Cultural Imperialist

"Scathing Spats on Shallow Subjects"


Sun Aug 20




Tag, You’re the Sh–: The Importance of Moral Shirtainty

You could always identify the loser in elementary, middle, high, college and postdoctoral studies by the presence of a flipped-out tag on a shirt. This projected an air of obliviousness to personal grooming and suggested the taggot was obsessed with board and video games long before the Japanese, those sandal-wearing goldfish tenders who will eat us alive, determined there was big money in the fake lives of otherwise mature adults.

But when your mommy had an affair with a blogger, and your daddy doped up with his own blood before the race, who can you trust for moral clarity? Put down your 12-sided die and grab your inhaler - the tag on your shirt is the answer.

That's as ridiculous as taking courage from your Nirvana-era No Fear shirt that you wear while watching "Clueless" on TBS, you will surely say. But think about it: Where else can you find so much information on how to live in such a small space?  Plato took 320 pages to discuss the nature of justice in The Republic, but your shirt tells you in 2 square inches who made it, what it's made of, how big it is, and how to take care of it, probably in multiple languages. It's practically biblical, with the exception of a redemption narrative (found on all manner of stain removers). Ignore the wisdom on your tag, and your clothes will pay the price, becoming noticeably musty in five years.

It's not a full thesis on the good life, of course, but it's a start. And without your tag to guide you, where will you find moral direction? The trendy shirt-wearer will cut off the tag to avoid the possibility of flipping out and drawing the dreaded two-finger "L" from a snarky observer. But once the tag is gone, how do you even know which way your shirt goes on?

This is not an abstract problem for those postmodern dressers who scorn any kind of adornment on the front or back or a shirt. The tagless clothee's only option for deciding how to dress may be what "feels" right, an ambiguous judgment call that relies on imperfect human notions of what is good, not the revelation of a tag.  Our society already covers up its moral muck by turning its shirts inside out instead of washing off the sinful stains, proudly rocking the exposed knittings that connect sleeves to body like a man sleeping with his father's wife in the approving view of the congregation. Put your shirt on backwards, and soon there will be no social norms for shirting and pansexual orgies will be more common than FarmVille on Facebook.

Call me a strict apparelist, but I believe society crumbles when we vainly decide to cut the tags.  That's not just your neck itching - it's your conscience calling.

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