It’s been ages since I was moved to make a non-B2TW post here, but I couldn’t help snapping at a publicity email I just received about a remarkably ill-conceived new campaign against music piracy aimed at children.
IRIS Distribution (whose clients have included Chemikal Underground, Electrolux, EMI, Mint Records and Ninja Tune) is putting the above design on t-shirts for kids and even onesies for babies (because of the growing problem of baby-to-baby file sharing, of course). They’re also bundling it with a kids’ album by Kimya Dawson on K Records, and I’m surprised and disappointed either of them went along with it.
As you can see, here we have some complete jerk of a rabbit ignoring a raccoon who’s trying to offer it an orange because it’s selfishly wrapped up in the sound on its headphones, which of course is Dick Rabbit’s personally exclusive property and must not be allowed to leak into the raccoon’s perky little loser ears. Because that’s how culture flourishes, by making sure that its circulation in the world is as controlled and hidden as possible, right?
It’s a beautifully concise picture of capitalism trying to undermine kids’ inherent sense of right and wrong, cuddily stamping out their instinct for sharing and fairness in favour of greed and selfishness. (Coming soon, the Tea Party sequel, “I Share Everything But My Taxes.”) Sure, teach kids that artists need to be compensated for their work and that not every good thing comes for free. I’d endorse that, but those ideas are nowhere here. (And I’m not even getting into the crypto-racist coding of the good pink rabbit versus the bad blue-and-brown raccoon, which was obviously not intended, but still…)
Luckily the marriage of image and slogan here are so inept that it practically serves as an advertisement for the opposite attitude. It’s crying out - as loudly and whinily as a baby in an uncomfortably obnoxious onesie - for reappropriation and detournement. Have at it, ye olde kultura jammaz.