's takedown of Bloomberg:
Media: Elizabeth Warren is done. No need to mention her anymore. Elizabeth Warren: https://t.co/edkUSRGV55— Jake McClory (@Jake McClory)1582171187.0
I liked the part in the debate where Bloomberg realized in real time that 50 billion dollars couldn’t buy him a decent comeback— Dana Schwartz (@Dana Schwartz)1582216674.0
The thing about @ewarren is she knows, now matter how dead the monster looks, you fucking kill him again.— Lauren Hough (@Lauren Hough)1582166077.0
Liz warren tonight https://t.co/ALnlU6Qpyd— Robbie Couch (@Robbie Couch)1582165363.0
Elizabeth Warren this morning https://t.co/iWalZLj4gF— Antwaun Sargent (@Antwaun Sargent)1582204028.0
Did Elizabeth warren just say she shot a man in Reno just to watch him die?— Irin Carmon (@Irin Carmon)1582165648.0
I wouldn’t mind if Elizabeth Warren gestured at Pete Buttigieg and called him “my sneaky fucking nephew over here.”— Louis Virtel (@Louis Virtel)1582166115.0
E Warren this whole debate https://t.co/r8c1DVHWoh— Matthew A. Cherry (@Matthew A. Cherry)1582167129.0
https://t.co/7n61wiGiBr— Slade (@Slade)1582167203.0
That face when you realize you could've spent a lot less than $500 million to have someone stomp on your balls https://t.co/fFS5KJ9rP7— Zack Bornstein (@Zack Bornstein)1582172789.0
I relate to Bloomberg in terms of I, too, have paid money to have a bad time— broti gupta (@broti gupta)1582173639.0
I love Wikipedia vandalism https://t.co/AP9d7C1Pqw— Alex (@Alex)1582168020.0
When she was 16 Warren won a debate scholarship to George Washington University “fellow debaters described Warren’… https://t.co/yjalWv8GtY— Behind 2020 (@Behind 2020)1582220857.0
Elizabeth Warren as she sipped her morning coffee: https://t.co/bb18vy09kv— Former Broadway Playwright Jeremy O. Harris (@Former Broadway Playwright Jeremy O. Harris)1582222500.0
New image for "sub/dom" in the BDSM manual. from now on, call her MISTRESS WARREN. https://t.co/pMlKhAaARg— Matt Ruby (@Matt Ruby)1582223675.0
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A vibrant summer earworm.
Dance-pop duo Krewella, the Pakistani-American sisters, hooks up with Yellowclaw on "Rewind."
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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.
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.
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.
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