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December 01, 2011


James Taylor

If it helps, I once stole a belt from Forever 21 (in reality the girl simply neglected to charge me for it). Consider that your vicarious revenge of sorts.


Alex I'm interested to know your opinion on the fact that Flipper have licensed their logo with someone who has the authority to in turn license it to Forever 21.....I think you can most likely expand on 'depressing'....

Alex in NYC

Well, personally speaking, I do think “depressing” kinda nails it. At the end of the day, it’s Flipper’s logo to license to whomever they see fit (although I’d hope they read the fine print on the contracts they’re signing). It’s not like Flipper exactly raked in any money in their heyday (but, then, *no one* involved in the early hardcore scene was involved for any motivations of monetary gain). Decades later, however, I suppose if the respective members of the band can profit from their art, they’re entitled to. Who am I – or anyone – to lambast them for it? By the same token, don’t the band members *themselves* feel at least a twinge of regret seeing their name/likeness/insignia utilized in this fashion? One could argue that it shouldn’t matter whether Flipper t-shirts are being sold through an “appropriate” outlet (i.e. some rock gear retailer) or via a shinier, happier, glossier affair like Forever 21 – commerce is commerce, and they’re making bank either way. It doesn’t sound like they were consulted about it, but again – perhaps they didn’t read the fine print. Or perhaps they’re not hung up about it as folks like me are.

Again, though – for me, it’s depressing, and I doubt I’m alone in feeling that way. For me, the invocation of Flipper – their sound, their image, their graphics, etc. – all have very specific associations. Yes, of course, it’s nostalgia for my own fleeting youth, but it goes *beyond* that. At the time, the music of Flipper – and the music of the Dead Kennedys and Black Flag and Bad Brains and Minor Threat and ______ (insert your own favorite hardcore bands here) – served as something pointedly *other* than the readily available, easily-accessible, mass-consumed crap of 80’s society and pop culture. That’s why we liked it. It served as the *antidote* to the glossy mainstream bullshit and “don’t worry, be happy” mandate widely on offer at the time. As such, the accompanying insignia of hardcore (i.e. Black Flag’s bars, Shawn Kerri’s “skank kid” mascot, Corrosion of Conformity’s radioactive skull, Minor Threat’s black sheep, Flipper’s scrawled dead fish, etc. etc. etc. etc.) all acted as key signifiers for the like minds. If you were strolling down the street and saw someone sporting the Black Flag bars on a pin or a t-shirt or whatever, you knew you were encountering someone who was privy to the same information and probably shared the same sensibility.

I’m aware that sounds awfully rose-tinted and high-falutin’, but that’s the way I feel about it. Others may beg to differ, saying that it’s ultimately all just about entertainment. That’s fine, but I don’t have to agree with that.

James Taylor

Just read in Rolling Stone controversial tee has been pulled from market...


Thanks Alex! Marsh is with you...if his t-shirts hadn't rotted off his back years ago he'd still be wearing them. I on the otherhand have a much more vapid version....bought some really cool shaped vintage PanAm glasses years ago, and now they're not cool anymore, thanks to a cheesy ass tv show....

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