New Caption Contest: The First Lady Went to China and Did Not Bring Home This T-shirt.
March 24, 2014 - 11:35 am
I may be dating myself, but I remember a children’s T-shirt that used to be popular in tourist areas that read: “My (mom, dad, whomever) when to (wherever) and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”
The phrase came to mind after seeing this headline today in BizPac Review:
Popular ”Obama as Mao” shirts pulled from shops for Michelle’s China visit.
As it turns out, the piece originated in the Weekly Standard:
According to the Weekly Standard, a pool reporter commented on a tip about merchants at t-shirt stalls being told to “temporarily suspend sales of t-shirts that show President Obama in a Mao hat.” The pool reporter added:
That tip turned out to be true. Several merchants denied carrying such items, but one merchant quietly took this correspondent to the back of her tent and showed off a whole box of the popular, normally seen t-shirts. As we were negotiating prices – she wanted 360 Yuan, or roughly $60, an outrageous starting price – other merchants came by, and in Chinese, told her to be careful. The merchant became visibly rattled and put the t-shirts away.
One of the commenters in the BizPac Review piece wrote that the shirts are available on ebay, so click on the link if you need to complete your spring wardrobe.
Another commenter mentioned, “If they sold the shirts here they would not make any money because today’s youth don’t know who Mao was.”
Just in case you too are a victim of public schools, here is a brief Wikipedia summary of that lovable character known as Mao Zedong.
A controversial figure, Mao is regarded as one of the most important individuals in modern world history. Mao is officially held in high regard in the People’s Republic of China. Supporters regard him as a great leader and credit him with numerous accomplishments including modernizing China and building it into a world power, promoting the status of women, improving education and health care, providing universal housing, and increasing life expectancy as China’s population grew from around 550 to over 900 million during the period of his leadership.Maoists furthermore promote his role as theorist, statesman, poet, and visionary. In contrast, critics and historians have characterized him as a dictator who oversaw systematic human rights abuses and whose rule is estimated to have contributed to the deaths of 40–70 million people through starvation, forced labor and executions, ranking his tenure as the top incidence of genocide in human history. (I added the bold.)
After being responsible for the deaths of 40 – 70 million people, perhaps comparing Obama to Mao is a stretch. However the t-shirt being pulled from the streets for Michelle’s visit is still a newsworthy story. However, I can not figure out if the Chinese are dishonoring Obama or honoring him since Mao is still very popular in China. Maybe someone can translate what is written on the shirt? (Hey Mike P. in DC your services are needed.)
Since I was a victim of public schools, what I remember most about Mao was his “Little Red Book” called Quotations from Chairman Mao.
Over the years I have occasionally co-opted that title as “Quotations from Chairwoman My My” when bestowing wisdom (??) on friends or business associates.
So for this contest please keep “Quotations from” in mind when submitting your entries.
Here is the book cover to jog your memory and you may also submit a new title or caption as part of the contest.