Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Once again this is off topic--pop fashion rather than vintage--and rambling, but I can't resist. I'm in the States, which happens 2-3 times a year. It's odd being a native who now only returns for a few weeks at a time. The tiny cultural shifts that Americans take for granted hit me like the changes in the old neighborhood must have hit Rip Van Winkle.
For instance. They say people don't really read any more. Given the demise of great newspapers and the dismal state of the book publishing industry, the statement seems pretty accurate. So why is it, and when was it, that t-shirts became so damn wordy?
Last week at Disneyland I witnessed several Encyclopedia Britannica sets worth of verbiage splashed across the capacity crowds' fronts and backs. Since I naively read what's in front of my eyes, I learned about the Blankenship family's 2007 reunion, complete with the names of all forty family members. The great Guys and Dolls production of Carthage High School commemorative t-shirt, once again listing all cast and crew. 10-K race t-shirts. I ♥ Shih-Tsu t-shirts. A huge number of fire department t-shirts that, given the physiques of the wearers, were more likely purchased than issued.
T-shirts have always borne slogans but back in the day, the point seemed more to make a general statement, or to be funny, than to self-identify in such excruciating, 9-point-font detail. It's cool that you were in the school play, or have a great family, or support your local fire department. But, as I mentioned before on this blog, the language of clothing is immediate and extremely evocative. You are what you wear. And most people are a whole lot more interesting than these "this is me, check it out" billboards let on.