Here’s a fashion statement for you: ‘I am a total douchelord’
A story like this must be digested in portions, like a Hungry Man dinner. First, there’s the notion of paying $69 for a t-shirt that looks like it was made at someone’s dining room table. Next, there’s the idea that the student thought she could wear a shirt bearing a racist statement in the middle of New York fucking City and not get her ass handed to her. After that, there’s the fact that she is considering suing the designer of the t-shirt for…well, nobody seems to be quite clear as to why just yet. Finally, there’s the designer himself, Apollo Braun (not his real name, obvs.).
“I can’t stand Obama…he reminds me of Adolf Hitler,” Braun explained, adding he does not like Obama because “he is a Muslim” — a thoroughly debunked myth.
Curiously, the reporter did not seem to ask Braun to elaborate on his Obama-Hitler analogy. We can only assume that he believes that an Obama presidency would lead to Washington, DC being turned into another Dachau, perhaps with the assistance of Ice Cube and Professor Griff of Public Enemy. Any way you look at it, this is epic fail on all sides, but if I could play Devil’s advocate for a moment, I have my doubts that the assaulted student is as outwardly racist as her choice of fashion would make it seem. It seems more like a woefully misguided attempt at an edgy political statement, expressing what many white people supposedly secretly feel about Obama but don’t have the guts to say. This is similar to The New Yorker’s controversial cover depicting Obama as wearing a turban and bumping fists with his be-Afroed, gun-toting wife. Similar, mind you, but without the subtlety, and while I don’t normally endorse vigilante justice this girl still deserved the hard time she got, whatever her reasons behind wearing the shirt might have been.
Of course, I’m biased. There are two types of people in New York City: hipsters and those who would get an almost orgasmic rush of pleasure from seeing a hipster fall under the wheels of an oncoming 6 train. I’m in the latter category. I loathe hipsters from the tops of their ridiculously coiffed heads to the tips of their ugly shoes. You know how when you get into a conversation with a bunch of people about music, there’s invariably one person who will claim the Beatles are overrated? That’s a hipster. Self-righteous and snobbish, they love finding as many opportunities as possible to point out how different and edgy (read: better than you) they are, even though if you put them all in one room together you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart, what with all the trucker hats and $180 replicas of Styx tour t-shirts. I especially loathe their special brand of arrogance, the kind of arrogance that makes them believe they can go out in public wearing an OBAMA IS MY SLAVE t-shirt and people will automatically appreciate their wry attempt at topical humor. I’m glad she got pushed around, honestly. I only wish she was with another hipster so her assailants could have knocked their heads together like a couple of coconuts.
As for the designer, again, like the young lady who wore the t-shirt, I have to believe that his claims that Barack Obama is comparable to Hitler are some sort of wildly inappropriate attempt at both humor and to gain publicity for his design shop (granted, that publicity may come in the form of somebody trying to burn the damn thing down, but hey, even bad publicity and all that). Perhaps he fancies himself a combination of Andy Warhol and Borat, and his inflammatory statements are really just part of a clever work of performance art designed to expose the dark heart of racism that beats within us. As irritating as that notion is, I have to believe it. I have to believe it, because the alternative is too depressing. I’m not in denial that there are people who are stuck in some sort of pre-1960 holding pattern when it comes to race relations, and would sooner see a one-legged Chinese midget as president than a black man; hell, I’m related to some of them. I just have to pretend that there aren’t really people who not only truly feel that way, but design, sell and wear t-shirts proclaiming it, waving their ignorance and hate around like a flag with a picture of a toothless hillbilly on it. Those are the kind of thoughts that make me long for a wooden shack somewhere in the middle of Kansas.
By the way, I’ll be selling MCCAIN=STALIN t-shirts through Cafe Press, be sure to pre-order yours now!