Under Armour Hits Back With Their Own Self-Unaware Kids Tees

Updating a previous post, wherein I lament my findings of a couple ridiculous Nike T-shirts in the kids section at a local department store, I found another gem at the same place.

This time the shirt intended for children is made and distributed by Under Armour, and quite possibly comes with a little bit of tongue-in-cheek that I found utterly lacking in the Nike nonsense. It reads, in all caps of course, “CALL MY AGENT.”

Not nearly as eye-rolling as "Your Mom Knows" or "Play Me or Trade Me," but still adults teaching kids to miss the point.

Not nearly as eye-rolling as “Your Mom Knows” or “Play Me or Trade Me,” but still adults teaching kids to miss the point.

It’s kind of funny, sure. But douchey too. I’ll keep you posted on this whole racket, since I find it indicative of our culture. In the words of the late, great George Carlin, “You know what I say? Fuck the children!”

Divide & Monger

I’ve been caught by a thought today. It seems to me that for a lot of special interests that I consider nefarious, a key strategy is to divide people — even persons. Divide the human interest. Create a smokescreen of issues, fabricated and real, potential disasters that are dealt with by Other people on a daily basis, bullet points on what kind of people fit into what tribes and bullet points on how to hold one’s own in an unmediated mock trial against a member of a tribe that has been sold to one as “opposing.”

Then, just in case too many well-meaning sponges get swayed by the power of counterargument or disarmament, the powers that be give us Games that humans invented over a hundred years ago and hotties that always seem either muted, self-edited or too unconscious to be either, lest we impressionables get to thinkin’. The advertising culture has become so entrenched in sports that we can no longer imagine a major professional league (which includes the NCAA, as it simply redirects the “professionalism” from player to promoter) that is not wholly owned by corporate interests. Don’t get me wrong, the public is the entity funding the erection of all the new arenas and stadia, but alas, no ownership is conferred with such generous gifts.

Speaking of semi-private erections, the sex industry, and by that term I do not mean anything relating to actual sex, which continues to be assaulted by an ongoing mind-fuck intended to sell everything but human intimacy, but instead I of course refer to the virtual sex industry, is by now asymptotically ubiquitous. When you find a product being advertised to you without the overt or barely nuanced claim that this product will get you laid by either a hot chick or dude or by your begging-for-it hand as you lust for what’s beyond the mirror, you let me know. The “hot” formula has become so twisted that Maxim magazine just gave its paying subscribers and newsstand suckers a Hot 100 one-two punch to the podium of Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez. Seriously. Is nothing sacred?

But getting back to that division thing, its main purpose is obvious: to divide people from their wealth. This is done pretty easily, as persons’ wealth tends to correlate with their options. The more wealth gets concentrated at the top, the fewer options the rest of the people have. People that have few options (or see themselves as having few options) see giving their labor away for pennies on the dollar as more desirable than starvation. Everyone has basic needs, but it wouldn’t do to have a massive population that only buys what it needs, so the owners have to manufacture wants in a mass of people critical enough to influence the rest of the people. You know, to divide all of the people from what could remain of their wealth.

A key tactic in the success of a divisive campaign is convincing individuals to detach from their environment. People must not see themselves in the struggles of others. They must not identify with other human beings — instead they must be shown what makes those sufferers different. The people who got mowed down in that Aurora movie theater aren’t like you, because you didn’t go see the third Batman flick the night before it opened. But if you did, don’t worry, because you don’t live in Colorado. Ok, but these people brought a baby to the showing. You wouldn’t do that, right? See! You’re not like these people, and it almost certainly couldn’t happen to you.

The same goes for all the bombings you see in other countries. I mean, that wouldn’t happen to you because you aren’t proximate to the “wars.” What’s that you say, the Boston pressure cookers on the street? Oh, well go ahead and tell me the last time you ran a marathon. See? You’re not like those people, those unfortunate ones. No, you are blessed, just so long as you don’t identify too much with the unfortunates. Detach and survive.

But, of course, it could happen to you. Every moment you exist in the world you could be the victim of random or targeted violence. So be afraid. You’ve seen what we do to protesters, right? Now see, that really could be you, if you were dumb enough and hated freedom enough to join those angry people in complaining about their lot that they’ve inherited through their own unwillingness to just work harder. But you’re not like them — those angry, lost souls who are pushing a socialist agenda, which by the way is totally what the Eastern Bloc was if you just don’t look anything up and unquestioningly take our word for it. And you will, because you don’t want to get beat down by our brute strength that you should be in lust with by now anyway, thanks to your conditioning.

See that? You’re not like them. You’re like this other group of people that should spend energy bickering with other groups within the same dwindling economic class over whatever issue we tell you is on the line and whatever rights we insist are endangered. But beyond that, eat our salty, genetically modified foods, drink our beer, go into debt to drive our cars (but don’t drive them if you’ve drank our beers, pretty please), take out loans that we service but for which we are not on the hook to go to college and beyond to get watered-down degrees that by now must have a median ROI that is in the red, which is exactly where you’ll always remain, but don’t worry about it because it’s just the way it is and you’re totally immortal but you’re gonna die someday so go big or go home while we go big and have you bail us out. Buy our flatscreen televisions and subscribe to the biggest cable package you can find, because somewhere in that fifteen-hundred channel list is a sliver of happiness that you didn’t even know you wanted, but do not consider the ever increasing bill that comes with it.

Get the highest high-speed internet because just super-fucking-fast won’t satiate you because who knows when you will want to masturbate to videos of Giada de Laurentiis swirling some gelato while you download the latest episodes of your favorite twenty-six podcasts and stream the latest Katy Perry song that we’ve pathologically Rorschached into emotions of tall, ravenous women with racks so unlikely that they happen to be multiple standard deviations from the mean of fit, dateable ladies whilst also being the actual mean of American women as a whole. Think about that. That’d be like if dudes’ members got bigger and longer as said dudes got fatter, but somehow Ryan Gosling was still hung with the average length and girth of the entire population, including those using those performance enhancers known as shitty diets and lack of exercise.

Ellen’s reaction indicates their status as “unlikely.” Katy’s dating record indicates she, and by proxy all women of comparable physical desirability, is totally into mindless consumers who categorically lack the capacity for sarcasm.

My point is that it seems a strange dichotomy that our owners are trying to plant within us. On the one hand, detach from your fellow human, it won’t happen to you, keep it moving, but on the other hand, fear everything. Remain in a constant fear of, amongst other things, the Other, so that you can not act rationally or in your best interest. But also detach, which connotes a dialing down of emotional doses. The dogma thus appears to be: “Be afraid, do not be joyous, surprised or sad, and we’ll get back to you on whether you can be angry, disgusted or contemptuous, and, if permitted, where you shall direct your anger, disgust or contempt. But whatever you do, do not care.” The whole thing feels incongruous. I guess those that are less responsive to fear are the ones targeted for detachment. The marriage of fear and detachment seems like honey wrapped in motor oil. I can’t figure out how to describe it. Just quit voting to fund arenas for billionaire owners.

Nike Kids’ T-Shirts, ICYMI

This is seriously WTFish. Saw these in the kids department at a local department store recently. I’m trying hard not to go on a “wonder what’s wrong with kids these days” geezer rant. The better question would be what kind of parent would buy these for their kids.

Brought to you by Nike, sponsor of LeBron James and victims of teammate-on-mother intercourse everywhere.

Brought to you by Nike, sponsor of LeBron James and victims of teammate-on-mother intercourse everywhere.

Oh, my mom knows something? And what exactly pray tell, kid shopping in the kids’ department, does my mom know? You? Probably not. You in an intimate way? Almost certainly not. You may as well be wearing a T-shirt that reads “I Am Lying” or “Inferiority Complex” or “I’m Not Sayin’, I’m Just Sayin'” or fucking “SWAG.” I have had too little coffee to properly eviscerate a parent who would consciously consume this shirt with the intention of putting it on their own spawn. But seriously, WTF Nike?

Here’s the one that really gets me though: “PLAY ME OR TRADE ME.”

Kids demanding to be played or traded. That's where we're at, America.

Kids demanding to be played or traded. That’s where we’re at, America.

The phrase “Play Me or Trade Me” above a swoosh on a kids’ T-shirt has to be the saddest thing I’ve seen from consumer culture this week. 1) It reveals a microwave mentality that betrays the virtue of patience; 2) It is egomaniacal; 3) It speaks to entitlement, that despite there being 12-15 players on a given basketball team, nobody actually thinks of themselves as deserving to slot in anywhere lower than 6th on a team’s depth chart; 4) If taught by a parent buying this shirt, the statement reveals said parent’s propensity for getting in fights with little league officials and likelihood that this kind of bullying trait is already being passed down; and worst of all, 5) IT PRESUPPOSES THAT THE CHILD ATHLETE IS THE PROPERTY OF SOME ARBITRARY TEAM.

“Play me or trade me” is an ode to professional athletes with six-to-eight-figure annual contracts that become frustrated with their situations within their given team or club. It’s an old phrase meant to say, “Look, you’re paying me this money but you’re burying me in your doghouse. I’m good enough to play, so either play me or trade my rights to a team that will play me and pay me under the terms of my current contract.” The phrase in and of itself is not unreasonable. If the player uttering it were, say, the 11th best player on the league’s worst team, then yes, the phrase would be ludicrous. But professionals want to practice their craft, and riding the pine can be in direct conflict with certain pro players’ personal goals.

This situation can not, in any way, translate to unpaid children who are supposed to be playing whatever game it may be for the enjoyment of said game. Their rights are not owned, there is no standard player contract for kids. With regard to scholastic athletics, a kid typically plays for his home school district, with house leagues and travel leagues in the offseason. “Play me or trade me” is never an ultimatum that can even be posed to a kid’s coach, because there is no contract to play for pay. At least, there isn’t one for the ages of children that would fit into the T-shirts I was seeing on stunted mannequins, aghast with horror for the future.

This is just the latest in a long line of examples of disregarded self-awareness from the sports industry and the self-important, mindless consumer that is the American sports parent. Teaching kids to view themselves as the property of an organization before they develop the critical thinking skills to see why this view is akin to cutting their arms with forks down the street or across the road so that their blood can get more oxygen from the outside air and also that their every wish must be satisfied by the elders who are charged with molding them can only lead to a further gone generation of  narcissistic little assholes that will grow up and aspire to business and political leadership that might make us long for the crazy, regressive days of today.

Stay classy Nike. Keep unconsciously consuming, sports parents.