From my Outbox: The Anniversary T-Shirt

In this "feature" I present to you e-mails that I have sent-to-all at work. They are mostly about local matters at work, but so damn funny that I know you’ll enjoy them. I sent this out yesterday as a thoughtful response to a particularly red T-shirt we got for our Managing Director’s 50th birthday anniversary party. Click here to search for more: From my Outbox

Regarding the summer gifts, do they also feature the black and white happy mug of our Venerable Managing Director printed on the chest or in large type on the back?

I recently wore the red "50th Anniversary Limited Edition" T-shirt going to the local shop for groceries, because it was the only piece of clothing still untainted by the life of renovation. If you are slightly paranoid or somehow inclined to favour such dispositions I would have to recommend against wearing this particular clothing in public as preventative measure. Here’s why.

Not only does our logo in small print appear very similar to parts of the swastika — of course that isn’t true on closer inspection, but people’s reactions say something else. Rule number one of logo design; do not emulate known previous dictatorships despite being immediately recognized. The symbols ARE immediately recognized mainly BECAUSE of the previous dictatorships thing. But the face of Che Guevara is only superseded by Edward Munch’s The Scream in terms of popularity and EVERYBODY has some relation to it. The T-Shirt however does not picture the face of Che Guevara but [PUB dept’s] rendition of A Smiling Managing Director closely resembling the fictional mascot Alfred E. Neuman of the MAD Magazine. We will not speculate whether this was the artist’s intention or not, but the conflicting messages between what people expect and what they see confuses them and only invokes more scrutiny in their further investigation of the matter.

(An example of what Heidegger wrote about in Sein und Zeit (1927); when Dasein encounters "an error in the flow" the mode of consciousness is immediately transcended by the investigative focus and the world announces itself in all its worldhood (die Weltlichkeit der Welt). Or in this case the t-shirt brings into being the being-as-interest-of-the-qualitative-Bossness-of-the-Boss-t-shirt etc. Trust me, it’s funny.)

I had people carrying their grocery items _following me around_ the shop just to get a good look at it. Young people making stupid faces since MY Che Guevara didn’t match THEIR Che Guevara as they know him from the traditional "Porn Star" t-shirts and the equivalent capitalist fashion. And if there’s something non-conformists hate it’s people going against the established norms. You don’t mess with the Jesus like pictures of Che Guevara. That’s just plain wrong.

There was an elderly couple by the counter and the husband took issue with me wearing an apparent Nazi symbol. While his wife was paying for the cabbage, her husband spouted long-term preserved hatred about kids of today that don’t show no respect whatsoever because we JUST DON’T KNOW what one of history’s most peaceful occupations was like. IT WAS HARD! A few people were dying like flies some places! And I said that it wasn’t a Nazi symbol but the logo of a prominent Norwegian research foundation very much invested in peace and democratic policies, and he suggested I move to Sweden with the other traitors. Death just wasn’t good enough for assholes like me.

I was walking home head down in shame and avoiding all eye contact, when a couple of taxi drivers stopped their cars, honked their horns and rolled down the windows only to yell at me how enraged they were by the Mohammad cartoon I was wearing.
"Don’t you know people get killed for that", one of them shouted, adding "not as a threat but as a warning". I said: "it’s not a cartoon it’s a drawing, cartoons are supposed to be funny. And this isn’t Mohammad but my boss" and they immediately issued a fatwah for comparing the Prophet to a business executive. But at this point in time I was getting fed up with all the negative attention so I counter-issued a fatwah right back at them for not keeping their opinions to themselves as professionals, adding "not as opinion but a matter of fact". They wouldn’t have any it and drove off into the sunset with the moral superiority and inner tranquillity the Oslo Taxi drivers are getting famous for..

I finally got home alive and tore off the damn thing having finally realized it was not an appropriate attire in a modern society with freedom of speech and other such accessories. It was intended for that one birthday, not to be worn again ever and that was it! So I donated it to a Christian charity sending clothes to impoverished youth in Africa.
… Somewhere in an African village, far from the barbaric ideas of civilization and bigotry, there’s a little kid running around playing soccer in the dust fields who’s wearing a red "50th Anniversary Limited edition" t-shirt with my boss and our logo on it, hoping to one day get drafted in a major football club in the Champions League. Let’s just hope he leaves the shirt back home.

ON THE OTHER HAND, if the new jackets are not thusly designed I would recommend them wholeheartedly! Especially since my former company jacket WAS ACTUALLY STOLEN from a colleague’s car. It’s true. They were very popular back then as I recall, probably because they conformed to the informal dress code of the Oslo S subculture, and Pushwagner being all the rage these days we can look forward to a summer of social acceptance and approval among the hip kids of the streets.

In closing it must be said that there’s nothing wrong or visually, politically or religiously offending about our logo or my boss’ happy mug nor their conjunction on a red t-shirt emulating a communist guerilla leader. Well, actually there is quite a lot wrong with that prospect especially when confronted with public scrutiny. But not in theory. And that’s what we care about here. So, what’s the story with the new jackets?


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