The interests of corporate media are incompatible with a true left movement.
In Iowa on Tuesday night, CNN hosted a debate among Democratic candidates for the president.
Measures were taken to thin out the crowded field of contenders, leaving just six hopefuls to share the stage. But for many voters there were only two candidates who really mattered.
Since the weekend, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have been embroiled in a petty conflict stirred up by anonymous sources and divisive hashtags. The only progressive candidates on the stage—who held to a truce for so long—have now been framed as enemies by the disputed content of a private conversation that took place more than a year ago.
Bernie was on the Defensive in the First Debate of 2020 | NowThis www.youtube.com
Did Bernie Sanders say, in 2018, that he didn't think a woman could win this election? Bernie denies it while Elizabeth Warren stands by the leaked account. Meanwhile, all of their exchanges are subject to a level of scrutiny that isn't healthy for anyone involved. People have been freaking out about the way moderator Abby Phillip ignored Bernie's denial, immediately following it up by asking Warren, "What did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?" Likewise, the fact that Warren didn't accept Bernie's handshake was fodder for outrage.
Twitter is the environment where Sanders' most die-hard supporters hold sway, and they have poured their effort into hashtags like #NeverWarren, #LyingLiz, and #WarrenIsASnake. For many Warren supporters who backed Clinton in 2016, the whole mess carries echoes of vicious attacks against Hillary and the sense that female candidates are held to a higher standard and treated to harsher punishment than their male competitors.
CNN tried to politically assinate Bernie last night. Why would we EVER turn that on again? CNN has no power if we… https://t.co/tmLruygEjP— Carol Leonard Earn My Vote (@Carol Leonard Earn My Vote)1579109521.0
The question of whether the people spreading these hashtags hold sexist views is beside the point. They play into a perception that the Sanders campaign belongs to so-called "Bernie Bros" and to a brand of exclusionary sexism that disguises itself as moral outrage—yet always seems to be directed with extra vitriol toward women.
Bernie Sanders has given no indication that this is the kind of messaging he wants his supporters to be spreading. It doesn't benefit him. As he said of the drama during the debate, "This is what Donald Trump, and maybe some in the media, want." Sanders knows that if he—or Warren, or any progressive candidate—has a chance of overcoming the corporate media-backed centrists who want to quash any hint of real reform, it will only be with the unified support of every progressive demographic. If Bernie's stated mission of "justice for all" means anything, he won't want to alienate voices that advocate for feminist perspectives—nor can he afford to let his supporters do it for him. So the competing hashtag among Warren supporters, #BelieveWomen—borrowed from the #MeToo movement—represents a serious problem for him, as well.
@BarbaraRansby Because women deal with this ALL THE DAMN TIME and she knows how this “feud” will play in the public… https://t.co/RNqkxA3ppD— Amalia Anderson (@Amalia Anderson)1579057742.0
So far this drama has only served to turn these groups of supporters against each other. Warren can't win if voters who prioritize economic justice have decided she's a "snake," and Sanders can't win if people who prioritize women's rights think he's a sexist. But there is another trending hashtag that both groups might be able to get behind: #CNNIsTrash.
The control of political news by a handful of massive corporations is a serious threat to our democracy. The interests of those corporations and their financial backers are fundamentally aligned against progressive movements, and Bernie Sanders' recent surge in the polls made him a particular target. Once it was clear that their efforts to ignore him had failed, CNN and the other media empires made up their minds to use every line of attack they could find.
Mika gets it. #CNNisTrash https://t.co/M3SlVFzwOI— Ԍεοϝϝ 🌹 (@Ԍεοϝϝ 🌹)1579091064.0
Throughout the debate, CNN consistently phrased questions and ran chyrons that framed Bernie's stances in the most negative possible light. It's easy enough with issues like increased spending and free trade—where the line of attack is already established—but what they were really desperate for was something that would split the left and trigger progressive in-fighting. Bad blood, left over from 2016, already had some potential to pit feminists and "brocialists," but then Elizabeth Warren's campaign gave them a gift.
The anonymous hearsay, and then the confirmation from Warren, were guaranteed to reopen old wounds and retrench the familiar factions that she supposedly wanted to avoid. The only two options that are being treated seriously are the suggestion that Sanders is a sexist or that Elizabeth Warren is a traitor. There's no real consideration for an error in communication or an imperfect memory of events on either side. So far, so good as far as CNN is concerned. The drama is good for their ratings, and a centrist president is good for their tax burden.
If Warren and Sanders want to move past this controversy and cement the kind of progressive unity they will need if either of them hopes to win, then they need to cut the corporate media platform out of the equation entirely. There is no debate, no segment, no panel discussion that can heal these wounds as long as CNN or any other corporate media empire is hosting. Sanders and Warren have to meet on their own terms to have a public conversation about their shared vision, their shared values, and what they think and believe about sexism in politics and in the United States writ large. A live-streamed summit.
If done right, they might be able to piggyback on the attention being paid to all this hateful drama, and find a way to repair the damage that's been done—to pull us all away from the destructive tendencies that consume our politics. Fortunately, there may be hope for that outcome. Tom Steyer was not just the random billionaire who bought his way onto the stage Tuesday night, he was also the random billionaire awkwardly standing in the background as Sanders and Warren spoke to each other in the aftermath of the debate.
The tension in the exchange was palpable even from the distance of that wide shot. But Steyer was right in the thick of it. After Warren left Sanders' extended hand hanging, the two exchanged a few words and some stern looks while Steyer hovered nearby. He has claimed not to have been listening, but he did say, "They were talking about getting together or something." Let's cross our fingers that they do so soon—preferably before the Iowa Caucuses.
Only the two of them—without the interference of Twitter noise or media bear-poking—can sort this mess out. If they do get together to resolve their issues, and gift the country a symbol of restored unity, there might be some hope left for this election, and for the future of our nation.
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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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Summer Walker returns and is no longer playing games.
Summer Walker loves creating music but despises the music industry.
She regularly considers retirement and ended her 2019 tour early because of social anxiety. "I hope that people understand and respect that at the end of the day I'm a person, I have feelings, I get tired, I get sad," she said in a video post. "I don't want to lose myself for someone else." She was relentlessly vilified for her decision. Fans cited stiff meet-and-greets and chalked up Walker's cancellations to a sense of entitlement.
Then she was presented with the "Best New Artist" award at the 2019 Soul Train Awards, and her hurried acceptance speech was dissected by tasteless memes all across the country. Walker's candid cries for understanding remained completely ignored by years end. The truth of the matter is that Walker suffers from anxiety and stage fright that is all but totally crippling. So she did what any misunderstood artist does, she disappeared and stopped saying anything at all.