Social Mood Conference  |  Socionomics Foundation

by Robert Folsom
November 23, 2011

You’ve seen it if you watch HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, or if you can recall the haircuts in O Brother, Where Art Thou? Yet it’s not the way it looks that matters as much as what the people who want it are asking for:

Namely, the “Hitler Youth” haircut.

I am not making this up. The Fashion & Style section of The New York Times last week (Nov. 15) ran an article under the headline, “A Haircut Returns From the 1930s”:

The old-school coif has become a go-to haircut not just for Web designers in heritage-brand clothing, but for fashion designers and D.J.s in the style capitals of Europe.

And along with six photographs to illustrate the point, the Times article hints at the darker historical and political significance.

even if the hairstyle feels modern, it’s easy for some people who have seen more than 15 minutes of “Triumph of the Will,” the 1935 Nazi propaganda film, to squirm at the sight of those buzzed temples and flopping forelocks.

This is on-point as far as it goes, but the socionomic perspective allows us to go much, much further.

The change in social mood that became manifest in 2000 produced the deepest bear market in stocks since the 1930s. What we also know is this: A mood change of that magnitude will be visible throughout the culture.

Bob Prechter put in this way more than 25 years ago:

the lyrical content of popular songs and story content in popular books, hemline lengths, tie widths, heel heights, the prominence of various fashion and pop art colors, the angularity vs. roundness of automobile styling, the construction of various architectural styles, and a host of other reflections of the popular mood…allow us to read the public mood in the same way we read charts of aggregate stock prices now.

The current trend in men’s haircuts is among the host of other reflections Prechter describes. Other observers may “squirm at the sight,” but we suspect they’d do more than squirm if they realized that the Hitler Youth cut is more than a throwback to the 1930s. Our socionomic analysis suggests that it’s more like a preview.

Mind you, I’m aware that the use of “Hitler” can go absurdly too far these days. He’s everyone’s favorite bogeyman, and the name you pull out when all your arguments fail.

But we’re not the ones who brought him up — and in a fashion context, for crying out loud. Again, if this were only about haircuts, squirming in your seat would be enough. But when it’s one especially disturbing trend among many other disturbing trends, it’s time to take them all seriously.■


Read Robert Prechter’s groundbreaking book, The Wave Principle of Human Behavior and the New Science of Socionomics, for free >>

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