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HOW MANY OF THESE ICONIC BANDS SHIRTS ARE WORTH THEIR HYPE?
September 30, 2016 2:20 am

The culture surrounding band shirts is so fucking masturbatorial. I know this first hand, since I own roughly 20-30 of them. As someone who spends far too much time obsessing over both music and sports, I can’t help but notice the similar satisfaction each respective fan base takes in showing off how passionate with specific articles of clothing. For sports fans, it’s a jersey. For music fans, it’s a band shirt. I’ve seen 20 minute long interactions heavy on mutual admiration over both of these items at a game or a concert countless times. It’s like a secret handshake for these people.

Again, I am part of this very snobbish problem. I proudly trot out my Darko Milicic jersey as often as possible in public. People need to know that I know about the Human Victory Cigar. And as a teen, I found a rinky dink website that allowed me to slap a .jpg of a Simpsonized Sonic Youth onto a t-shirt that they then gladly pressed for me. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than when somebody jealously squees “where did you get that?!?!” at me. Might be why all my relationships never last over a month, who knows.

Because this is the type of monster I am, my standards for this subset of fashion is absurdly high. Specifically band tees, since they’re the more commonly worn item. Some are perfect. Others are probably more useful as food for fire. Others, however, reach a rare air of ubiquity that transcend music taste altogether. The design strikes such a cord that people who might not have ever heard a song by a band will proudly wear the shirt.

Whether or not that’s a bad thing is an entirely different discussion that really only means anything to the most annoying realms of my personality. What I want to try to figure out is how many of these iconic shirts are actually worth the hubbub from a design standpoint. Are these shirts worth their hype? Well, let me put my Hat of Objective Judgement on and discuss.

 

1) Johnny Cash’s Middle Finger Shirt

 

What a rebel! Boy, oh boy, Johnny Cash was sure a troublemaker back in his day, wasn’t he? A middle finger? My word, what a provocateur! The sheer amount of rebellion it takes to pose in front of a camera with all but Mr. Middle Finger (the most important of all fingers) folded down is unheard of. Not enough artists flip off photographers nowadays! That’s what’s wrong with today’s music. Man, we need more dirtbags like Johnny around, man. Ugh, I’m done pretending that this shirt is cool in any way or that Johnny Cash makes enjoyable music.

NOT WORTH THE HYPE.

 

2) Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures Shirt

Image result for unknown pleasures shirt

While there’ve been a myriad of spins on the original design recently, from Wu-Tang to Mickey Mouse, oddly enough, nothing can beat the original. It’s a beautifully simplistic design that’s gotten more and more popular over the years. I can never see myself getting tired of seeing it.

WORTH THE HYPE

 

3) Metallica’s Master of Puppets Shirt

Image result for master of puppets shirt

Considering that the breed of YouTube commenter most likely to post a homophobic slur on a Justin Bieber video tends to have a Heavy Metal album cover as their their picture, it tickled me beyond belief when the Beebz started incorporating those bands’ shirts into his daily fashion. Metallica, Slayer, Iron Maiden, all of them Biebered. He even copied Iron Maiden’s font for his latest tour’s merch. The trend’s caught on like wildfire. These shirts are all over places like Urban Outfitters and H&M now. It’s kind of impossible to explain exactly how or why it happened, but I’m so over the moon with the fact that it did.

WORTH THE HYPE

 

4) Rolling Stones Tongue Shirt

Image result for rolling stones shirt

Look at this stupid fucking logo. This dumb, overly glossy piece of pop-art trash is going to wind up outliving each member of the Rolling Stones themselves. It remains a mystery to me why anyone would want to have some hornily panting tongue smack dab on the middle of their chest, but this is the America that we live in today.

NOT WORTH THE HYPE

 

5) Black Flag Logo Shirt

Image result for black flag shirt

Even more than the Unknown Pleasures tee, this one has had so many parodies to it. And it’s more minimal than Joy Division’s design, too! It’s just the band’s name with a bunch of skinny rectangles sloppily lined up. There’s no reason why this should be so exceptional, but it is. It’s basically the shirt every Punk band wishes they could call their own.

WORTH THE HYPE

 

6) Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon

Image result for dark side of the moon shirt

 

Listen, I don’t really want to spend too much time on this one. It’s fine, okay? I get it, rainbow on one end, no rainbow on the other. Very symbolic. Is symbolic the right word to use there? I really don’t care enough. For me, this shirt screams ‘Guy In His 40s Who Buys All His Graphic Tees At The Gap’.

IT’S FINE, WHO CARES.

 

7) RUN-DMC Shirt

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For some odd reason, Run-DMC is one of the few rap outfits that currently have a truly exception shirt to call their own. I’m not really sure why that’s been the case, but considering how awesome the merch from guys like Kanye, Drake and Tyler, The Creator have looked the past few years, that should be changing real soon. For now, though, this one remains the genre’s gold standard.

WORTH THE HYPE

 

8) Led Zeppelin’s Naked Angel Shirt

Something about a naked angel who appears to be writhing in agony just seems to resonate with a bunch of folks. Whenever I see this dumb angel, I just want to shout “GET OVER IT, STUPID ANGEL!!!” at it. Then I realize I’d be shouting this at someone’s chest and that isn’t really cool. The odd thing is, I do get it on some strange level. Like, when I see this angel being all histrionic, it does sort of epitomize the bombast of Led Zeppelin’s music. No part of me ever wants to wear this shirt, but I understand the appeal.

MEDIOCRE ENOUGH TO BE WORTHY OF SOME HYPE

 

9) Misfits Logo Shirt

 

Image result for misfits shirt

Years before I heard a single note come out of Glenn Danzig’s mouth, I was introduced to this shirt. I had no idea if Misfits was a band, a clothing brand, or some horror movie I’ve never seen before. The imagery always stuck with me, though. Once I finally started listening to this legendary band, I was obviously more than pleased, but I still think what Misfits is most known for is this fucking shirt. It’s amazing. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this shirt’s outsold their entire catalogue 10 times over. Everybody has this shirt. And with good reason, too.

WORTH THE HYPE.

 

Aaaaand that’ll be it for this installment of ‘Is This Band Shirt Worth The Hype?’ As you can see, the color black reigns supreme in the iconic band shirt world. Or maybe it doesn’t, and that’s simply a byproduct of my darkness bias coming through. There were a few other shirts I was considering adding to this list, but no other seemed as much of a no-brainer as these did. Perhaps a sequel is in order. 

THE END OF GAWKER MEDIA
August 18, 2016 10:57 pm

 

Here’s an article by Mary Elizabeth Williams, candidly discussing her brief stint as a Gawker punching bag, all while not only battling cancer, but also grieving the loss of two family members. Her tone throughout just screams “I EXPECT BETTER,” questioning the validity of the site’s mastered craft of insulting someone in a public sphere, no matter the circumstances. In response to Williams’s piece, the pop culture dungeon of snark gave a rather long-winded, unsolicited lesson on the importance of criticism that basically boiled down to this: suck it up. Such was the Gawker way.

Watching its existence dangle in uncertainty – courtesy of a self-proclaimed racist, washed-up, wrestler’s lawsuit, secretly bankrolled by Grudge Holding Billionaire Peter Thiel – ‘The Gawker Way’ is what made rooting for the media outlet very difficult for many. Both sides were terrible, but one less than the other. Here’s a hint: any side not getting secretly bankrolled by Grudge Holding Billionaire Peter Thiel is usually going to be the lesser of two evils. The fact that someone rich enough had the ability to wipe an entire publication off the face of the internet because of something written about him, no matter how tasteless, sets a worrisome president. Oops, I mean precedent.

This is the ideology baggage that comes with defending Gawker in this particular instance. So when news broke this Thursday afternoon that Gawker will be ending operations next week after being acquired by Univision, it lead to a healthy mix of sympathy and celebration.

For years, each site spawned by Gawker Media has made a name for itself by being hyper-critical, unforgiving, and often times crude. As evinced by the cringeworthy headline to this Deadspin article featuring a pair of racial slurs, and Jezebel’s Sony-hack-exploiting discovery of Amy Pascal’s recent Amazon purchases, they flaunt this reputation proudly.

So what should be made of a media company that treated their subjects in such a way? Readers and writers alike would frequently waffle on their stance, almost daily, based on whether or not Gawker’s vitriol was being used for good.

MEME-TRUMP

Make no mistake, there was plenty of great writing all across the board. Just a couple of months ago, there was a hilariously thorough investigation on the possible origins of Donald Trump’s infamous hairstyle done by Ashley Feinberg. Gawker also proved to be a launching pad for many important conversations. Although comedian Hannibal Buress sparked the nationwide exhuming of Bill Cosby’s unchecked half-century of shittiness, Gawker also helped with this article written by Tom Socca months before Buress riffed about it on stage. In addition to Kotaku’s consistently strong defense against the endless black hole of gross that is Gamer Gate, Jezebel always provided some of the funniest, hardest-hitting satire online.

Gawker’s sophomoric recklessness, however, can’t be legitimized by claiming that the good outweighs the bad. Gawker always gave a maximal effort when it came to making a point or looking for dirt on pop culture figures. Sometimes it was done by hijacking an ad campaign with Hitler quotes. And other times writers would just blindly throw a dart at a wall of actors’ headshots and whichever beau it landed on, they would insist that he’s gay.

Outrage from these pieces would come and go like the ocean tide. Disgruntled readers eventually moved onto something else, and everyone on team Gawker reveled in all the clicks their outlandish behavior garnered. It seemed as though this would be the perpetual give and take. Little did anyone know, Grudge Holding Billionaire Peter Thiel was biding his time for nearly a decade, looking for a way to finally put an end to this problematic smut-haven.

To be completely fair to Grudge Holding Billionaire Peter Thiel, Gawker outing him was despicable. Reluctant apologists have been sharing the article on Twitter recently, saying that for Gawker standards, it was tame. That same argument was used by Williams’s friends as a way to console her after getting Gawker’d. And admittedly, yes, for Gawker standards the Thiel article actually was tame, oddly complimentary too. But the fact that one of the site’s more tender examples of writing still involves outing a gay man has to be challenging for any Freedom of Press defender to stomach.

It would not be surprising if a fresh batch of Gawker imposters sprout up in the next few years looking to make a name for themselves. Nobody should, though. It was a bold experiment, being terrible to everyone on the planet, but media outlets shouldn’t start priding themselves on being devoid of tact and empathy. Leave that to all the off the wall celebrities out there.