T-shirts as social identifier

I’ve been reading Wil Wheaton’s latest post on new t-shirts from Threadless. Like Wil, I have a critical addiction to great shirts. And, like Wil, my wife thinks I have too many t-shirts… Of course we know there’s no such thing.

On reflection, and after a little discussion with colleagues, what I’m thinking is that t-shirts today are much more than just a simple garment. These days, t-shirts represent an acceptable form of social expression, identifying the wearer as having a place within an identifiable part of society (gamers, Star Wars fans, sports fans, etc.) or having a position on a certain issue (Creative Commons, the War in Iraq, etc.).

Here’s a sample of the shirts I own, and what they represent for me.

Dark Side of the Garden

Me in Threadless’ Dark Side of the Garden. For me, it says “Star Wars fan” and “offbeat sense of humor”.

Creative Communist t-shirt
Giant Robot’s Copyleft Aeroflot. Saying, on my part that I support the notion of Creative Commons (thus the license on this blog and The ACME Guide) and think that Bill Gates’ comments on the matter are crap.

I Am Not A Terrorist Enemy Combatant t-shirt

Casual Disobedience‘s I Am Not A Terrorist and Enemy Combatant. Which for me say that vilification and fear of the Islamic community as a group is reprehensible and without foundation and that the ability to declare and detain someone indefinitely for being an “enemy combatant” is a frightening abuse of power (and Australia isn’t that far behind the US in this regard…).

This Is How I Roll t-shirt

Staccato’s This Is How I Roll. Obviously says “gamer” and Katamari Damacy fan, even if the gaming is infrequent these days…

Make Poverty History - Stand Up t-shirt

Make Poverty History‘s Stand Up 2006. Says I care about making a difference for some of our social ills. For me, poverty and substance dependance are key issues.

There are a heap more including Mule Design’s Welcome Squid Overlords (Lovecraft fan, sense of humor), several from ThinkGeek (geek, natch), Boing Boing’s Flying Spaghetti Monster (religious skeptic and scornful of Intelligent Design). Plus I have several tech company/web site t-shirts I’ve managed to pick up.

So, anyone who runs into me on a t-shirt wearing day can be pretty sure of gleaning at least a little understanding of where my passions, humor and politics lie.

How about you? What t-shirts do you own that represent your position on different aspects of your life?

Squid Quotient

Welcome Squid Overlords

Do you have an inappropriately high affinity for those set to become the next dominant species on the planet?

Find out by doing the Squid Quotient quiz.

I got 122.5, a full 22.5 points above the average

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.

Hell in (several) handbaskets

Seminal cyberpunk author, William Gibson, has posted an incredibly insightful opinion piece about the current crisis in the Middle East. He particularly laments the narrow vision and “behind the curve” thinking of the US and Israel in the several wars being fought across the region. Like me, he believes that if thinking and mindset continues this way, there can never be a resolution.

Now, let it be said plain and simple, in disagreeing with the conduct of war in the Middle East, I in no way support the actions of Hezbollah, insurgents in Iraq or belligerent states such as Iran. I simply don’t support the way the US (and my country, Australia) are undertaking to solve the issues. Nor do I purport to have the answers.

If you read the piece carefully enough, you’ll “get” that it’s about dichotomy of mindset (Kuhnian paradigms, in Gibson’s case) and how the thinking informing the paradigms of the opposing sides informs their language such that opposing sides use the same words for different things. As such, there can never be agreement or resolution given the chasm of opposing paradigms between those involved.


Hey, I’m all comfortable with cultural differences on delicacies. Not that I could personally eat dog or anything, but it doesn’t revolt me. This, however, is just wrong.

Thanks to JWZ for the pointer. Go to his site for a graphic and likely witty banter.

Lyrebird, meh…

It’s funny how culture and environment inform what we find cool, interesting or amazing. This morning, I noticed that several sites (boingboing, pointing to devilducky and digg, pointing to Google Video) were all aflutter about the “amazing” song of the Lyrebird.

For me, it was kind of a “meh” moment. I live in an area close to bushland, and have to drive an hour or so to be in Lyrebird Central. Go walking in the highlands close to home, and all the weird sounds you hear are usually lyrebirds. They’re also the featured animal on the “tails” side of an Australian 10 cent coin.

Now, show me a moose, or a cougar. That’s cool!

1001 inventions

Take a look at 1001 Inventions for some fascinating insight into just how much the Muslim world has influenced the modern West.

Now if only the xenophobes in several Western governments… I was going to make an additional, political point here, but I won’t.