One man’s homeboy…

picture-291barack is my comrade t-shirt…is another man’s comrade.

The Obama administration’s 100th day in office has hit, and while 14 weeks + 2 days might seem like an arbitrary time to review the President, hey: this is America.  We like round numbers.  And we like ratings and reviews and grades and polls, too.

On our end, we like using products as our own cultural barometer.  Since all the merchandise in our system is user-created, and since we have a couple hundred million things for sale, it means that we get a pretty good idea of the zeitgeist using the mighty T-shirt as our guide.
obama superhero t-shirt

The polls will tell you that Obama has about a 2/3 approval rating, and the merchandise tells us roughly the same thing.  America is still largely in favor of the new President – from superhero to homeboy, T-shirt designers have made their voices heard through 3.7 million Obama T-shirts and other products.

But the critics are vocal, too: almost a million products showcase colorful dissent, with the socialism/communism theme being a trend.  As for specific policy, censure of the stimulus package and the bailout plans are the most common themes.

picture-311Over and above mapping to polling data, the merchandise is telling us something else: a renewed sense of patriotism has hit America, and the flavor of it has changed radically since the Bush administration.  This time around, those critical of the government are doing so under the same patriotism umbrella of those supporting it.  The Right has drastically changed its messaging, and disagreement with the government no longer sits under the header of “treason” or “traitor.”  Indeed, the T-shirts are telling us that the Right feels that disagreement with the government is the new patriotism.

america under new management t-shirtThe Left, for its part, has stayed consistent with the pro-Obama messaging that was adopted throughout the election.  With not much to rail against, the biggest shift in post-Bush liberal merchandise is the lack of anti-anything sentiments.

Whatever your take on the new administration, one thing’s for certain: the Obama administration has given voice to a new generation of American patriots.  Some of them are celebrating with cheers; the others are throwing tea parties.

And now, since we all like grading things:

  1. You’re full of it. The right didn’t think disagreement with the government was treason… it was giving comfort to America’s enemies and hoping we would lose the war for political gain that was treasonous.

    If you understood what Conservatives and “The Right” actually stood for, you would know that we have always feared a powerful government. The First and Second Amendments are proof that our we both sides have wanted protection from a potentially disagreeable government. But never in American history did people consider rallying against our troops was “patriotic” until the left in recent years.

  2. American Elephant:

    We’ve spent 10 years looking at the political merchandise in the system; the blog post reflects the content we’ve seen and continue to see. Anti-troop designs are not remotely a theme; on the contrary, troop *support is a major trend from both sides of the political fence.

    The “dissent is patriotic” sentiment – a common lefty bumper sticker during Bush – is indeed a very new trend for right-leaning merchandise. It remains to be seen whether the “I’m headed for Canada” trend will cross over… but given the Socialized medicine, perhaps not. 😉


  3. I am not a righty or a lefty. I used to consider myself a conservative democrat. I even sold a few Obama t-shirts when he first decided to run for office. I bought his book. After reading his book, I realized there was no way I could support or vote for him. He has a lot of people fooled. That is sad. I am very concerned where he is taking America. I love America. But, he is on the path to destroy the foundation it is built on. I just advise everyone to really pay attention to the world around them right now. And don’t go along with everything that happens just because it seems good on the surface.

  4. Probably about 90% of my merchandise sales on CP are Anti Obama… and I was amazed and happy to see those sales jump dramatically in February… (during all the bail-out talk) One thing I notice is everytime President Obama offers to spend more tax-payer money, my sales go up. So I think I could be in for a good 4 years… which takes me through 2012… and according to the Mayans… all bets are off after that.

  5. Maybe I should start making some anti-obama designs then. I haven’t really gone there yet. I did have one good one at Halloween time that sold. I did better with Palin designs. But, I really liked Ron Paul the best. Too bad he never really got a chance to make himself heard. Too many efforts to silence him actually. And that is ironic considering his message what that of our founding fathers. Interesting.

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