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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!