June 15, 2019


The official music video for “Hatrio Mun Sigra,” the Icelandic submission to this year’s Eurovision song contest, included real leather, fake blood, and strobe lights, one part Studio 54 remake and one part zombie Backstreet Boys apocalypse. Like most reveries dreamed up by overeducated, artistically inclined youth it landed with a thud, too breathless and mirthless to deliver real shock. The heavily publicized Icelanders lost.

Not that the band didn’t try hard: As soon as they were selected as their nation’s emissaries to the popular continental competition, held last month in Israel, Hatari—the name means “haters”—challenged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a wrestling match, promising, should they win, to replace the Jewish state with a republic dedicated to sexual kinks. When that provocation, too, failed to elicit more than a chuckle, Hatari delivered its showstopper: As the points were being tallied, the band’s members flaunted the contest’s no-politics rules and waved red, white, green, and black scarves emblazoned with the word “Palestine.”

As musicians, Hatari’s members are tragically uninteresting, binding the worst of metal and EDM in a BDSM aesthetic that is more amusing than arousing, like the musical act in a bad Eastern European strip club. As political activists, however, Hatari is legitimately fascinating: If you’d like to understand the emotional valence of the contemporary European left, look no further than these bare-chested boppers.

Exit quote: “So here’s Iceland, a European nation troubled by a collaborationist Nazi past, eager to reinvent itself as a champion of all that is enlightened and good. To distance itself from one murderous made-up ideology, which it used to its own benefit, it aligns itself with another group of murderous haters. Against this kind of historical backdrop, the band’s S&M drag and nihilistic poses make perfect sense.”

The Weimar-esque photo atop the article is unintentionally laugh aloud funny; read the whole thing, for a look at how the children of Europe’s elite become Radical Chic: The Next Generation.

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