It's hard to imagine what Tyler, The Creator
's true intentions were when he created the most recent addition to his Golf Wang clothing line: a t-shirt emblazoned with the white supremacist's celtic cross shaded in with the gay-pride rainbow. In fact, it may be futile to ponder, much like attempting to conceive the vastness of space or the chemical makeup of those boojie Macaron cookie things. The obvious assumption is that he wanted to illicit intense reactions and sell a bunch of t-shirts, but I'm sure the whole truth is much more convoluted and misguided. He attempted to clear things up via a rambling stream of consciousness on Tumblr, but surprise surprise, not a whole lot was accomplished. Tyler thinks that offending people is funny, because it is, if you're a sociopathic iconoclast with zero regard for the people that you share the earth with.
This t-shirt is simply a modern example of "clothing that offends people." It's a tired trend that goes back quite some time into the punk scenes of yesteryear and has found outlets in more recent skater culture and similarly 'alt' circles. He's not breaking any new ground, and he certainly hasn't exhibited any impressive degree of design aptitude; I can just picture him in his bathrobe on a Sunday afternoon Googling "offensive shit," when the idea-lightbulb suddenly springs up above his noggin. Or perhaps he conducted extensive market-research and found that there was a severe lack of threads that mock the gay community; sacrilegious imagery has been all-the-rage this year.
It's very easy to disguise this reprehensible practice as 'commandeering a symbol of hatred and using it against its intolerant creators.' And I get
that sentiment, but it's impossible to prove whether or not it works. I implore Tyler to publish a scholarly journal showcasing gay-bashing white supremacists' loss of power as a result of his trendy new t-shirt's popularity. As soon as I see the study, I'll issue an official apology via Twitter and buy the shirt to wear on first-dates and to other important first-impression-making events. Until then, however, I'm forced to remain skeptical about the stunt's merits.
The fact is, this shirt will appeal to young, straight, rich white kids. Edgy is cool, so the edgier, the better, and it doesn't get a whole lot edgier than this. And maybe I'm being a bit hypocritical by bashing Tyler for his nonsense, considering that I am the owner of what some might consider an 'offensive' hat. It's a black beanie proudly displaying a patch depicting hands locked in prayer with both middle fingers erect. It gets a lot of strange looks, and I get complements from edgy baristas in edgy coffee shops (I'm not kidding). And you know what? It feels good, but that doesn't make it o.k. Lots of people are going to buy Tyler's aryan-fake-gay-pride amalgamation, and the only people not benefitting are those the creation supposedly seeks to serve. Blah blah freedom of expression blah blah, but would it be so terrible to give a shit about other peoples feelings? No, I don't think it would.