Call this a post about free speech in West Chester, Wildwood and even Russia.
From CNN.com: “Three members of Russian female punk rock band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison Friday after they were found guilty of hooliganism for performing a song critical of President Vladimir Putin in a church.
“The five months they have spent in detention since their arrests in March count toward the sentence, Judge Marina Sirovaya said.
“The judge said the charges against the three young women — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich — had been proved by witnesses and the facts.
“The Pussy Riot members were charged after screaming, ‘Mother Mary, please drive Putin away,’ in a protest act in February inside Christ Savior Cathedral, one of Moscow’s grandest houses of worship.”
From Philly.com and Daily News reporter Jason Nark, it seems that people are up in arms about T-shirts that leave little to the imagine when referring to their content.
Here’s a link to Nark’s story: http://bit.ly/N8VeHp
“Shirts hanging outside boardwalk storefronts can make things awkward for a parent and child in Wildwood, as in ‘Daddy, what’s a pimp/bitch/stoner/drunk?’ Parents may wonder what ‘Swag’ is (or ‘Swagg,’ as it’s spelled on one boardwalk tank), while young kids wonder what the funny symbols are in that same ‘F**K Your Swagg’ top.
“The worst material is usually inside the store, such as a ‘blumpkin’ shirt. Don’t Google ‘blumpkin’ at work.
“The shirt that set Donna Short off was actually for a baby, a baby whose parents would probably wear the “I just pooped” shirt you’ll find outside several stores. The baby shirt said, ‘Whose t– do I gotta suck to get a drink around here?’
“‘I’m talking about shirts that say ‘High as F—,’ ‘ Short, of Wildwood Crest, told the Daily News. ‘There’s no interpretation there.’
In Russia, it’s obvious there are some serious personal rights issues and it’s a pretty safe bet that not one Russian will be wearing a Wildwood, N.J. generated T-shirt. If they’re getting prison for being critical of their president then a blumpkin shirt would probably get them executed.
Let’s address these two issues for a moment.
The U.S. government needs to take on Putin and the regime when it comes to this stuff. We jump all over the Chinese, the North Koreans, etc., yet it never seems to me that we tackle the Russians too much these days about civil rights. Of course there are lots of things the government does that aren’t consistent with policy and foreign relations. It would be nice to see though.
When it comes to Wildwood, I’m just not sure why this is such a shock to people.
Since as long as I can remember we have called Wildwood the “freak show.” Whether it’s the hair styles, the clothing or whatever, if you wanted free nighttime entertainment while down the shore, just walk the boards in Wildwood.
I do agree, though, that despite our freedoms of speech guarantees, it would be nice to see landlords (like one apparently) insist that the merchants at least not display the really vulgar stuff so prominently. Let’s face it, people take their families to the shore for family time. Do they really need to have the stuff shoved into their faces every other storefront? I suppose I would ask – just ask – that the merchants have a little bit of good taste.
Every teen has his or her rebellion phase, wanting that one T-shirt to really set off mom or dad so we parents get it. But it doesn’t make it any less face cringing when we see some of the shirts.
But free speech is free speech.
Which brings us back to West Chester.
And not to constantly bring Jill McDevitt and her Feminique shop into the discussion, but looking at the Wildwood, N.J., situation does anyone think the reaction to her sign was a bit of an overreaction? If it’s a case of good taste, did the word “Feminique” (despite the drawing itself) really pose such a threat of vulgarity? Try on the T-shirt messages for size then.
Here’s my conclusion:
1) Russia needs a good smack (not literally) for its treatment of its citizens. Let them enjoy the freedoms promised over the years.
2) Wildwood merchants need a good smack (not literally) for not using some sense of good taste, realizing that families spend WAY more money than the teens do.
3) West Chester people who overreact need a good smack (not literally) for the overreactions to a simple sign.
The bad T-shirts in Wildwood aren’t gonna kill us but it would be nice to see them INSIDE the stores, Jill McDevitt’s sign is not gonna corrupt our kids anytime soon.
Now Russia? Well, that’s another story. Glad I don’t live there.
– Andy Hachadorian