At the Radiohead show in Atlanta Thursday night I was standing at the T-shirt booth and wondering just what kind of idiot would pay $40 for a t-shirt. Then my phone rang, and it was my friend Terry asking me to buy him a t-shirt.
"They're 40 bucks, dude," I said.
"I don't care. I want a Radiohead t-shirt."
"They're not all that great. They have slogans written on them. They don't even say they're Radiohead tour t-shirts."
"What do they say?"
I read a few of them to him. They were the kind of cryptic dyspeptic grumbling beloved by Radiohead fans. One, though, stood out. On a plain black t-shirt, in a font that mimicked the electronic CRT displays of the 80s, was printed: "I am trapped in my body and cannot escape."
"That's the one I want," Terry said. I should mention at this point that Terry is trapped in his body and cannot escape. He has inherited spastic paraparesis which has locked his muscles, stiffened his jaw, and left him nearly blind. For him to wear that t-shirt would be a truly blackly humorous form of performance art.
So I told the woman running the kiosk that that was the shirt I wanted.
"It's a baby tee," she said. "A girl's shirt."
"There's not one with that slogan on it in a men's size?"
"Nope. That one's for women," she said.
Wow. So the assumption there is that only women are trapped in their bodies. I understand that body image is a problem that disproportionately affects young women, but still. Also, it's a baby tee. One size: curvy and small. No fat chicks need apply. BBW who are trapped in their bodies will hafta choose a different shirt.
That's kinda sexist, Radiohead.
So I got Terry one that read: "You used to be all right. What happened?"
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