Dirty laundry, part III | PostIndependent.com
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Dirty laundry, part III

Dear Editor,

In response to Colette Quattrone of Glenwood Springs, I am more than willing to debate the topic of T-shirt messages in a public forum and stand by my previous letter that a shirt that says “Get down on your ******* knees” is vulgar and not for the eyes of children. First of all, why do I let, as you said, “simple words,” bother me so much? Well, I think you are being more than a little naive. Perhaps it’s your age.

Everything we say has an effect on other people. It can make them feel good, feel bad, love, hate, and so on. Hitler used “simple words” to denigrate a whole race of people. Words are anything from “simple.” So, as adults, it is our duty to be especially careful what we say around young impressionable minds. As I pointed out, wearing words on a T-shirt is just like saying those words out loud in front of anyone who can read.

Second, as to the shirt being a “fashion statement,” I disagree. A fashion statement has to do with the style of clothes you wear. If it has anything to do with words printed on the clothing, it’s because the words are the designer’s name or they say, “Black is out this summer.” No, “Get down on your ******* knees” is not a fashion statement.

As for my “claim of superiority,” I reread my letter and made no such claim.

The gentleman wearing the T-shirt may embody the best traits of Albert Einstein, Mother Teresa, and all the characters John Wayne played in the movies. I, on the other hand, may be a combination of Moe, Larry and Curly.

So I make no claims of superiority. I am, however, claiming that wearing that shirt (or other shirts like that) is bad judgment. When we wear a statement on a T-shirt, it is a reflection to a certain degree of what we think. “I love the Rockies” probably means the wearer is a baseball fan. “Joe’s Bar and Grill” or “South Park Rules” would indicate that the person has visited the establishment or is a fan of the television show. The statement that I wrote about is denigrating in that it subjugates the other person into a position of inferiority. As such, if that was said out loud to you or me, I think that either one of us would probably become more than “mildly” upset. Anyone who would say that to another person is actually the one that may have a superiority complex, or perhaps it’s an inferiority complex.

I never said I had a daughter. I have two stepsons, and I wouldn’t have wanted them to read that statement when they were young and impressionable.

And what’s so wrong with innocence in children? That’s why we shelter and protect them, if only for a while, because they shouldn’t have to deal with many of the “harsh realities” of the world too soon. When they are 7, or 8, or 9 years old, should we expose our children to pornography because it’s out there? Let’s take our children to a seedy bar, search for the meanest drunk in the place, sit them on a stool next to him, give them a couple of beers, and let them listen to some good old-fashioned cussing and swearing. If we’re lucky, perhaps we’ll get to witness a fight and some bloodshed. Boy would they learn a few lessons then. If you are a parent and you don’t want to do that, would you be upset at somebody who exposed them to those situations anyway?

I am not against freedom of speech and obviously anyone can say and wear anything they want on their T-shirt. All I’m saying is think about it! In fact, my uncle was an alcoholic and took me into a few rough bars when I was a kid. And you know what? After they realized I was there, they had the courtesy and sense to tone down their acts.

David Petechuk

Rifle


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