Posts Tagged ‘political gifts’

What to Wear to the Revolution?

Monday, October 24th, 2011

It didn’t take long for the masses to try to make money off the movement.


Print-on-demand (POD) sites like Cafepress and Zazzle now have a bazillion versions of “I am the 99%” t-shirts and other power-to-the-people products. What to make of all these people trying to cash in? Are they crass capitalists undercutting the whole ethos of the Occupy idea? Regular folks (out of work? underpaid?) trying to pay the rent anyway they know how? Or creative artists supporting the message while supporting themselves?

Maybe a little of each. But I’ve decided the marketing of Occupy is OK as long as the t-shirts and bumper stickers and cups are coming from individuals, not corporations with highly compensated executives. In fact, I’ve whipped up a few Occupy designs myself.

One thing I like about buying off the POD sites is that at least you don’t end up with a huge corporate logo all over your chest. What’s with that anyway? T-shirts should belong to the proletariat, shouldn’t they? T-shirts started out utilitarian in the early 1900s when the Navy issued them to sailors. By the time the Depression rolled around (the early one, not this one) the comfy, cheap shirts were de rigueur for farmers and others who worked outside.

The plain white t-shirt look became popular with guys after World War II (Think Marlon Brando in Streetcar Named Desire). In the 60s hippies discovered the tee made a perfect canvas for tie-dye, and in the 70s it became popular for slogans.

Brooke shields jeans pic

But by the 1980s companies were plastering their own logo on the outside of clothing. This unfortunate trend started with stitched crocodiles and polo ponies on the chests of preppy men. When Calvin Klein’s name famously appeared on the jeans pocket of young Brooke Shield’s butt, retailers learned consumers would pay double for the “status” of conspicuous designer labels. No matter that flaunting your wealth is gauche, logos quickly found their way onto purses, sunglasses, flip flops and especially, t-shirts.

Nowadays it’s impossible to buy a t-shirt without a logo on it. And that’s a drag. As my son put it: “Why would I want to be a walking billboard? They should pay me to wear the shirt if they put their logo on it!” A brilliant marketing idea, really, for them to con us into being an unpaid part of their advertising campaign. But it’s time for the free ride to stop.

The more radical Sans Culottes in the French Revolution were working class who wore long pants.

So, if you like one of these “real people” designs, go ahead and make a statement by buying one. In the French Revolution, the radical militants of the working class were known as the “sans-culottes” because they wore long pants, not the fancy shmancy silk knee-breeches of the more moderate bourgeois. Maybe today’s Occupy crowd can be known as “sans-logo” for eschewing brand-name t-shirts. Instead of being a walking billboard, they can be a walking protest sign . . . and at the same time support a real live artist. The hyper-PC can even pick t-shirts made-in-America of all-organic cotton from POD sites . . . all designed by some regular guy. Wearing one of these masterpieces, you can put down your cardboard sign and still broadcast your message.

Of course, you could just go out an buy plain white beefy T’s and a Sharpie and write your message on your chest.

I put up a list of my favorite Occupy t-shirt designs (some my own, some by others) on a Squidoo lens. Stop by and let me know which ones you like best.

You can check out my designs by clicking on the panel below. You can FB “Like” the one you like best. Or just buy it.

Look for a personalized gift at Zazzle.

If you want to make your very own design, click on the banner below and try out Zazzle. Very easy to use. For a limited time, I have a coupon for $10 a Zazzle product.

Custom T-Shirts

Lots of deals on OWS merchandise at Amazon.

Obama Chia: Is it bad enough to be a great gift?

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Obama Chia Determined[/caption]

Obama Chia Happy

Obama Chia Happy

Obama Chia Determined


Is an Obama Chia cool?

A knicknack in really bad taste can be a great gift simply because of its ironic value. Small tasteless, inexpensive items can be so goofy we find them oddly appealing. The Chia Pet, that terra cotta sculpture in the shape of a sheep that spouts chia seeds, has endured for more than two decades as a classic campy gift.

Although Chia Pets started out as a Chia Ram, over the years the company has offered lions, bunnies, donkeys and even licensed cartoon characters like Scooby Doo and Shaggy, Sponge Bob, and Homer Simpson.

Now I learn from an article in the LA Times that we are being offered an Obama Chia. In fact, we can get three presidents: Chia Obama, Chia Washington, and Chia Lincoln.

According the the Times, however, the company is having a tough time getting stores to sell the Obama Chia because stores are afraid people will think it racist.

Looking online, however, I see a number of stores, including Amazon, are selling.

My husband teaches in the politics department of a liberal arts college and he has several shelves devoted to his campy collection of political busts. Over the years he has bought or been given dozens of busts of leaders throughout history. His birthday is in November and last year I got him a President Obama bobblehead right after the election.  I’m trying to decide if the Obama Chia is the proper tone of tastelessness to enhance his collection. Is it just stupid? Or is it cool?  Still thinking about it.

And if I do decide to get one, which version should I get?

They offer Happy Obama Chia, and Determined Obama Chia. What do you think? Happy, determined, or none of the above?

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