August 07, 2004

And so original, too

Some slogans worn on summer T-shirts: young man with long hair, red T-shirt with the word "Bollocks" repeated as a motif; young Chinese man, "Everyone needs something to believe in. I believe in beer"; 10-year-old boy, "Nirvana"; 12-year-old girl, "Little Miss Naughty"; thirtyish man with black rectangular specs, "Like a barrel of oil, the oilers are going down"; plump young woman, thirtyish, pink T-shirt: "You've scored!"; dark-haired girl, aged about 20, "Kill, Pussycat, Kill!"; good-looking guy in his 50s, "Resistance! Globalise Resistance. http://www.resist.org.uk/" ; youth holding hands with girlfriend, white on black, "Fight poverty together"; young Asian man, black T-shirt with Union Jack, "FCUK for England"; fresh-faced young mother with child, "FCEK - Cork City's French Connection"; girl with mouth stud, white on black, "Love Angel."

There must be a PhD in semiotics here somewhere.

- Mary Kenny, The Guardian, 31 July 2004.

Philip has long since given up trying to follow the details of Boon's argument, but the general drift seems to be concisely summed up by his lapel buttons:

LEGALIZE POT
NORMAN O BROWN FOR PRESIDENT
SAVE THE BAY : MAKE WATER NOT WAR
KEEP THE DRAFT CARDS BURNING
THERE IS A FAULT IN REALITY - NORMAL SERVICE WILL RETURN
SHORTLY
HAPPINESS IS (just IS)
KEEP GOD OUT OF AMERICA
BOYCOTT GRAPES
KEEP KROOP
SWINGING SAVES
BOYCOTT TRUFFLES
FUCK D*CK!

In spite of himself, Philip is quite amused by some of the slogans. Obviously it is a new literary medium, the lapel button, something between the classical epigram and the imagist lyrics. Doubtless it will not be long before some post-graduate is writing a thesis on the genre. Doubtless Boon is already doing so.

- David Lodge, Changing Places, 1975

1 Comments:

At August 23, 2004 3:52 pm, Blogger Chris Fyfe said...

On the subject of t-shirts.

Yesterday on a cross-channel ferry I saw a teenage girl with a t-shirt bearing the slogon

US Army
Surf Team
Nicaragua - 1988

She had probably no idea how offensive it was.

 

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