Posts Tagged ‘WTF’

The Hitler Youth haircut

Monday, May 26th, 2014

hipster and nazi hairstyle

Google Hitler Youth haircut. You get “About 50,300 results” and most of the hits are articles about the contemporary version of the Hitler Youth undercut (or “curtained“) hairstyle.

look at this fucking hipster

The abrupt turn to the right in the 2014 European Parliament elections, including massive gains for the far-right anti-immigration National Front in France, the anti-immigration and racist UKIP in the UK, and a far right party in Denmark (among many others) seems to signal what we’re headed for. Then there’s the right-wing nationalist Navendra Modi’s win in India, military coups popping up in other places… And by way of observation I wanted to mention the UK study which found that although people born between 1980 and 2000 are more progressive around issues like gay marriage and euthanasia, they vote markedly further to the right than either their parents or grandparents did at their age.

I know I’m not alone in finding this haircut and all its variants chilling.

For a more extended argument on why historical styles probably can’t entirely be detached from their original historical referents, especially if the histories they refer to involve violence and oppression, please see this not-unrelated post on the settler/pioneer/colonial style known as the heritage hipster. Different style, but similar trajectory. Hypermasculine, white…

Fashion is always a bellwether.

hitler youth haircut then & now

hipster haircut

hitler youth haircut - poster

Hitler Youth haircut brownshirt

hitler youth haircut

For fun, the overgroomed douche variant:

hitler haircut douche version

Then there’s the other shaved-sides dictator style, the Kim Jong Un. Supposedly this cut is now mandatory for all males in North Korea (and, apparently, for plenty of males in my own social circle):

kim jong un mandatory haircut

Kim Jong Un haircut

Just no. Enough of all this masculinity in crisis and all this aestheticization of fascism. I’m glad my grandfather who landed in Normandy on D-Day to fight the Nazis didn’t live to see all these twerps dressing like Hitler Youth. Seriously, let’s come up with something else. If people need an edgy joke haircut, I’m sure they can come up with a fashion joke that perhaps mocks power instead of victims of genocide.

See also:

How to ask for a Hitler Youth Haircut

Every Dude You Know Is Getting This Haircut

The 20 Most Controversial Men’s Style Trends of the Past 20 Years

Comeback of the Hitler Youth haircut worries Jewish and progressive groups fearing intolerance

or search Hitler youth haircut on Tumblr – here’s a journalism student saying “I got the Hitler Youth haircut I always wanted”

nazi youth haircut vancouver
Howe Street, Vancouver, May 2014

hitler youth haircut


PS Thanks to Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, and Romania for going left in the 2014 EU elections.

Next in this series: more trendy male styles from other specifically conservative decades. See Settler & pioneer “heritage hipster” styles in the age of Idle No More, Chinatown gentrification, &c.



When you have oil pipeline companies, who needs satire?

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

giant U.S. oil company and the end of satire

Giant U.S. oil/energy mega-corp Kinder Morgan has applied to triple the size of a pipeline across British Columbia, bringing dirty bitumen-laced oil from the Alberta Tar Sands. “Public” hearings to assess the application have been notoriously non-public. An economist friend of mine found the above excerpt in Kinder Morgan’s application, revealing the company to be capable of Swiftian satire in content if not in literary ability. As another friend remarked: this may mark the end of satire, friends.

“Pipeline spills can have both positive and negative effects on local and regional economies, both in the short and long term. Spill response and clean-up creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and clean-up service providers. This demand
for services and personnel can also directly or indirectly affect businesses and livelihoods. The net overall effect depends on the size and extent of a spill, the associated demand for clean-up services and personnel, the capacity of local businesses to meet this demand, the willingness of local businesses and response opportunities, the extent of business and livelihoods adversely indirectly) by the spill, and the duration and extent of spill response and clean-up activities.”

In short, B.C.’s employment crisis will in part be solved by…. oil spill clean up jobs.

Voilà. Farce economics!

SOURCE: Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Application (hard copy). PDF version of the application is here. Opposition from the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby through which this pipeline does and will pass can be read here.

Vancouver Airport plans “luxury outlet” mall, bastard child of Disneyland and Bouncy Castle

Thursday, January 30th, 2014


OMFG. That is all.

Or perhaps you want to read the Storify archive of the Twitter conversation that ensued when I first posted the article where I first learned of this design abomination.

Best Twitter response:   “Where’s Mickey and Goofy?”



Ecce Vancouver

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Condo ad, Vancouver

Vancouver, is that your motto?

Out with the old, in with the new?

Condo ad, Vancouver

Meanwhile, this questionable object will replace The Ridge Theatre, one of Vancouver’s few historic repertory cinemas:

Condos replacing The Ridge Theatre

Apparently this passed a City of Vancouver design panel. Is there no end to the mediocrity of architecture in this city? Thousands of years of human activity culminate in this weak, destined-to-be-shortlived mess?

Why is any developer allowed to build housing developments a whole gargantuan block at a time, period, let alone a full block of this sort of architectural poverty? This town needs more small to medium developments, by widely respected architects, one or two lots at a time, not these overgrown disasters. Where is the porosity from the street, or texture, or true variety? On this note, see also the proposed Rize at historic Main/Broadway/Kingsway.

Apologies for the ongoing pathos; it’s just that others in this town are covering board-of-trade-style Vancouver boosterism so well, and so slavishly, it seems more worthwhile to concentrate on the city’s fast-accumulating wreckage instead.

“Contempo” – my term for the insincere faux-modern design style infecting our lives

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

There is a particular type of contemporary design that I deeply hate but for which there is no terminology. About six years ago, out of frustration, I came up with “contempo.” It is a deliberately cheesy term for a cheesy aesthetic, an aesthetic of dumbed-down, cutesy faux-modernism. The made-up word “contempo” somehow had the correct sound—the idiotic, faux-Italian, marketing-ish, self-conscious jauntiness that this style cried out for. It seemed the sort of term condo decorators might use on a target audience that believe it wants edgy, urban, modern design, but that really wants softened, comforting, domesticated  objects faintly reminiscent of children’s toys, or of an earlier, mustier era.

You know contempo when you see it. It often has a forced, strained expressivity or an almost wacky attempt at playfulness. Look at me! Look how creative and quirky and snaky I am!

Contempo makes no attempt to be true to materials or function. Nor does it abide by modernism’s ethic of minimalism and simplicity. It’s brushed nickel aping stainless steel, it’s Edwardian shapes but made from faux-industrial materials, and above all it’s elaborate and pointless curves instead of straight lines.

IKEA, which sometimes gets design right, does now produce a lot of contempo. Brushed nickel/plastic triffid fixtures and curved tracklights are the worst type of contempo design.

Why does contempo involve all those saucy, expressive curves? As my friend Michael put it, “why can’t we be the curve?” Is all this snakiness meant to make us feel more alive? Or is it in fact busy doing all our slinkiness for us? Did it ever consider that we might want some straight, restrained edges to be slinky in contrast to? Is it because people are desperate to make their objects offset the  experience of living in urban boxes by aping the fluidity of the natural environment? The thing is, if you want to make environments more sensual and human, why not just add a few soft, high-quality handmade textiles with some integrity, rather than this loopiness that’s doomed to failure?

Manufacturing-wise, it is more difficult to make curves than straight lines (though with algorithmic-based architectural software and with 3D printing this could, sadly, change. Look out.). But of course curves are only one of the ways contempo design trumpets that it’s trying too hard.

It’s generally accepted in cultural theory that aesthetics are not an autonomous realm separate from other pieces of the social puzzle. Aesthetics and culture are not subordinate to “more significant” components like economics and social relations, but are in fact an important player in the social enactment of our dominant patterns of thought (philosophy, politics, ideology). If you believe that, then you have to believe that all this “contempo” stuff has a meaning. So what is that meaning? Furthermore, why does this stuff always have a faintly creepy aspect? In its attempt at liveliness, why does it seem to have something deathly about it? Is that a paradox or does it only look like one? Is it because this stuff pretends to be organic and lifelike but is actually crassly commercial? Is it because these weak attempts to imbue commodities with “life”—the sense of life that we are slowly losing via the process of commodification—are inherently doomed?

Alessi (most of it) is contempo. Click the link for an extended discussion of some possible meanings behind the Alessi aesthetic. If Alessi products are “playful,” why do they all have a deathly, zombie sort of quality? Even Alessi knows, on some level, that its playfulness is married to death, to the inanimate or to zombies and robots. See for example its anthropomorphized human-shaped tools that often have deathly X’s for eyes, such as its suicide corpse bath plug.

Below, the “Bookend” building by Paul Merrick of Merrick Architecture in Vancouver’s Olympic Village (or “Millennium Water” condo complex). It’s totally contempo. But then contempo and condos do, so often, go hand in hand.

Condos are, generally speaking, the Ur example of contempo.

Above: The contempo Bookend Building. Below: great 1970s townhouses in Vancouver’s False Creek: the doors’ geometric pill-shapes are not an attempt at wackiness, and the effect is not contempo. See how fantastic art looks in the windows of the townhouses below? Compare to the above. The difference is obvious.

South False Creek low rises, Vancouver

Addendum: Thanks to reader Laura Cochrane of Make Magazine for pointing out the building below, which I want to rename “Contempo General Hospital.” Because when you’re rushing to Emergency, you will appreciate the feeling that an inappropriately jaunty, heavy curved roof is going to collapse on its bad, skinny circular columns and fall on you. From this Youtube video at 1:18:

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Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

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