Land Wars in Asia, Interconnectivity and Bad Tourist T-Shirts

A number of things have happened in the past two days that made me go “hmm.” I hope that sentence just made you think of C+C Music Factory and if it didn’t, go here. By the way, this will be the last music video link in this post. I seem to have gotten music video blog post link happy here lately…the madness stops here. The telling of the “hmm” moment is going to be in reverse. There are times when the story is better told in reverse (not often) but sometimes. Sometime the punch line or point isn’t the point, sometimes the point is telling the story.

NOTE: The following paragraph is a summary of something I read today in William Manchester’ A World Lit Only By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance (I don’t know how to footnote these blogs…yet. But I feel obligated to give credit where credit is due). So, again, the following paragraph is not an original thought by me. However, the phrase “screwed the pooch” and the word “bitch” are definitely mine.

There was a chain of events, in hindsight, during the first year of President John F. Kennedy’s administration that were obviously connected. First, the Kennedy Administration (the CIA specifically) screwed the pooch at the Bay of Pigs, then Nikita Khrushchev made JFK look like a bitch in Vienna, followed by the Soviets building the infamous Wall, which, in turn, resulted in JFK deploying the U.S. Army Special Forces to Vietnam. JFK, upon deciding (W, he was a decider too) to send in the Green Berets, supposedly said “we have a problem making our power credible, and Vietnam looks like the place.”

NOTE: Everything that follows is my thoughts, but you will be able to figure that out by the incomplete sentences, thoughts, and dangling participles.

I’m not sure what Green Berets in Vietnam or Khrushchev have to do with medieval Europe because I have only read part of the introduction to Manchester’s book. I guess he will be telling me later on in the introduction. It may be one of those long views of history things where the battlefields of today are the result of yesterday’s mistakes (or some philosophical shit like that). But back to the interconnectivity of Bay of Pigs and Vietnam.

Reading this summary of events made me realize that it’s always the CIA’s fault and never let a Russian make you his bitch. I imagine the CIA in the 1960s knew how to party while rocking around the playground which was 2/3 of the planet during the Cold War, but being pushed around by the Soviets must have really, really sucked. It also made me think that when one thing happens it seems like happenstance, when two things happen you cock your head to the side like a dog hearing a silent whistle, when three things happen…well then you just have to either ignore it (because thinking about it may make your molars fall out) or you talk/blog about it.

While in London a coupe of weeks ago, I noticed a lot of fat, pasty Midwestern tourists (not to be mistaken for thin, pasty Londoners…who weren’t busy burning London) and thin, odd shoe wearing Asians sporting “I ‘Heart’ London” t-shirts. I had to type ‘Heart’ because not only can I not insert footnotes in this blog, but I don’t know how to insert symbols either. Also, if you don’t know what I mean by odd Asian shoes, go here, or think of off-brand looking sneakers your mom bought you at Wal-Mart …you know the non-Air Jordans or the Air Farce Ones.

Seeing these 1980 style t-shirts (think plain white, oversized, black block letters and a red heart…basically 1980 fashion that wasn’t neon. The 1980s was either neon or black and white. There was no grey in the 1980s) would not have seemed significant, EXCEPT…I had seen these exact same t-shirts in here in DC. The very same fat, pasty Midwestern tourists in London, in their “I ‘Heart’ London” shirts, also visit here and buy/wear “I ‘Heart’ DC” t-shirts. These “I ‘Heart’ DC” t-shirts are almost as popular as “FBI Witness Protection Program: You Don’t Know Me” t-shirts. Quick tourist fashion question: is it appropriate to wear a t-shirt that advertises your touristness and the city your touristing in…in the that city? Part of me says no, but who doesn’t want to put on a $10 t-shirt the very same day in which you bought it. I mean those shirts are clean right? They wouldn’t be covered in a thin layer of packing chemical or some shit (or be touched by a million other fat, patsy tourists)…right?

The camel that broke the straw (dromedaries are heavy creatures and break stuff when they step on them) was when I saw a neighbor wearing a “I ‘Heart’ Paris” shirt this morning. This was the C+C Music Factory moment. This was the moment I said out loud “Whoever thought of this line of shirts is one smart mofo.” I have no idea if there is one company (Chinese, I’m sure…if it’s one company, which means there may be a “I ‘Heart’ Beijing” shirt too) that makes these shirts, if this line of shirts is subcontracted, if someone saw one shirt in one city and then replicated (and so forth), or if a bunch of different t-shirt designers came up with the same idea around the Summer of 2011. This last possiblity horrifies me because it would mean that there is something morally corrupt about our culture that encourages different shirt designers, in different cities, to think these stupid-ass (is “stupid-ass” hyphenated?) shirts are the pinnacle of tourist fashion.

There has got to be some sort of inteconnectivity in all of this. There has to be some subatomic particle thread that connects this horrible tourist fashion. This was a spiritual moment of  bad fashionness. Oh, it also made me think of General (Ret.) Douglas McArthur’s supposed advice to JFK: “never fight a land war in Asia.” Which now makes me think two things…why did McArthur think he should be the only one to enjoy NOT winning a war in Asia, and I wonder if you can buy a “I ‘Heart’ Ho Chi Minh City” t-shirt?



One thought on “Land Wars in Asia, Interconnectivity and Bad Tourist T-Shirts”

  1. as you’ve used it ‘stupid-ass’ is indeed hyphenated.
    easy rule – hyphenate adjectives.
    had it been a noun – “i’m a stupid ass” or “she’s a stupid ass” – then no hyphen.
    and this was totally worth reading.

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