sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

March 29, 2011

A Sunday Afternoon Adventure

Filed under: Bay Area politics, society, whatever — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 4:27 am

Sunday afternoon we happened to pass by a political Wicca and incense store called Mariposa Botanica.  Among the t-shirts on display right outside the door was a picture of Sarah Palin with a words “Shut up already!” in place of her mouth.  That’s what I call inspiration.  I thought of a recent Jim Treacher post Liberals want conservatives to shut up, and conservatives want liberals to keep talking.  I found it a bit amusing that a liberal created an image of a silenced Sarah Palin when so many on the left fantasize of being silenced.

Dec 2010 London protests.  Because everyone is entitled to black nail polish.

Megan McCain, who is apparently in danger of being silenced due to her support for gay marriage.

And no, there is no free speech in the US or Israel.  And no, Palestinian cause is not mired in anti-Semitism.

Why do people who live in societies where they feel no legal repercussions for voicing their opinions, and where their opinions happen to get a fair share of air time, imagine themselves silenced?  Because they want to believe that they are wronged so that they can go ahead and do unto their opponents exact things they accuse them of doing.  So that silenced Sarah Palin t-shirt is contemporary far left at a rare honest moment.

I wanted to snap a picture of the t-shirt for the blog, but by the time I got my cell phone camera ready, a matronly 60-something woman in a long skirt came running out of the door, one small step after another.

“Stop!  Stop!  You are stealing the image,” she screamed.

I looked at her doubtfully.  I thought she was onto me, but no.  Evidently, she couldn’t fathom anyone objecting to her politics, and wanted to intervene on behalf of the masterpiece in her custody.

“A woman artist made this t-shirt,” she explained.  “She makes money this way.  When you take a picture of a t-shirt, you are stealing from her.”

I looked at the price tug.  $22.95.  Being a good capitalist, I would never pay that much for a t-shirt.  Not that I would buy that particular one for any price.

“What do you mean,” DH countered.  “Aren’t you a Marxist?  Property is theft, you need to share.”

“Marxist?  Marxist?  That’s not nice.”

That was a bit disappointing.  If you are going to be a Marxist, be a consistent one; don’t discard your convictions for profit.  She kept berating me in her little voice:

“This woman makes money off her t-shirts.  You need to buy one.  It’s her property.  You can’t take a picture.  It’s like taking a camera to a museum, you can’t bring a camera to a museum!”

“Actually, you can,” a passerby interjected.  “You can bring a camera to a museum.”

True, pictures are typically permitted, but not a flash.  For some reason, museums are not insecure.  People will not stop paying admission if their friends are allowed a snapshot of Van Gogh.  I’m sure the passerby is a liberal in good standing, but he overheard the conversation, and since he knew the right answer he had to intervene on behalf of truth. G-d bless him.

I’m amazed that the store owner was never debriefed on copyright law.  Because copyright doesn’t protect ideas, only their expressions, copyright applies to the exact image and words.  Taking the image the store owner’s girlfriend created and using it for commercial purposes is illegal.  On the other hand, a generic “Shut up Palin!” t-shirt with an image of silenced former Vice Presidential candidate does not infringe on her copyright, provided that the artwork is sufficiently different.  If I were to take this particular idea, I wouldn’t need a photo of the garment. A picture of merchandise sold at the store for documentary purposes, on the other hand, does not infringe on the lady’s copyright.  Of course, the store owner can set a policy that does not allow pictures at her business, although I’m not sure if it applies to the merchandise displayed on the sidewalk.

And what about the picture of Palin used to create the t-shirt on display?  Remember when career plagiarist Shepard Fairey got himself in legal hot water for stealing an AP photograph for his “Obama Hope” poster?  Well, I have a sinking suspicion that the feminist behind “Shut up Sarah Palin!” traced an AP photograph, Fairey-style.  Come to think of it, that store used to sell “We can do it” T-shirts with Hillary as Rosy the Riveter.  That’s generic.  They also carry a generic Native American Homeland Security t-shirt:

DH asked the old lady what she thinks about free speech, but she kept talking about her girlfriend’s income.  More thorough Marxists reject copyright because in their opinion it’s theft and it stifles speech.

Anyhow, although I didn’t get the “Shut up Palin!” image, I did get a bigger and better post out of this incident.



  1. […] Finally, if you haven’t seen Missy’s latest shopping adventure, please do.  Very entertaining. […]

    Pingback by Blogroll Mashup « NoOneOfAnyImport's Blog — March 30, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

  2. Excellent post, very informative and entertaining. Your friendly neighborhood socialist who happens to be a capitalist, so maybe she is just a fascist, reminds me of many of the store owners in a shopping district in Richmond, VA, called Carytown. It is home to a ton of VCU students, so I guess it is understandable the level of socialist propaganda, but still…icky.

    I like your writing style a lot, I am going to add you to my blogroll. =)

    Comment by fleeceme — March 30, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

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