365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

T-shirt #213: Bitch Magazine

T-shirt #213: Bitch Magazine

Today's shirt is black for mourning.

Today's shirt is dedicated to bitching, though I may not bitch. I am really not that upset that the Tigers lost the ALCS. I had a bad feeling from the start of the ALCS. The Tigers won Game One handily, but my bad feeling was not dispelled. The troubled feeling I had seemed confirmed by Games Two and Three, both of which they should have won. Had they won those games, with a 3-0 lead, they would have won the series.

Do I want to bitch here? I could bitch about Jim Leyland's use of pitchers in Game Two. I could bitch about the lack of offense to support for Verlander's awesome pitching in Game Three. I could complain about Cabrera running through a stop sign in Game Four. I could criticize Prince Fielder's anemic hitting for the series.

But you know what?

It's hard. Baseball is a difficult game. Hitting a major league fastball is possibly the hardest thing to do in sports. Remember what I wrote about expectations in T-shirt #203 and again in T-shirt #205? It's all right to hope that the Tigers win the World Series. But to expect a win? It's difficult enough to get to the World Series. The Tigers have made it there twice in the last eight years. Currently, the Tigers are the only AL team to get to the ALCS the last three years in a row. The NL team that matches this record is the St. Louis Cardinals.

Is this a terrible thing? Hardly. I can lay blame all over the place with managers, coaches, and players. But the fact of the matter is that it is very difficult to reach the World Series, let alone win it. Maybe now, Tigers fans will temper their expectations because maybe the fault this year is with the fans. Expectations were way too high. I cannot count the number of people I have heard say that they will accept nothing less than winning it all in 2013. That's too much pressure. That's an unreasonable expectation.

That's like buying five lottery tickets and expecting to win the grand prize and nothing less is failure, even if one of those tickets wins $5000.

Expectations must be managed properly. Unlike many other Tigers fans, I am not despondent today, I did not lose sleep last night (in fact I turned off the game just before the Tigers scored two runs to make the score 2-1 at least for an inning), and I did not have indigestion because of the Tigers losing the ALCS. I did not expect them to win.

The lesson here is the same as in life. When I expect too much, I am disappointed. The world is disappointing. People are disappointing. The government is disappointing. So many things disappoint me. I am crushed by this disappointment if I let myself be. If I keep my expectations in check, if I accept an "ordinary level of misery" to life (because life is full of misery), then I can be happy, I can be grateful for the things and people and stuff that do not disappoint me. Then, I survive and thrive and indulge in a bit of jive. After all, what else are we going to do?


I do not choose to wallow.


Today's shirt is dedicated to one of my favourite magazines: Bitch Magazine. Find the current issue (see image, left) and back issues at the link.

Bitch bills itself as a feminist response to popular culture. I used the magazine's content extensively during my years teaching media studies in the women's studies department at WMU. Now, Bitch has a very active online presence. I watch the RSS feed of its blog for interesting content all the time.

The sticker I am holding in the picture above demonstrates that I am a member of the B-Hive, a subscriber and giver of donations.

Bitch is now BITCH MEDIA with a blog, activism, podcasts, mixed tapes, video, Facebook, Flickr, and much more in its social media tapestry.

The site has searchable content. For instance, here's a great link for a Popaganda Episode, a podcast about
"nerdery." It is described this way on the site: "Nerds are the kings of our culture these days—but what is a nerd, exactly, and who gets to call themselves one? This show digs into gender, race, and nerdery with an organizer of GeekGirlCon, comedy nerd Phoebe Robinson, music nerd turned Yale lecturer Allyson McCabe, and (of course!) a rigorous discussion of feminism in Star Trek with two hardcore Trekkies. Listen in!"

Sticking with comic book related content, here's two more great links from BITCH MEDIA.

Is Wonder Woman too muscular for the silver screen?


Marvel debuts a new series: the all women X-Men

One of the articles I liked best in using Bitch  resources in the class room was one dedicated to the concept of "Women in Refrigerators," just one of the horrors to which women comic book characters have been subjected in what appears to be a clear example of misogyny in action. Though possibly apocryphal, a DC editor reportedly told Alan Moore to "cripple the bitch" when he (Moore) had the idea to have the Joker shoot Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, in the Killing Joke special edition comic book.

Ashley McCallister revisited this territory in 2010 in "And Then There Was Oracle."

Some of my readers may be surprised that as a comic book lover I would invite such abject criticism of the genre. But criticism is what keeps an art form vital. And comic books are hardly paragons of virtue and the avant garde. And if that story about what the editor said is true (and I think it is) then comics DESERVE criticism.

Here's one of the best things I ever shared via Bitch Magazine, which it seems the folks at Bitch update frequently.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Feminism But Were Afraid to Ask

For those who eschew the "feminist" label, this is an excellent article that smartly positions feminism in a broader and more open context.

Feminism is not a dirty word.

Bitch Magazine  has some great content on more than just comic books as well, as the world of popular culture is vast and densely populated with things begging to be analyzed and criticized from a feminist perspective.

Years ago, while teaching WMS, I tried to buy a Bitch T-shirt to wear to class. I was choosy in those days about which shirt I wore each day and often matched shirts to featured musical artists, many of which I have yet to feature on this blog, though one example is here at T-shirt #121. I am all about being recursive.

I am happy to say that Bitch has realized it has many readers, which include men, and thus needs to sell shirts in men's sizes (also aware that some women prefer men's cuts or men's sizes).

This book cover to the left is not directly related to Bitch Magazine, but since it's also called Bitch, I wanted to share it today as I always shared the cover and told its story in my classes every semester.

The story may also be apocryphal. That's okay. There's no Wikipedia page for this book, which is odd. Elizabeth Wurtzel's page does little more than list  the book as a published credit. My understanding is that Wurtzel took a lot of flack from some feminists for appearing in a super sexy, naked shot on the cover of her book. Her response is to those critics can be found on the cover in that image. I think it's great. Apparently, the controversy or the "adult" nature of the cover was too much for the publisher who insisted on a different cover for the paperback edition (with text that covered the tattoo on her shoulder).
Now 45, Elizabeth Wurtzel is still living life on her own terms and giving the finger to those who criticize her.

It's impressive.

Here's some content new and old.

1998 interview with Elizabeth Wurtzel on cinema


"Fuck you, Vice.com."

"I Refuse to Be Grown Up" from the Atlantic April 11 2013

"One Night Stand of a Life" from NeverYetMelted.Com from January 07 2013

"Vashti" from 1998


I toast the bitches of the world. Raise my glass.

Thank Heaven for the bitches.

- chris tower - 1310.20 - 11:23