Not-the-T-Shirt of the Week: Badge of Dishonor

Last week the world went apesh*t over this t-shirt on the Urban Outfitters website, for damn good reason.

The Anti-Defamation League came out with its usual “strongly-worded” chastisement of any use of a six-pointed star that could be construed as offensive, demanding an immediate apology from the so-hip-it-hurts clothing purveyor. Considering last week was Yom Ha’Shoah (that’s Holocaust Remembrance Day for the rest of y’all), it was a prime time callout.

Urban Outfitters (heh, I was going to write UO, which so super close to OU, standing for the Orthodox Union that would certainly NOT place a kosher hecksher on this shirt, or on this blog, for that matter) has removed the shmatta from the site and replaced it with a plain yellow shirt of a similarly hideous hue.

The Danish designer of the shirt promises that the star wasn’t intended to evoke a anything about “judaism, nazism or the holocaust” (do they not use proper nouns in Denmark?) and that “the graphic came from working with patchwork and geometric patterns.”

The designer, Brian SS Jensen, who should really ditch those middle initials if he doesn’t want people to think he’s a Nazi, claims the shirt on the Urban Outfitters site was an early prototype and they were never actually for sale in the first place.

Fine, I believe you, UO and earnest Danish t-shirt person. You didn’t mean to be assh*oles by unwittingly marketing Holocaust swag to hipsters. Which leads us to the true outrage: Why in the world would a barf-colored t-shirt cost A HUNDRED DOLLARS?

Either its woven with tail hair from a unicorn or Mr. “SS” Jensen is raising funds in anticipation of more legal battles with the ADL.

6 thoughts on “Not-the-T-Shirt of the Week: Badge of Dishonor

  1. Agreed, the color would make anyone look like they were coming off a bad case of jaundice. Agreed, 100 smackers for ANY t-shirt is just crazy talk. Nonetheless, and I mean no disrespect, in the interest of clarification, is a six-pointed star a patented trademark or something, to be displayed only by the Jewish population? My first thought was that it looked sort of like a box with a couple too many flaps open. I did not see a Star of David. I just saw an ugly shirt.

  2. I may get a lot of flak for voicing an opinion not in keeping with this blarticle, but I have just a couple or maybe 3 things I’d like to say.

    Firstly, the Holocaust. It was by far one if not THE biggest atrocity committed against human beings. And while a majority of the victims were Jewish, many other non-Jewish people perished for equally senseless reasons during this period as well. Does it matter the number? No. But what I think it means that Jewish people cannot really say it was all about them across the board. Nazis hated just about any one that didn’t fit their ethnic and moral dynamic.

    With that said, unless you’re Jewish, or lived in an area with a large Jewish population, you wouldn’t necessarily know that there was such a day as Yom Ha’Shoah. Perhaps Russian, German, or Romani call it something different if they have such a day. Do you know if they do? It doesn’t surprise me there would be a day of remembrance – there’s Armstice Day in England which I’m pretty sure not many people outside of that country would know the date it falls on off the top of their head. I consider myself pretty informed, but I didn’t know when Yom Ha’Shoah was. And if I saw it on a calendar and no translation was provided, I still wouldn’t know what it was.

    So I would bet the graphic designer from Denmark wasn’t aware of this day and I doubt the people at UO know because they seem to be pretty insular and shallow. Honestly – I doubt many people that make it a habit of shopping at UO are tuned into the Holocaust or any history outside of whatever hipster movement they’ve decided to tap into for the next 5 or 10 minutes.

    As a graphic designer myself, I have to tell ya, I’m not getting the whole Star of David angle. I have to agree it looks more like a quilting pattern or more specifically, the sort of star pattern found in a lot of Scandinavian and Norwegian weaving designs.

    So I think the the whole timing of the shirt design is just a coincidence. And a quick perusal of some of the comments after the Huffington Post article (cited above) made by those of Jewish faith lead me to believe there is really nothing to be offended about.

    Believe me, as a Catholic having to be subjected to people wearing rosary beads as jewelry and alter pieces used as store displays – I can empathize with symbols of ones faith being used inappropriately. But I don’t think this is one of those instances. Peace.

  3. Other than the weird color, I’m trying to figure out what’s offensive about the shirt, and failing. It’s a funky kind of Star of David – what am I missing?

  4. Y’all. I totally agree that the outrage over this was over-the-top (was my tone not snarky enough?) though it is unfortunate that WOOD WOOD and UO would be stupid enough not to recognize how closely this shirt resembles the badges worn by ghettoized Eastern European Jews.

    Katie & Tzipporah ~ Sure, Jews don’t OWN the six-pointed star, just like Christians don’t OWN the symbol of the cross, but as Big Bon Ton suggests, it’s probably best when designing something for mass wear to THINK HARDER.

    Anne ~ My desk calendar, bought at Office Max, reads “Holocaust Remembrance Day,” right between “Eastern Orthodox Easter” and “Earth Day.” Feelin’ your pain about the styley cruficixes. Basically, nothing is sacred and we must all get over it.

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