Wednesday, 14 October 2009

I hate your t-shirt

So, t-shirt designs seem to have added themselves to the things that really annoy me over the last couple of years to the point that there are only one or two high street shops I'll look for my own t-shirts in, with the majority of my t-shirt shopping happening online these days at places like T-Shirt Hell and Last Exit To Nowhere. But this isn't just me being a grumpy old man at 25 (well, not entirely, I reserve the right to be partly grumpy and old), there are good reasons for the t-shirt designs I don't like.

1. T-shirts with Mr. Men on them - I like the Mr. Men. I haven't seen anything of the new version of the TV series, but I love the classic series with the late Arthur Lowe (a.k.a. Captain Mainwaring from Dad's Army) narrating and I love the original Roger Hargreaves books. But to my mind, these t-shirts serve no nostalgic purpose. These t-shirts are either bought by "lads" who want a way to be arrogant through their clothing, loosely masked in "wittiness" (as in "Look at me, I'm wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Mr. Strong on it that says 'Mr. Strong' underneath, aren't I a witty bloke, whilst at the same time still actually thinking that I'm fuckin' awesome and actually very strong? I could lift anything you like, just tell me what to lift and I'll fuckin' lift it. That alsatian. I could lift that fuckin' alsatian right above my head with one arm. 'Cos I'm fuckin' strong and I don't give a fuck") or their girlfriends who want to buy them a witty present (as in "I bought my bloke a t-shirt with Mr. Grumpy on it 'cos my bloke's so fuckin' grumpy. It's so funny when he wears it 'cos it's like he's Mr. Grumpy, and he's wearin' Mr. Grumpy, geddit? It goes with his Mr. Strong t-shirt an' all"). All that it achieves is making me think that if you're wearing a Mr. Men t-shirt you're a bit of a twat and you need your humour simple to understand it, i.e. you're a bit thick too.

2. T-shirts with Muppets (and occasionally other children's TV characters) on them accompanied by an inane slogan - really the title for this section should say it all. As with the Mr. Men, I like the Muppets. But these shirts again don't seem to have any real grounding in nostalgia. They just all seem a bit shit. Why does a grown man want a t-shirt that has a picture of a Sesame Street character on it in the first place? And then, to top it off, a generic slogan is slapped on to make the shirt seem a bit "quirky" and "off the wall". But it's not, it's just annoying. Whoever came up with "Vote Ernie" and "Cookie Monster's World Tour 1987" as t-shirt designs is just a bit of a tosser.

3. T-shirts with Oriental writing on them - the picture for this one isn't the best example, as the t-shirts I'm referring to are the ones that have Oriental writing on them for no apparent reason other than whoever designed the t-shirt thought that Oriental writing looks "cool". It's just slapped on the shirt somewhere as part of the design, or an animal or cartoon character has a speech bubble coming off them with some Oriental symbols inside. In a way I find it a little offensive, as I highly doubt that t-shirt designers in the Far East are producing t-shirts with randomly chosen symbols of the Roman alphabet all over them. I just think that, unless you can read the language you're wearing, you shouldn't be wearing it, and anyone who does wear these t-shirts without understanding the words and symbols they're wearing comes across as fairly pretentious.

So there we have it, yet another aspect of popular culture that irritates me a great deal. Coming soon: a rant about chart music.

1 comment:

happylittlecynic said...

Actually, one of my friends used to live in Japan and has a couple of T-shirts with completely random English words plastered over them. Personally, I think they work better over here because they actually *are* quirky and unusual.

Anyway, agree with everything else. One of the best T-shirts I ever saw just had on it: "This is written in English because it looks good".