< HOME  Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why is the "Death's Head" Everywhere I Look?

(Above) Baby needs a new pair of shoes. A small selection of hundreds of skull and crossbones baby accessories that can be had at online retailers.

Maybe I'm getting old, but I'm failing to see anything "cute" about some of the more recent trends in fashion. "Cute" and "edgy". That's how a customer at Target described the pair of Skull and Crossbones Rain Boots that she purchased.

These days I frequently see Jolly Roger flags flying from car antennas, in the windows of homes and up on flagpoles. Is there a message here? Are we all gonna die soon? Are these people telling me they're badass? What up?

I'm guessing this stuff became popular (in part) because Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow made pirates cool. If you know anything about history, you will also know that many, if not most of the old time pirates were Jewish. One was even a Rabbi. Ahoy vey!

Skull and Crossbones are also "Goth". But what does Goth do besides celebrate depression and make "bleakness" and "blackness" romantic? Anyone who has been through a depressive episode, major or minor, or grief, knows that it certainly isn't much fun or anything to celebrate. Edgar Alan Poe, the icon of Goth, most likely got his "darkness" from excessive drinking and consequent rambling blood sugar levels. This is not a lifestyle to emulate. Not if you prefer to be in a good mood, in any case.

Yet we have a subculture so into this that anything with a death's head has become a bestseller. Under items for babies, Amazon has 107 bearing the skull and crossbones, including diaper bags and hair ribbons. Scrapbooks, alarm clocks, socks, earrings, toilet seats, fridge magnets, bandanas, tattoos, toasters, and even "puppy diapers" attest to the popularity of this motif.

I loook at it this way: once something has gone mainstream and has become mass-produced, it's no longer "edgy" or original, and if you buy it, you're another sheeple conformist. Not "kewl".

The venerable (and getting old and tired) Skull and Crossbones is also the logo of Yale's notorious Skull and Bones Society. The society has been accused of creating the catalysts for wars, including Hitler's rise to power.

"Bonesmen" give each other nicknames like "Ba'al" and "Magog". Just like pirates! Except these guys wear suits and work in banking and politics.

During Operation Veritas (2001), the British Royal Navy's first strike against Afghanistan's "Taliban", both the HMS Trafalgar and HMS Triumph submarines sported Jolly Roger flags upon their return to base.

Historically, the Jolly Roger was flown to frighten pirates' victims into surrendering without a fight, since it conveyed the message that the attackers were outlaws who would not consider themselves bound by the usual rules of engagement -- and might, therefore, slaughter those they defeated.

Can you say "Book of Esther"? Is this new trend trying to tell us something?


At Wednesday, July 15, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anything for a buck,
that's the real skull & xbones.

At Thursday, July 16, 2009, Blogger Musique said...

I remember when this trend started - more than five years ago. Big names such as Ralph lauren, A/X etc had something with skull n bone every season. Then the little retailers jumped on the bandwagon -you know rest of the history.

NO way I would have death as fashion accessory.


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