Sam PF's Journal - Blent: tee-shirts
April 7th, 2014
01:04 am

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Blent: tee-shirts
Kate B asks "Of the subversive tee-shirts at redmolotov.com, which most appeals to you?

Oh dear, there are so many!

Also, this reverts to the question of "what is subversive?", and should we include some of the pop culture and TV and films ones and so forth? Is the Ministry of Silly Walks inherently subversive in its ridiculing of power and officialdom? But I will stick to the political ones just to narrow the field.

Then there are all sorts of other issues.

First, do I agree with the sentiments expressed? Or is it OK if I don't if it's being ironic? But is it sufficiently clear that it's being ironic, or is it too obviously ironic so as to degenerate into mere sarcasm? Or is it too cleverly ironic?

Then, is it too pretentious?

Is it too mainstream and sheepish, like you just can't wear Che Guevara anymore, unless you're being really ironic and retro in a way that is far too clever for me to pull off.

Is it too po-faced and worthy? Anything involving, say, Martin Luther King or Gandhi risks this.

Do you have a right to wear it? Is it about some cause that you think is cool but really you have absolutely nothing the fuck to do with and there's a whole load of appropriation going on in wearing it?

Too old? Too new? Too familiar? Too obscure?

Oh, and I almost forgot: does it actually look any good?

Subversive/political tee-shirts are a real Scylla and Charybdis and probably a third really dangerous thing sitting somewhere in the middle. I would definitely need advice from sabotabby before attempting this sort of thing in earnest.

Having said this, I will step into the maelstrom and identify a few I like (and a few I'd not be seen dead in). Alphabetically, as they are listed, in no particular order

The Fascist snake. I've always had a thing for the Spanish Civil War. And I rather like this one.

Woody Guthrie. One of the greats.

Been an Orwell fan since when Kate B. and I were both at Woodroffe. This one seems well-designed and a good quote.

I'm the one the Daily Mail warned you about. Not one I have a right to wear, being a white hetero cis male (immigrant in Sweden but of the privileged variety), so only really have lefty in terms of things the Daily Mail hates. But a good one.

Of the Marx ones (Karl as opposed to Groucho and bros), this is probably the best, but it loses a lot of points in my book for using faux-Cyrillic, treating a Я as an R and an И as an N.

No man has any right to buy and sell the earth for private gain. Risks the overly po-faced and worthy, but it is a line from an awesome folk song, and of course a Bardcamp favourite.

Subcomandante Marcos. The quote is too small to be readable, but it is an awesome quote, and generally seems a nice design.

Well, there's a short list at any rate.

I think this is the only post I've tagged with 'fashion' or probably ever will. ;-)

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[User Picture]
From:sabotabby
Date:April 7th, 2014 01:38 am (UTC)
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sabotabby approves of the politics but not the design on most of those. Ah, political t-shirts. I used to have a whole bunch, but the ones I've kept are inevitably the ones designed by me or by friends of mine, as despite the proliferation of excellent leftist graphics, most leftist t-shirts just turn out fugly. I want to take all of those quotes/slogans and fix them.

The Woody Guthrie one is nice, though. And I am a bit tempted by the Judean People's Front t-shirt, but only if it said People's Front of Judea on the other side.

(I am also wondering why on earth they would make The Thick Of It t-shirts and then star out the most frequently used word in them. I mean, if you're going to do it in the first place.)
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