Stop It, Young People: Ironic Gulf War T-Shirt Edition

by evanmcmurry

I’m about to date myself in fifteen separate ways:

Just saw a hipster of a 6-7 jackass quotient walk down Bowery sporting a “Free Kuwait” t-shirt. It was obviously from 1991, the original thing, and he no doubt plucked it out of some vintage store for $12. This guy looked about 23, which would have made him barely conscious for the first Iraq War, and the footage of SCUD missiles striking in the dead of night. In fact, the closest he’s been to battle is probably his dad’s Band of Brothers DVD set. So it’s good to know that wars you don’t directly experience are now fodder for ironic t-shirts.

Baudelaire, in advising Manet about a piece about to head to the Salon in which the artist had accidentally painted Jesus’ wound on the wrong side, said, “take care not to give the malicious something to laugh at.” That seems to be the exact advice Mr. Free Kuwait is flouting. His generation is pretty thoroughly fucked, and needs every opportunity it can get to be taken seriously if it wants to reform the student loan system, have a job that actually pays a living wage (to say nothing of benefits), and not see the higher education system converted into a series of drive-by diploma stores. Ironic t-shirts referencing dead soldiers seem to just give ammunition to those who would tell spoiled millennials to go fuck themselves all the way up their $1 trillion student loan flagpole, and enjoy an endless line of “independent contractor positions” that can be deleted in a twist of the wind while they’re at it.

Hey young people, with your concept mustaches and dumb t-shirts: take care not to give the malicious something to laugh at.