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January 07, 2007

Clothiers to the smug

I'm not 100% certain about the corporate provenance of The Wireless Catalog, but I think it was sold by National Pinko Radio to Target some time back. It still reads as if it were geared to NPR listeners.

If you've ever scanned the catalog, you'll know what I mean. Some large percentage of the tee-shirts and sweatshirts have cutesy verbiage on them, which is sort of B/B+ on the cleverness scale but so annoying that you'd never actually wear one outside. I've always detected a certain smugness about the catalog, as if it were consciously appealing to the NPR crowd: middlebrow liberals who think they have a monopoly on correct thinking. You know the kind I'm talking about. You've probably met them. Perfectly nice people who are SHOCKED when they discover you're not one of them, because you're also a nice person. They can't understand how a nice person who seems much like them could possibly hold your political opinions, which are held only by mean and selfish souls.

Yeah, I know, I'm stereotyping. But what would life be without stereotypes?

Still, here's what motivated me to write this crap: An item in the current Wireless catalog. This is a tee-shirt or sweatshirt inscribed with the slogan "Single & Liberal -- Looking for Mr. Left." I'd give this about a C+ on the cleverness scale.

Some years ago, my aunt told us about a book she'd read about. It was written by a radical leftist who also was interested in how to organize one's belongings. The book, which as I recall included a discussion of how to organize one's closets, was called, "Live Right, Think Left." I'd call this a step above the Wireless catalog.