My views on politics? What does my t-shirt say?

27Jul09

We live in the age of the “exploded field” as my former tutors at art college kept trying to impress on us. Tonight I understood the true meaning of this relatively ambiguous phrase.

One of my favourite sources of celebrity gossip (I am but a shallow being after 7pm), a relatively well-known gossip blog, has published images of Marc Jacob’s limited edition political t-shirts. The shirts are understated and at a glance seem relatively innocuous however they are tools for the California-driven protest against the Prop-8 legislation banning gay marriage.

How wonderful that with the use of gossip blogs (which some may consider on the bottom rung of “journalism” per se) and clothes designed by the own tanfastic hand of the yacht-ready, Posh and Becks buddy Marc Jacobs? And why shouldn’t politics percolate into the world of tabloid gossip and High Street fashion? The news and having an opinion about politics is no longer confined to the realm of stuffy middle-classers grappling with a Groaniad on a commuter train. News has long since slipped out of the hands of the pin-striped Fleet Street brigade and that is what I find so fascinating about this industry and its current metamorphosis into something a bit more Orwellian… but in a less oppressive, post-war British gloom sort of way.

But of course politics and the news has been eeking its way into the pop culture circus for decades. However the way politics appears in this form these days appears to be more serious and specific than examples that can be found in Vivienne Westwood’s collection thirty years ago. This is because of the wonder of the Internet and the Pied Piper mentality that today’s media mover-shakers (or stirrers) have over young, impressionable minds. Barack Obama’s celebrity love-in of an election campaign is just one example of pop culture’s choice-political saturation.

I do not believe that Jacobs’ t-shirts are breaking new ground in bringing politics to the kids, however, I do feel that the stirrings of something more interesting lie within the concept that the message “I pay my taxes, I want my rights” is being showcased and snowballing with increasing popularity thanks to a blog. A blog which, without the wonder of the blogging phenomenon, would never transcend into the traditional medium of print in a million years.

Fleet Street no longer hold the keys to journalism and as local news outlets get closed down one by one, the Internet sprawl is the new hub of media-land. I hope Rupert Murdoch is scanning his Rolodex for A-list fashion designers because he’s in serious danger of falling out with the ‘cool kids’.

On a deeply personal note, rest in peace, Nanny.

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