Posts tagged: satire
Hey, kids… It’s time for me to be all unpopular again. So, as with my normal disclaimer at the beginning of my workshops, if you are going to be offended by the fact that I have a different opinion than you (if I do, because for some of you I may not), then go elsewhere. I have no intention of arguing with you in the comments section, via email, in person, or in any other fashion. To that end, I’ve turned off the comments because here you are in MY house, and you aren’t going to call me names in MY house.
So here’s the deal…
It seems that JC Penney has manage to spark a hubbub over a t-shirt. In particular, the text on the t-shirt. In case you haven’t heard about it, or seen it, I will post a pic:
The “TwitRage,” “FaceRage,” and “BlogRage” over this has been epic. People calling for boycotts of JCP, calling for heads on poles, blood, guts, veins in their teeth, dead burnt bodies, and all manner of nasty stuff (apologies to Arlo for borrowing his words). I’m not kidding.
One TwitBlogger (that being twitterer/blogger – NOT Twit who Blogs) said, “…it singlehandedly took the feminist movement back about sixty years. “
I mean… F*ckin’ WOW…
Color me ignorant, because I had no clue that a shirt with some overtly silly – and satirical – prose scrawled across it could be so powerful. But then, when I made a similar comment on a blog – a blog which ended with “what’s YOUR opinion” mind you – I was told by another commenter that “Clearly, you understand neither the words ‘satire’ nor ‘stereotype’. “ I was also informed that 12 year-old kids do NOT understand satire. Someone should have told my sixth and seventh grade English/Lit teachers that little tidbit so they would have avoided teaching it when I was in school.
My Grand Offense
(click to enlarge)
Of course, it’s way too late to clue in my English/Lit Teachers from 36+ years ago, so that’s a moot point. However, I think maybe they should send a strongly worded letter to my 11 year-old daughter and inform her of this fact. She is apparently breaking the “kid rules” by having a firm grasp on satire, sarcasm (properly used, mind you), and comedy. They should also CC this letter to all of my daughter’s friends who have a similarly firm grasp on the concept. Maybe they should get detention or something…
However, I will admit, perhaps I shouldn’t have said, “Get Over It.” Maybe that was just too strong a comment and it offended the sensibilities of the other commenters. I will, however, stand by my conviction that people will find something to get offended by if they want to. I mean, what if it was a t-shirt that said “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche”? Does that mean I’m not a real man? What about other “doods” who eat quiche? Do we have to turn in our Man Cards? Should we be offended by the fact that we are being labeled as… Oh… I dunno… Non-Men?
What about the t-shirts that say, “Too Cool 4 School”? I guess those are setting back the public education system by 100 years?
Here’s the thing – Folks who take offense to things will often do everything in their power to blow it out of proportion, because everyone should be just as offended by it as they are. Unfortunately, in this day of quick access via social media, they are able to beat their drum with a tweet or an update. Once there was a time when they would have had to sit down and write a letter, or get out the posterboard and sharpies to make a protest sign. That involved work, and time. Combined, those would allow a chance for them to consider their actions and say, “You know… My gut reaction was A, but now that I think about it, and view it from all sides, my reaction is B and I don’t feel anywhere near the moral outrage I did fifteen minutes ago.”
One would think that this process would take place in the subsequent 15 minutes anyway, but that’s not how it works. Someone lights the fire because it’s as easy as flicking a Bic. Next thing you know you have mob mentality taking hold. Once that happens, the mob ceases to think. They just act – or more accurately, act out.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first SOB who will jump up and down, scream, and beat the drum to protect the rights of anyone to have their opinion – and to express it. So, I’m not at all offended by the fact that these folks elected to express theirs – even though they were about me – and 12 year olds – but not the shirt. More power to them.
Still, I think – Umm, no, I’m downright positive – they are missing the point here. Just as they have a right to their opinions, JC Penney has every right to sell that shirt. And those who hate it have every right to hate it and therefore NOT buy it. They do NOT have the right to demand that JC Penney not sell it, because now they are infringing on JC Penney’s rights, as well as the rights of those who get the joke and might like to buy one.
What they also do NOT have the right to do is make unfounded accusations against the company, and the shirt. Neither JC Penney nor this shirt – which they have now removed from their website, by the way – did any damage to “the feminist movement.”
Nor did the Corona t-shirt I saw at Target damage Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Nor did the “I’m With Stupid” t-shirt damage anyone standing next to the person wearing it.
It all comes down to this: It’s a t-shirt. An ugly t-shirt at that. Odds are it won’t (or wouldn’t have, as the case may be) sell very many, therefore it would be discontinued. However, by making such a big deal of it on the web, the people who hate it have now called it to the attention of people like me, who get the fact that it’s intended as humor – and there are a damn sight more of us than you think, both male and female. Whether or not it succeeds in that aim isn’t the issue. Odds are you just created a demand for it.
You know what? I take it back. I did need to say Get Over It.
BTW – Go ahead and think I’m a misogynistic asshole all you want, I can’t stop you. However, I’m willing to bet my wife, daughter, sister, and every other female – scratch that… Every other person, be they male, female, or somewhere in between, who has actually spoken with me for more than five minutes will staunchly disagree with you.
More to come…
UPDATE: I just returned from walking my brilliant 11 year-old daughter home from school in the lovely 101 degree heat of a St. Louis Summer Afternoon… An informal poll of her friends, and her as well, asking “Would you want/buy a t-shirt that says ‘I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me” resulted in: “Uh… No… That’s stupid.”
A small sampling, yes, but I think you get my point. The only people getting outraged about it are the people who are looking for something to be outraged about. Kids today are more interested in plain shirts that say HOLLISTER or AEROPOSTALE on them. Trust me. I have the credit card receipts to prove it…