It all began when my wife spotted the “Fuck Israel” tee-shirt on Cafepress.com. “If I see someone in one of these, I’m liable to lose it,” she said.
She was mad. I was bewildered. Why would someone want their baby to wear a “Fuck Israel” bib? Does profanity toward a sovereign nation make the smooshed peas taste better? Then there is the “Fuck Israel” teddy bear ($14.89 + tax). Can’t you feel the love?
My wife e-mailed Cafepress, who auto-email responded that they serve a “rich and vibrant community of individuals across the globe who differ in their views about what is considered offensive.” Sure enough, they also sell “Islam Sucks” boxer shorts and – my favorite – the “Nuke Iran” barbecue apron. Nothing like a little mass murder to create that festive mood at the family picnic!
Of course, there is a shirt with the word “gay” blocked out, not to mention the maternity shirt with the truly startling “God Hates Heterosexuals”. Turnabout is fair play, I suppose.
Cafepress has devoted an entire section to hatewear. You can express your hostility toward the ACLU, FCC, seagulls, or some town called Taylorville. And you can customize your hate message on a pillow, mousepad or spaghetti tank top.
I don’t blame Cafepress. They just sell other people’s products. And I’m all for free speech and the right to express an unpopular opinion. But turning your kid into a human hate sign (like this adorable Hamas baby suicide bomber) is wrong.
Some would say this this is creative self-expression or democracy in action. I say it’s an anger management problem. Arabs and Israelis, Democrats and Republicans, fundamentalists and atheists. Everyone has to have someone to hate. That’s their right. But when they possess so little self-control that they have to use their child’s teddy bear to send the message, that’s scary.
It’s also rude. Like the old song says, “Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign.” It’s really a form of visual assault, an unsolicited message like missionaries knocking on your door just as you’re sitting down to dinner.
So here’s my slogan for the perfect message shirt: “Death to “Hate Shirts!”