T-Shirt of the Week: WEEK 13

tsotw-button-3b.jpgSome people believe you can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear. I believe you can tell more about a person by the t-shirts they have worn. This is the story of my life, as told by the t-shirts I have worn.


WEEK 13: By now some of you may have figured out that at times I like to stir shit up. I’m not really a rowdy person by any stretch of the imagination. People that act like idiots in public and call attention to themselves are seeking some sort of validation through their actions—they actually want to see how people react to their silly/obnoxious behavior. Myself personally, I’m more than content knowing there’s the possibility of rattling someone’s cage, without actually witnessing the proof of said rattling.

It was the possibility that this shirt might cause people to get upset that made me fall in love with it. I mean come on, who wouldn’t be upset by a shirt with O.J. Simpson’s smiling mug that basically mocks the criminal justice system. Of all the things that have bothered white Americans over the last ten or twenty years, O.J. Simpson being found not-guilty on two counts of murder ranks right up there at the top. Black people on the other hand were practically partying in the streets when the Juice was found to be “innocent.”

The thing to keep in mind about the whole O.J. Simpson murder trial and subsequent not-guilty verdict is that most of the black people that I know—and I know a few—all believe he did it. No one that I know was personally happy that he got away with murder, but there was definitely a feeling of vindication that the American criminal justice system, which has systematically screwed black people for decades (if not centuries) had finally erred in our favor. Of course, the fact that Simpson had more money to burn on his defense than most black people earn in a lifetime was a major factor in how he was able to beat the charges. So when it comes down to it, Simpson was never a symbol of black judicial retribution, because the throat-slashing motherfucker ceased to be one of the people ages ago. But this column ain’t about the Juice or how fucked up the criminal justice system is…it’s about a t-shirt.

This shirt, like quite a few others in the ever-growing collection comes from Rotten Cotton, a t-shirt company that specializes in offensive, politically incorrect clothing that irritates people*. But the funny thing about this shirt, which I got in part because I was hoping it would make white people cry, is that it has yet to really offend anyone. I’ve worn it countless times, and the closest thing to a negative reaction I ever get is someone saying, “That is really wrong.” But since they are always smiling, it is clear that they get the sick, cynical sense of humor behind the message. Some people simply don’t get it, or don’t realize that it is O.J. Simpson on the shirt. Here I am expecting people to openly freak out on me, and instead I get people saying “I don’t get it,” or “What’s the Juice?”

I think that people’s reaction—or more specifically, their lack of reaction—may point to an epidemic of cynicism that has gripped this country. The fact that I can get away with wearing a shirt that features the face of a man many consider to be cold-blooded murderer, and that the shirt basically says, “Ha! Ha! Ha! He got away with it,” is a very telling indictment on our society. Or maybe it just means I’m reading too much into a fucking t-shirt.

* Rotten Cotton is also the company that makes and sells all the offical BadAzz MoFo t-shirts. Make sure you stop by their site and buy some stuff, so I can get paid.


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