Subcultures — be they goths, punks, nerds, or latter-day codpiece fanatics — exist for the purpose of banding together with others of like intellect to temporarily escape the unpleasantness of the larger , non-codpiece-appreciating world. But sometimes that unpleasantness get pretty serious. So what’s a good codsman to fado? Dedicate up what he loves? Hell no! He buckles down, and he constructs the most gargantuan, elaborated, vulgar codpiece this world has ever seen. Just like these folks …
# 5. The Swing Kids Of Nazi Germany
When you think “Adolf Hitler, ” “youre supposed to” believe “good with children.” His version of the Boy Scouts had just as much fire-starting and knot-tying as the original, merely practiced on different subject matter. Astoundingly , not all kids in Nazi Germany wanted to spend their spare time wearing jackboots and dancing on the graves of their foes. Some just wanted to wear zoot suit and dance to jazz.
These guys were performing a criminal act. No, it wasn’t criminal awkwardness .
The Swingjugend , or Swing Kids, originated in the very earliest days of the Nazis’ rise to power. They largely came from middle- and upper-class German families — in other words, the exact group Hitler targeted to become prominent members of the Nazi party by offering them special schooling and membership in the aforementioned Hitler Youth. But they shunned his state-sponsored hatred in favor of listening to a type of music “strictly banned by the Nazis as being ‘degenerate’ and Negro-influenced.”
As depicted in this propaganda, which( while racistly described) fails to attain jazz appear uncool .
Though there are reports of German Swing Kids brawling with members of the Hitler Youth West Side Story -style, they were largely a peaceful movement, their usual kind of protest being to categorically ignore the Nazis’ strict curfews and prohibitions on foreign music and dancing. Said ignorance objective rather predictably, of course: in concentration camps.
But it’s hard to keep a good jazz fan down. Even in the abhorrent conditions of the Nazi detention camps, the Swing Boys retained their identity by singing popular swing tunes while working the salt mines or by sneaking into the SS cantina to listen to unauthorized radio shows, while the female Swing Girls waited until lights out to cover their windows with bed sheets and sing for their fellow political prisoners. And no, we have no notion how they managed to pull off the jitterbug with balls that size.
You know what they say about a man with big jazz hands .
# 4. The Punks Of Burma
Though it’s devoted painful birth to a bouncing newborn democracy today, the small Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar( known as Burma on Tuesdays) spent nearly half a century under authoritarian military rule. But that didn’t stop young Ko Nyan from excavating through a trash can outside the British Embassy in the mid-‘9 0s, discovering a magazine article about Sid Vicious( a good 15 years after Sid had become fertilizer on Nancy’s grave ), and kicking off an underground punk rock motion in a country whose government actively, even violently, kept it isolated from the rest of the world.
Isolation: Not a good tool for killing punk .
Burmese punk bands threw underground concerts at a time when a gathering of more than five people was grounds for a jail sentence. Some members worked for less-than-poverty wages at factories, saving up for years merely to buy their badass leather coats.
We’re 90 percent sure this doesn’t conform to Burmese school dress codes .
And though we’ve been referring to the movement in the past tense, Myanmar’s punk scene is still alive and well today. Although the military junta has been officially dissolved and replaced by an elected government, many punks feel that change isn’t happening quickly enough and that merely a true revolution — a boulder ‘n’ roll revolution — can inspire sufficient fury against the machine.
# 3. The Skhothanes: Poor South Africans Who Wear Expensive Designer Clothes( And Set Them On Fire)
While apartheid in South Africa officially ended in the 1990 s, its darknes still very much looms today. There’s a whole generation that grew up in ultra-poor townships , not because of segregation as a state-mandated system but because of segregation mandated by economic necessity. Of course, the simple fact that you don’t have two rands to scratch together doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look like you just stepped off a runway in Milan.
“Swag? On. Fleek? On. Maintaining it levels? 100. ”
The painfully fashionable young people above are the Skhothanes , derived from a Zulu word meaning “to boast.” Under the searing South African sun, they gather in their Sfarzo Couture jeans( up to three pairs in layers, just in case the top pair isn’t impressive enough ), their Carvela shoes, and their Versace shirts, and … they have dance-offs.
Sponsored by[ insert South African high-end champagne ].
A more extreme sect of the movement, the Izikhothane , have taken their dance-offs to a darker place: Not content with simply wearing the most expensive designer clothes, they demonstrate their superiority over their competitors by burning said clothes. And if that doesn’t do the trick, they burn dollar bills, smash cellphones, and dump bottles of expensive liquor on the ground. It all sounds, well, a little bit impractical, but one could argue that this behavior is simply the rebellious response to long-term and severe economic oppression. Or, more simply, maybe some clothes merely look better on fire.
# 2. Free Body Culture, Aka “So, So Many Naked Germans”
The Freikoerperkultur ( FKK ), or Free Body Culture, is the German idea that naked is quite simply the way to be, and it dates all the way back to the late-1 9th century. As the wheels of industrialization plowed across Europe and freaked everyone out by replacing forests with pollution, many reformers in Germany responded to the increased urbanization with a marked decrease in garb. Germany shared its nudist movement with the world in 1925 with the release of Ein Film Uber Modern Korperkultur ( A Film On Modern Physical Culture ), which attained great international success, maaaaybe thanks to all the naked dancers.
Then again, maybe not .
Germany continued to rock out with their cocks out right up until the Nazis pooped the party with all their strict laws on morality. Much to the Nazis chagrin, however, stuffing already nudity-obsessed people into stiff, uncomfortable uniforms only attains them want to take it all off. After the war, the German nudist movement is coming with a vengeance, and today the country has some of the most relaxed nudity statutes in existence. In Germany, a nude beach is just a beach. Public parks in Munich and Berlin have dedicated nudist regions. So many people hike the Alps au naturale that in 2009 Switzerland passed a law to stanch the considerable flow of naked Germans intersecting their perimeter. Which, frankly, would concern just about anybody.
# 1. The Stilyagi: History’s Most Stylish Soviets
In 1950 s Soviet Russia, young folks were disenchanted by their fathers’ baggy trousers and potato lines and yearned to ape the culture of America. Problem was, Soviet censorship being just shy of a George Orwell novel, they weren’t always entirely certain what the hell said culture was.
And yet they somehow managed to anachronistically imitation ‘8 0s American culture .
The result was a bizarre mishmash of Americana: tight, short pants and Hawaiian ties under zoot suit jackets, accented by James Dean sunglasses and greasy Tarzan hair. Derogatorily referred to as the Stilyagi , or Style Hunter, they rebelled in the precise route that would best piss off their Stalin-era mothers: They didn’t work, they danced to jazz, they bet on billiards, and they called themselves “Bob” and “Peter.”
The girls were “Cindy” and “Jan.”
It happened again when America collectively get naked and chased fairly colors during the Summer of Love in the late ‘6 0s. That’s right: The USSR had its very own hippies. Like the Stilyagi before them, Russian hippies existed to tell The Man where to stick it. Their slogan — “Better to work tomorrow than to work today” — was a direct inversion of communist propaganda.
“From each according to his LSD, to each according to his weed.”
Sadly , no amount of weed could cloud the fact that they were living under an oppressive communist regime. On June 1 of each year, former Moscow hippies assemble at Moscow’s Tsaritsyno Park to commemorate the day in 1971 when KGB agents gathered up their long-haired ranks and shipped them off to serve in the Soviet army, tossed them in jail cells, or locked them in mental wards. On the bright side, should you ever find yourself in Moscow on the first of June, you now know where to score.
For more bizarre groups of people you never heard of, check out 25 Insane Subcultures You Won’t Believe Actually Exist and 5 Insane Subcultures That Might Become The Next Hipster .
Read more: www.cracked.com