joemail11 wrote:In response to Adder:
I will not dispute the quality of this design, but your main fault is the assumption that shirt designs must be masterpieces. My theory proposes that, at times, mediocrity is preferable over perfection.
To begin with an example: While at home, I regularly grace my ears with the sound of classical (or more specifically, Romantic) music. Classical music is difficult to match in its intricacy, depth, and overall quality of composition. However, when I am in my car, I find myself listening to ZZ Top, which hardly compares to the complexity of classical music, yet, it fits the situation better than a masterpiece of music which requires careful listening to fully enjoy.
One can clearly see the direction I am taking this. Much like my preference of ZZ Top in my car, I WANT my shirts to be mediocre, consisting of a cheesy picture and a cheap laugh. A masterpiece on a T-shirt is completely out of place, as classical music is out of place while driving down the road.
So, while your analysis of the quality of shirt art is correct, your basic assumption that shirts need a beautiful design is misplaced.
Your presumption, however, is that I would not consider ZZ Top to have artistic significance. They are incredibly in synch with each other musically, are talented musicians in their own right, and are unmistakable from anyone else. "Tush" may not have the lyrical or musical depth of "Stairway to Heaven," let alone Beethoven's 5th, but there is still a passion for the art there. Nirvana is relevant not for their musicianship, which was sloppy at best, but for songcraft and passion. Kurt articulated an entire subculture as eloquently as possible while still being honest. Punk exists on the simplest of chords, yet the musical importance of the Clash is far more than many people who worked by Classical standards. How many classical composers do you know v. how many modern musicians? You'd better believe there are millions who are lost to time for pure suckitude. Want proof, just go through your parents' vinyl collection. I guarantee there's at least one album you'll say "who?" to. Obscurity doesn't preclude talent, obviously, but in many cases, there's a reason you don't know who Chris Ducey is. He was totally disposable, and damn you mom for making me know that.
In 30 years, so too will the hacks here be. But in the here and now, their temporary success is strangling those people who may become the next Mozart, or may become the next Flaming Lips instead, existing for years on relatively strong fan support and relatively negligible mainstream exposure. But for every true passionate creative mind which sticks around, tens or hundreds will give up because they're not willing to stoop so low to gain acceptance, and need to make money somehow, or else they WILL stoop that low and throw away everything creative about them, selling their soul for the almighty dollar. Not every artistic mind has the luxury to just wait for their break, and that is the true waste of culture.
So the argument is not "Classical vs. ZZ Top." It is, perhaps, Moonlight Sonata vs. Cheap Sunglasses (sorry ZZ, you lose hard) or else Etude 344b in A-minor vs. Gimme All Your Lovin' (which gives a damn fair shot to the bearded men depending on which obscure composition from which composer we are looking at). But it's more Lady Gaga vs. Katy Perry. You cannot argue for Katy Perry's superiority musically without resorting to non-musical things (better ass? fair call) or untrue things (better voice? you've heard them both sing, right?) And as such, someone with absolutely no capacity for undoctored vocals has no right to make money off their voice, right?
And that is the argument. While I will defend to the death the idea that "high art" has no place it does not belong, I know not all "high art" is meant for a shirt. But I would say not ANY low art is. You can cruise down the street blasting Sharp Dressed Man, and that's fine. But you shouldn't cruise down the street blasting the Macarena. You can read a good thriller instead of Shakespeare, but you shouldn't be reading Twilight. There is a huge difference between lesser work and truly mediocre to awful work, and there are ways to measure without opinion. You yourself note that you KNOW your southern rock preferences are not the height of composition. That says VOLUMES about where you are compared to the average woot voter. But I would like to think that if the Grammys came up, and a truly groundbreaking album lost against an enjoyable, yet ultimately standard ZZ album, you would feel some twinge of how robbed the other album was, while if the groundbreaking one won, you wouldn't feel anger that the one you preferred didn't. I vote in these derbies weekly if I can. I have liked some of what has printed, and I have bought fewer shirts than I've liked. I have lauded and disdained "artsy" and "simple" shirts alike. Quality is not about elitism and art is not about museums. It's about making sure the best man or woman wins. No one is advocating for any one thing to be severed from the derby except for this: uncreative, unethical, and flat out miserably done work. Anyone who would defend such from ejection is not stating their preference for anything but the lowest of the low.