t-shirt

True (McDignity Mix)

Yes, there really is such a thing as “McTeacher Night”; I’ve seen one, before. And, yes, the fast food joint invites the students from a local school to come over and order food from their teachers.

Detail of cartoon by Jen Sorensen, via Daily Kos, 19 May 2016.To the one, there is an old slogan about the day the schools have the money they need and the Air Force needs to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber. It’s been around for a while; posters, bumper stickers, t-shirts―the whole nine yards. One wonders at the potential hullabaloo if we sent some military recruiters to do the same.

To the other, if you have ever witnessed one of these events, it might seem plainly evident why so many people back teachers in contract disputes. This really is asking too much of schoolteachers, yet they will put on their shining classroom smiles and face their students in good faith and the best possible spirit.

When it comes time to remind children to do whatever it takes to get the job done, perhaps we don’t often enough point to their teachers as examples because we are ashamed of what communities demand.

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Image note: Detail of cartoon by Jen Sorensen, via Daily Kos, 19 May 2016.

The Panacea

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 28 December 2015.In truth, my advice is to not actually try to figure out just what it is you’re looking at. Better to just blame Adam, which in turn really ought to be a t-shirt slogan of its own.

No, really; imagine the possibilities. Blame Adam. There is not a bug in your martini that couldn’t be justified on a shirt alongside the obvious slogan.

Bad memory? Blame Adam. Fretting over Nazi bikini girls? Blame Adam. Gendertyping in the twenty-first century got you down? Or maybe Great-Grandpa’s ball gag? Blame Adam, though admittedly I didn’t for that latter, instead somehow finding that it had nothing at all to do with Adam. Oh, wait. Forgot to carry the two. No, wait again. Wrong joke. It was attraction that has nothing to with Adam. What? Oh, right. Gravity. Never mind. Adam has nothing to do with gravity.

Hmph. That’s still wrong.

Right. Blame Adam.

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Image note: Detail of Bug Martini by Adam Huber, 28 December 2015.

One of Those Important Things

Ninamori eats a popsicle.  (Detail of FLCL episode 5, 'Brittle Bullet')

So this is how it goes: Ms. Thomas’ right to expression of conscience is at least as protected as the bigots demanding “religious freedom” in order to discriminate. Still, though, look at the outcome. Religious supremacism and the right to bully people? Apparently we need a Religious Freedom Restoration Act to protect supremacism as if it was equality. But, hey, being gay? Offensive. The idea of human rights for women? Offensive. These things, apparently, need to be suppressed. You know, as a matter of freedom and equality.

When 8th grader Sophie Thomas got her class picture this year, she was shocked to see that her t-shirt had been photoshopped. The actual shirt has one hand-lettered word on it: ‘Feminist.’ The picture shows her wearing a plain black shirt.

Sophie wasn’t about to take that lying down. She posted a picture on Instagram of herself in the t-shirt, along with this message:

“HELLO EVERYBODY! I UNDERSTAND THAT THIS PICTURE ISN’T GREAT, BUT THERE IS AN ISSUE AT HAND. I WORE A SHIRT WITH THE WORD “FEMINIST” ON IT. OUR SCHOOL TOOK A PICTURE OF OUR GRADE TO HANG UP IN THE SCHOOL. TODAY, I FOUND OUT THEY BLACKED OUT MY SHIRT. I WENT TO OUR PRINCIPAL AND SHE CLAIMED IT WAS “OFFENSIVE” AND SHE “DIDN’T WANT IT IN THE PHOTO”

THIS FRIDAY, APRIL 17TH 2015, IS THE DAY MY PROTEST TAKES PLACE. EVERYONE PARTICIPATING WILL BE WEARING A SHIRT WITH A PHRASE LIKE “I DESERVE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION” OR “FEMINISM ISN’T OFFENSIVE” OR ANYTHING THAT YOU BELIEVE FITS! PLEASE MAKE A SHIRT AND JOIN US AND HELP TAKE CARE OF THIS ISSUE. PLEASE REPOST AND SPREAD EVERYWHERE USING THE HASHTAG #IDESERVEFREEDOMOFEXPRESSION THANK YOU!”

That certainly got people’s attention — not only among students in this little town of Batavia, Ohio, but also in the media- nationally and internationally.

(Montesano)

And as we are wont to say, things only go downhill from there.

But this is what it’s really about. Supremacism is not equality, and we really ought to reject any sort of community standard that would suggest otherwise.

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Image note: Eri Ninamori eats a popsicle. Details of frames from FLCL episode 5, “Brittle Bullet”.

Montesano, Deborah. “8th Grade Feminist Is The Winner In Dispute With Narrow-Minded School Officials”. Addicting Info. 17 April 2015.