DEFENSE INDUSTRY REPORT 1: The "Defend Brooklyn" story, as told by its creator

Power might be at the end of a gun, but sometimes it’s also at the end of the shadow or an image of a gun. – Jean Genet

In 1996 I printed this design on T-shirts and handed them out to friends, musicians and bartenders to curry favor:
defendbrooklyn_big
There are many like it, but this is the real one.


Positive feedback from my target market helped me realize that I had minted a blue chip slogan.

first known press

Since that day, my minions and I have distributed a veritable shit ton of these Defend Whosiwhatsit shirts allowing me to enjoy the riches and fame of a rich and famous man, without the benefit of proper health care or competent legal counsel that he gets.

Every week a random amount of money appears in my Paypal account. This windfall has allowed me the modicum of financial irresponsibility necessary to scribble drivel at this competitive level.

You may have not seen Defend Brooklyn before. It’s okay. I’m not claiming that it’s a famous design or anything, or that it’s everywhere.

this is the vice ad030424_levittownSAOATXDEFENDSKULLWINGSSmreal defend dorkchesternewestDY.JPGnew york magazine willaimsburg everyguyinvade_harvard_01_lgwhitepower def americagentrifybklyndefendDenver.JPGdefendcleveland_thumbdefend_tomorrow_wht_bludefend_newyork_01_lgdefend-hawaii-blogdefend the kopdefend the bridgedefend southiedefend san franzciscodefend san antoniodefend miamidefend los angelesdefend equalitydef new jerseydefend dow jonesdefend dorkchesterdefend irelanddef oaklanddef new orleans shrt w beerdef detroitdefbro baghdaddefend dissertaitions

Or maybe you hate the design. All I can suggest is that if you have seen “Defend Brooklyn” enough to hate it, then you are one too. Stop hating yourself or you will turn into a “Hipstler“.

Defend Brooklyn is not a saturation thing like “I Heart New York.” It’s more a “now you see me now you don’t, some will see me others won’t” piece.

I’m not claiming to rank as one the captains of the T-shirt age, nor have I masterminded a contagion of meme on the scale of the Grateful Dead, Che or even Obama. I’m not in the old guard of the T-shirt industry such as Rolling Stone lips, “Frankie Say Relax” or “CBGB.” I’m aware that I’m somewhere below the “I’m With Stupid” progenitor in harvesting disposable income. I know that I will never have “Shut Up and Fish’s” money because my graphic is too challenging for mass consumption.

warriors-thumb

That said, if you print the word “Defend” in an arc over the image or the shadow of a gun and the name of a town on a T-shirt, you’re guaranteed a return better than American real estate or drug money. It’s so easy and fun that the danger of this article is that you might try to steal the concept, damning yourself to being a biter.

redhead def bro comic book

Basically, I have found the wellspring of profitable jingoism. Me and the people who steal my ideas are some of the few reliable money makers left in America. We are a veritable Defense Industry.

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Why is this slogan so popular? I can only posit that it uses the same force which enables soccer hooligans, Reaganites, Bruce Springsteen and Hitlers.

mail

Or maybe it harkens back to the wily and armed “don’t tread on me”-populace, rather than one so is easily duped by a bunch of Ivy League clowns who take power through double talk and Diebold deals.

kid dressed like an ak

Either way, I think Defend Brooklyn suggests some dark thing about human nature and the slogans we use to advance our agendas.

I thought Defend Brooklyn was a mere opus minimum, an ante in a game bigger than T-shirts, only to find that there is no bigger game. If one were to analyze all the relevant data we would find that Earth is primarily a T-shirt producing planet.

defendfallojah

Please take this time to re-approach this meme with me as it has allowed me to observe certain things about the damn kids today that might be useful to those who would manipulate the whimsies of the thinking population into a functioning mandate, or take their money, or both.

Next Installment: The real story of how Defend Brooklyn came to be in “THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY REPORT NUMBER 2!” WITH A SPECIAL OFFER OF A “CHOOSE YOUR REVOLUTION” HOW-TO KIT! WAKE UP YOUR FRIENDS! TELL YOUR MOM!

Trust the Government: DAVE REEVES in ARTHUR MAGAZINE No. 21

originally published in Arthur Magazine No. 21 (March 2006)

Trust the Government
by David Reeves

I know your career isn’t going so good right now because it takes a great artist time to get his game together enough to overthrow the dominant bladdy blah…but face it, you’re unemployed.

Join the Army. I’m serious. It would totally legitimize you, your art and your tattooes. You love shitty dive bars, “found art” and thrift stores. Army bases have all of that in spades.

If you rank as one of hardened hipsters who are unafraid to waltz the avenue of Echo Park, where at least three gangsters have been gunned down in the last month then, please, for the sake of freedom, get down to the recruiter and join now before the big rush.

With the cost of gas, outsourcing and downsizing, economic conscription isn’t just for Mexicans anymore. Our great country has been mismanaging the current “White Man’s Burden” by sending the high school football squad instead of the best of the breed.

Which is why the Iraqis are so pissed off. They were expecting the Americans from the “OC” television show to liberate them. When the real teens of Orange County showed up blaring Pantera and sneaking peeks at the ankles of their women, they felt duped.

It’s a sensitivity issue and obviously Oprah is too busy to get involved so, now more than ever, America needs those coffeehouse radicals who were brave enough to gentrify Brooklyn into Williamsburg.

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