April 03, 2004


Melissa Campbell, a “writer and cultural studies researcher at the University of Melbourne”, discovers that people are wearing T-shirts with words on them:

It's a simple cotton garment, but it encapsulates sex, politics, high art and street style. It can even get you on the front page of a newspaper - for all the wrong reasons. What's behind the recent explosion of T-shirt labels? And what do they all say about who we are - or who we want to be?

T-shirt explosions of a non-metaphorical kind are generally limited to the booming Palestinian population. As for what these garments say about who we are, here’s a T-shirt I bought a few hours ago. The message refers to the number of extinct indigenous languages in the Southern hemisphere, and is a powerful reminder to all of us that we must always feel ashamed.

That’s what I’m telling people, anyway.

Posted by Tim Blair at April 3, 2004 02:47 AM

"426 hemi"?


Posted by: Junkyard God at April 3, 2004 at 03:23 AM

Best T-shirt slogan I've seen lately was in the Cross - Rehabs for Quitters.
Tim, the 2nd links buggered..

Posted by: jafa at April 3, 2004 at 03:54 AM

"Recent"? Where has she been for the past thirty years?

Posted by: Sigivald at April 3, 2004 at 04:25 AM

Junkyard God - 426 refers to either 1) the cubic inch displacement of the engine or 2) the horsepower rating of the engine. The Hemi motor is unique in that 1) is roughly equivalent to 2), where for most other engines (say, the 383 CID for an old Dodge Challenger one of my buddies used to own) 1) is a decent percentage larger than 2).

Posted by: Roger Bournival at April 3, 2004 at 04:57 AM

As Sigivald points out, this gal is, oh, thirty years behind the times. I'm getting past the age where I wear T-shirts in public (lettered or otherwise) though I must admit I have a hankering after one I saw advertised in ``Leatherneck'' magazine, laid out approximately thus:



....Who's bringing the chips?

Posted by: Annalucia at April 3, 2004 at 05:53 AM

Does this woman get paid to write articles as useless as this? Sweet jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick, that's a great gig.

STEP 1: Write thoroughly useless article.

STEP 2: ???

STEP 3: Profit!

Posted by: Bill in Boston at April 3, 2004 at 06:04 AM

Fark picked up on this.

Posted by: Screamapiller at April 3, 2004 at 06:32 AM

I suggest Melissa buy the T-Shirt my friend wore in High School 35 years ago "I are a Genius."

Posted by: perfectsense at April 3, 2004 at 07:30 AM

maybe i could lend her my "University of Gumby" T-shirt?

Posted by: roscoe.p.coltrane at April 3, 2004 at 07:41 AM

How about I send her my "Celebrate Diversity!" t-shirt for her research? It's really an eye catcher, especially when people focus on those fine examples of diversity: Colt, Ruger, H&K, S&W, Baretta, Glock......

Posted by: JeffS at April 3, 2004 at 08:40 AM

BTW, did anyone ever print up those "I am afraid of Americans" tee shirts with pictures of Khadafy, Assad, Hussein, et al on them?

I still want one.

Posted by: bsc at April 3, 2004 at 09:01 AM

The Assistant Director for Mixers, Matches and Bullets, obviously...

Posted by: mojo at April 3, 2004 at 09:14 AM

And your first comment upon receiving the shirt in the mail should be "Sweeet."

Posted by: James at April 3, 2004 at 11:00 AM

"They have the internet on computers now?"

Posted by: Robin Goodfellow at April 3, 2004 at 11:19 AM

Indulge me Tim. Anyone know where I can get a T-shirt a since-deceased mate used to wear which was emblazoned: If I'd wanted fries with that, I'd have asked for fucking chips!!

Posted by: slatts at April 3, 2004 at 02:33 PM

"426 refers to either 1) the cubic inch displacement of the engine or 2) the horsepower rating of the engine."

Gotta disagree with you there Roger. Those numbers when referring to an American muscle car always refer to the cubic displacement. Dodge originally came out with the "hemi" engine in the 1950's and it is a reference to the cylinder head design: "hemispheric".

Posted by: John at April 3, 2004 at 06:41 PM

On the plus side, once she's run out of T-shirts to study, her Cultural Studies degree will mean she's qualified to apply for ASIO.

Posted by: Yobbo at April 4, 2004 at 12:28 AM

Where does one find these simple cotton garments with slogans? Why didn't I think of this?!?

Does this mean I don't have to wear a tie anymore?

My fav features Crazy Cat & Meaty Mouse. Sure, I was 60 pounds lighter when I bought it twenty years ago, but moth-holes and stretched-against-the-skin are in, I tell you!

Stella! Let the cat in...there's a meaty mouse running around here...urp...and get me another beer while you're up...

Posted by: Timothy Lang at April 4, 2004 at 11:54 AM

Wasn't the Age article meant to be about 'boutique' t-shirt labels, as opposed to the slogan t-shirts that you quite rightly point out have been around for years? yeah it was banal but hello, in depth analysis in the saturday age? I think the first para that you quoted raised some interesting ideas that the actual rest of the article didn't have space to expand on. It might not be the writers fault.

Posted by: Marcus at April 4, 2004 at 12:47 PM