The Rise of Communist Chic - 'Sent from my iPhone'

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Ahriman

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Chen Junghong, Spring 2009

What do you get when you cross a large red star with a hammer and sickle? The international emblems of totalitarian communism. And, less than 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, these communist symbols are beginning to take on a nostalgic meaning -- and not just for the supporters of the Russian communist party.

According to Jeff Jacoby of The Boston Globe, the glamorization of communism is becoming widespread. "On West 4th Street in Manhattan, the popular KGB Bar is known for its literary readings and Soviet propaganda posters. In Los Angeles, the La La Ling boutique sells baby clothing emblazoned with the face of Che Guevara, Fidel Castro's notorious henchman. At the House of Mao, a popular eatery in Singapore, waiters in Chinese army uniforms serve Long March Chicken, and a giant picture of Mao Zedong dominates one wall."

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Red Army Vodka and Leninade

And right before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Ben Blanchard and John Ruwitch of Reuters reported that designers in Hong Kong had taken to Communist-infused fashion with gusto. "G.O.D. -- which stands for Goods of Desire -- is a kind of high-end, boutique version of popular Swedish home furnishings store Ikea, but with clothes, some of which use designs and slogans from the frantic, at times violent, Cultural Revolution."

And Shanghai Tang, owned by Swiss luxury goods group Richemont, was one of the first to sell a reworking of the proletarian, four-pocket Mao jacket once favored by late leader Mao Zedong. "We've tried to extract those images of the Communist era and re-translate them into a more pop art colorful approach," executive chairman Raphael le Masne de Chermont told Reuters.

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M&M's 'Red Revolution' Ad, 2008

Even Russian-born designers are paying homage to communism. According to Moscow News, a wave of "Soviet-style fashion" continues to emerge: Red stars in the collections of Olga Soldatova; "USSR" inscriptions on shirts from Denis Simachev; Fashionable odes to Yury Gagarin by Nina Neretina and Donis Pupis; even a collection of leather jackets and one-piece suits from Ilya Shiyan inspired by Soviet-era heroes (steeplejacks, subway builders, and test pilots).

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Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Spring 2008

But sporting these easily-identified communist symbols comes with a price. To many, they are symbols of a regime which murdered tens of millions and oppressed hundreds of millions more. Two years ago, Access Hollywood's New York correspondent, Tim Vincent, sported a hammer and sickle t-shirt as he introduced a story on television. Within hours, the media was taking shots at his poor choice of attire -- and his reputation.

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Cameron Diaz in Perú, July 2007

Last year, Cameron Diaz sported an olive green messenger bag emblazoned with a red star and the words 'Serve the People' printed in Chinese on the flap. Her fashion faux pas touched a nerve among Peruvians who were still recovering from the Maoist Shining Path insurgency of the 1980s and early 1990s that left nearly 70,000 dead. Suffice it to say, her public apology fell on deaf ears. So, if you decide to jump on the communist chic bandwagon, don't say I didn't warn you.

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Soviet Necklace by Kid Viskous

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Communist Wrap Skirt at babygirlboutique.com

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Communist Undies at hammersicklestuff.com

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CCCP Carryall Bag at e-potpourri.com

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Communist Scarf by Peach Pit

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Communist Button Tote by Hobocamp Crafts

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Commie Mints at perpetualkid.com

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'Greetings Feline' Tee by Jester Funny Books

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Red Star Gloves by Super Sugar Ray Ray

And on a totally unrelated (but sort of related) note...

Rescued that blog post after seeing Sharon Tate's 1967 Esquire photoshoot.

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I always find the juxtaposition of commies pushing their agenda through capitalist means quite amusing, even if in their minds it's totally reasonable because it's being used as a tool, nothing more. If we consider how many Chinese billionaires tend to dissapear on a regular basis, most recently Jack Ma -and it always makes it to the news- you'd think that the CCP would be more careful, lest their entrepreneurs gang up on them and start economically choking the party, seeing as they use money as their #1 influence motivator across the world.

Besides that, commie aesthetics were never pleasing to me, but I also find amusing how normies prefer commie aesthetics for everyday use, but NS aesthetics behind closed doors, when it's time to get your rocks off.

The whole thing really makes you think.
 
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Beautiful Border

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Besides that, commie aesthetics were never pleasing to me, but I also find amusing how normies prefer commie aesthetics for everyday use, but NS aesthetics behind closed doors, when it's time to get your rocks off.
I've always thought that the Stalinist "Socialist Realism" aesthetic felt somewhat Fascistic in the way it rejected abstraction. The state-sanctioned art that came out of the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, etc. in the 50s and 60s was a lot more in line with traditional understandings of art than what was being produced by the US at the time. In fact, at one point Jackson Pollock was being funded by the CIA specifically because expressionist art was viewed as being the product of a '"free" society, in contrast to the rigid standards of art made in communist states. Here's an article that goes into more detail
 

Pixy

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There's a sort of notion that if something was made in the Soviet Union/Eastern block, then it's reliable/easily repairable by an end user, like you see with Trabants. It's a sentiment very much echoed in popular media, even on Top Gear with respect to communist cars. That's partly behind the appeal, as well as the desire to be 'edgy' - etsy is partly to blame for facilitating it, since it's flooded with trinkets and goods from the former Soviet Union. From the humble matryoshka to all sorts of medals.

Also, their copies of luxury goods weren't too bad in some cases, such as film cameras, since they ended up importing all the technical knowledge, toolings, equipment, etc. of Leica factories into the USSR as part of war reparations from Germany. Zorkis are known as a 'poor man's Leica', but I don't see that so much as a bad thing with early post-1940s ones since they were made with real Leica equipment and are alright substitutes. East German cameras were still superior to whatever the Russians could put out, however, as Russia's development of consumer cameras stagnated severely.

If we want to go into videogames dabbling in communist aesthetics, then there is one particularly noteworthy convergence of autism that's worth mentioning. It even released on the centenary of the revolution!
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World's Best Dad

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Haha, me like ushanka and ppsh. Really though, I don't know what went through the minds of me and my middle/high school friends that made us laugh at shitty Russian accents talking about the "glorious motherland, comrade." I know we didn't actually believe it. Maybe it's some sort of natural draw to nationalism, and it's the only nationalist state that you're allowed to celebrate in the eyes of society. :thinking:

Edit: Also, Soviet military is kind of aesthetic. Nothing really comes close to Маска-1щ
 

MarvinTheParanoidAndroid

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LMFAO at commercializing Communism, no better way to pwn the commies than using their symbols to turn a profit.
I always find the juxtaposition of commies pushing their agenda through capitalist means quite amusing, even if in their minds it's totally reasonable because it's being used as a tool, nothing more. If we consider how many Chinese billionaires tend to dissapear on a regular basis, most recently Jack Ma -and it always makes it to the news- you'd think that the CCP would be more careful, lest their entrepreneurs gang up on them and start economically choking the party, seeing as they use money as their #1 influence motivator across the world.
How would they even begin to do that? Go do business Taiwan and Hong Kong instead?
 
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Dom Cruise

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Soviet shit simply looks cool, like Nazi shit does.

These regimes were purposely big on aesthetics for their propagandistic power hence why they still are appealing divorced of any actual political context.

The aesthetics were meant to paint over the nightmares that they actually were of course, but what looks cool, looks cool, you can't really change that.

The trouble of course is when people are too stupid and ignorant of reality and start to unironically fall for this old propaganda instead of just appreciate it as shit that simply looks neat.
 

A Cardboard Box

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Rescued that blog post after seeing Sharon Tate's 1967 Esquire photoshoot.

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I always find the juxtaposition of commies pushing their agenda through capitalist means quite amusing, even if in their minds it's totally reasonable because it's being used as a tool, nothing more. If we consider how many Chinese billionaires tend to dissapear on a regular basis, most recently Jack Ma -and it always makes it to the news- you'd think that the CCP would be more careful, lest their entrepreneurs gang up on them and start economically choking the party, seeing as they use money as their #1 influence motivator across the world.

Besides that, commie aesthetics were never pleasing to me, but I also find amusing how normies prefer commie aesthetics for everyday use, but NS aesthetics behind closed doors, when it's time to get your rocks off.

The whole thing really makes you think.
Why is she holding a Carcano? A rifle that served in exactly two armies: one royalist and one fascist?

Why didn't they just buy a mosin?

Edit: No none of this is right. The hand grooves are wrong. Those are mosin hand grooves, but it isn't a mosin. The safety is wrong, and there's no magazine. The magazine on the mosin was no intended to be removed except during disassembly. Moreover the bolt handle is wrong. The mosin used a straight bolt handle and this one is curved. The handguard is too short. That is very distinctively the handguard of a Carcano cavalry carbine, especially since it is missing the attached flip out bayonet. However the GROOVES ARE FUCKING WRONG STILL. Every mosin carbine had a full handguard that went out to the bore. Additionally it definitely isn't the Czech Vs. 24 or the Yugo M48. WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS? WHY DIDN'T THEY GET A NORMAL FUCKING MOSIN?

EDIT 2: HOLY FUCK I FOUND IT YOU FUCKS. This is some pretty rare shit. Holy fuck I cannot believe they are using this piece of absolute history as a fucking prop. This is an interwar Carcano M91/38 TS (TS: Troop Special) manufactured in I believe 1929 by Terni. No way to know unless I could see the proof mark. What makes it special is the interwar manufacture where the majority of rifles were manufactured between 1936 and 1942.
 
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Pixy

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I wonder how many people who buy/wear these things are actual communists, and how many just like the look. If they're actually communists, that's some beautiful irony.
Isn't that how ADF got most of his accessories?
 

Bear Powers

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This is an interwar Carcano M91/38 TS (TS: Troop Special) manufactured in I believe 1929 by Terni. No way to know unless I could see the proof mark. What makes it special is the interwar manufacture where the majority of rifles were manufactured between 1936 and 1942.

The rifle that Tate is holding is very clearly a Mauser of some flavor. Not sure what it started out as, maybe Czech. Had its stock cut down somewhere along the way, maybe with some other work to it.

The annoying gun sperg in me makes me point this out, and also wonders what's up with that handgun. Have to say though that the rest of me wonders even more at why you think the producers of the photo should have actually given one single fraction of a shit about the historical accuracy of the rifle being shown. For fucks sake the entire focus, the complete point of the pic is Sharon Tate in skimpy clothes. I'm half surprised you didn't complain that her outfit is stupid because you can't find any commies dressed like that in combat.
 

A Cardboard Box

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The rifle that Tate is holding is very clearly a Mauser of some flavor. Not sure what it started out as, maybe Czech. Had its stock cut down somewhere along the way, maybe with some other work to it.

The annoying gun sperg in me makes me point this out, and also wonders what's up with that handgun. Have to say though that the rest of me wonders even more at why you think the producers of the photo should have actually given one single fraction of a shit about the historical accuracy of the rifle being shown. For fucks sake the entire focus, the complete point of the pic is Sharon Tate in skimpy clothes. I'm half surprised you didn't complain that her outfit is stupid because you can't find any commies dressed like that in combat.
That isn't a mauser. The stock, handguard endcap, length, and bolt handle all point to a Carcano.

Here's a pic of several different Carcano patterns. It is very obviously a Carcano TS.
 

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Bear Powers

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That isn't a mauser. The stock, handguard endcap, length, and bolt handle all point to a Carcano.

Here's a pic of several different Carcano patterns. It is very obviously a Carcano TS.

I'm still just left scratching my head at how you can see this. The Carcano has a split rear receiver and the closed bolt handle rests forward of the rear receiver ring, like a Mosin. The bolt on the prop is behind the ring. The Carcano has a magazine which is integral to the trigger guard and cannot be removed or really even modified. There's no magazine in sight on the prop and you can even see the floorplate. The prop has a semi pistol grip, the Carcano's is straight. The prop has an adjustable rear sight and looks like its set a little high, while most of the short Carcanos have fixed rear sights and the ones with adjustable rear sights look nothing like the one on the prop. The upper handguard ends at the rear sight on all of the Carcanos, the prop's handguard extends past the rear sight.

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Super quick and shitty job, but this goes back and forth between a vz 24 and the prop rifle. I can't explain some of the differences, not enough to say what exactly it originated as and how exactly it ended up like it did - guns can have really long and weird travels. If I had to guess this was probably someones hunting rifle, sporterized after buying it cheap at surplus, or maybe even after bringing it home - the stock is cut where duffel cuts typically happen. The two weird small bumps on the forward and rear receiver rings might indicate something to mount a scope. The turned down bolt doesn't mean shit, Czechs made them with it and plus any K98 bolt will fit in it as the receivers are identical in spec.

All that said, if you can't see that the prop gun began as a Mauser pattern rifle I don't know what to tell you.
 

Cool Dog

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At the House of Mao, a popular eatery in Singapore, waiters in Chinese army uniforms serve Long March Chicken, and a giant picture of Mao Zedong dominates one wall.
That city-state is full of chinese that had to escape the commie revolution else they would get gulag'd, and yet they allow this shit

Is like having a nazi-themed bar on tel aviv
There's a sort of notion that if something was made in the Soviet Union/Eastern block, then it's reliable/easily repairable by an end user, like you see with Trabants. It's a sentiment very much echoed in popular media, even on Top Gear with respect to communist cars. That's partly behind the appeal, as well as the desire to be 'edgy' - etsy is partly to blame for facilitating it, since it's flooded with trinkets and goods from the former Soviet Union. From the humble matryoshka to all sorts of medals.

Also, their copies of luxury goods weren't too bad in some cases, such as film cameras, since they ended up importing all the technical knowledge, toolings, equipment, etc. of Leica factories into the USSR as part of war reparations from Germany. Zorkis are known as a 'poor man's Leica', but I don't see that so much as a bad thing with early post-1940s ones since they were made with real Leica equipment and are alright substitutes. East German cameras were still superior to whatever the Russians could put out, however, as Russia's development of consumer cameras stagnated severely.

If we want to go into videogames dabbling in communist aesthetics, then there is one particularly noteworthy convergence of autism that's worth mentioning. It even released on the centenary of the revolution!
View attachment 1842549
There was probably a commie party interest in not letting people have good cameras that could be used to document state repression, same reason why in the ussr you couldnt own a typewritter and all units were registered so as to keep people from writting samizdats books on them, same with photocopiers
 

Pixy

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There was probably a commie party interest in not letting people have good cameras that could be used to document state repression, same reason why in the ussr you couldnt own a typewritter and all units were registered so as to keep people from writting samizdats books on them, same with photocopiers
That, and the cameras were pumped out in the 'quantity over quality' ethos so the USSR could get foreign currency from rebadging importers and tourists.