Few friends of mine asked me what I think about the news story about a Utah Mom who went to a “Pac Sun” store at the local university mall and bought up the entire line of offensive T-Shirts to prevent anyone else from buying and wearing them. She’s planning on hanging on to them until day 59 of the guaranteed 60 day return period so that in the meantime nobody else can buy them, either. She also said that charges should be filed against this outlet and or the entire chain of stores because they violated the city and town’s decency laws.
What’s to say about this, especially from a Graphic Designer? Where can I start?
I would actually like to applaud the graphic designer or design team for coming up with this design of T-Shirts that caused a controversy so powerful that people are talking about their shirts. The photographer who took risqué photos of the woman or women who are in various states of nudity also deserves a lot of credit. Anyone who can create any design that generates news deserves a lot of a special commendation since it’s so hard to generate this kind of buzz especially when we’re being bombarded with other designs from other graphic designers.
Second, I have some experience with being prosecuted because of a design I made and it’s always bittersweet, especially when it’s intentionally offensive. I created this one poster with the “stop smoking” theme; my idea is to show people what smoking actually does to your lungs and wallet. My poster was so offensive that it actually made people turn away but the message stuck – If you smoke one pack a day you’re spending over $2,000 a year making your lungs look like ‘this.’ It’s intentionally offensive and it makes people think; mission accomplished. I had to debate or argue why my poster works and should be kept as-is. I created a debate and a controversy and hopefully moved some people to take action. Which leads me to…
Three, I thought Utah was still a part of the United States where The Second Amendment still holds some value. One of the aspects of living in a society like this is that people have the right to publish whatever they want just short of child pornography or instructions on how to make a bomb that will kill the president or any other public official. I’m allowed to write anything so long as it doesn’t cross the line into deformation. I’m allowed to buy anything that’s on the open market, period.
If I want to buy smut or pornography and someone wants to sell me smut or pornography, that’s my business. If someone wants to pay me to make smut or pornography, that’s my business too. The only institutions that can or should get in my way is my marriage (the supreme law in this house in that jurisdiction) The State and Federal Government (to make sure that neither children or animals are being exploited) and my religion. Period.
What this woman, Judy Cox has done is prevented me from going to that specific store and buy something that I might want. By buying up all these shirts because she thinks they are indecent she has prevented me or others from that area from exercising their First Amendment Rights. She has the right to be offended, but she doesn’t have the right to censor other people.
It doesn’t matter if she thinks they’re offensive, I’m even a little disturbed by how young women are becoming more sexualized, simply because you don’t like something doesn’t mean you get to ban it. What this incident has done is given the anti-religion crowd an precedent; since you think this is offensive, I find your Christ paraphernalia offensive and I want that removed from my sight!
Judy Cox may have started something she can’t finish. There are going to be a lot of people who are going to raise the bar and hope that there’s another woman out there just like her who will buy up all of their offensive material. What she’s also done is she’s caused everyone to take a moment and look at Pac*Sun’s products and I’ll bet their sales have grown significantly over the past week. Pardon the pun, but I bet they think this controversy is a Godsend.
What do you think? Write a comment below or send me a tweet…