Saturday, February 16, 2008

"Nicaraguans enjoy Pats loss"

Heart-warming, isn't it? :)

"I like this a lot," said one little girl. "We never thought we would receive shirts from professional American football players."

Thousands of additional shirts and caps are on the way, as the NFL donates all the unsellable Patriots "championship" gear that was manufactured before the team's historic loss.

I'm trying to remember the argument against this sort of thing, from people who "study" dress and culture. Something about "imperialism"--basically, the charity is "polluting" their (superior, obviously) local culture by forcing American modes of dress on their pure Noble-Savage ways. Free T-shirts are a gateway drug to *gasp* capitalism and free trade and the 21st century, oh noes! I'm pretty sure this view ignores any actual research in to how recipients of free American clothing modify and use it, which is why I remember the discussion so vividly--I expected "scholars" of "dress and culture" to, like, study how cultures use textiles, not get all pissy about them coming in contact with other cultures.

Later I had a class with a woman who ran a local Salvation Army post with her husband, who told me that when African villages (I wish I could remember which country she visited) get bundles of their unsalable clothes, the women take them apart and use the fabrics and trims to make clothing and furnishings in styles they prefer.

OTOH, how sad it would be if one of those kids grows up believing the F-Pats were the Best Team Ever, manages to walk up to California without getting shot by the Mexican border guards (yeah...), and the first time he turns on the ESPN Spanish broadcast of an F-Pats game, he learns it's all a lie?


After last year’s Super Bowl game, a significant portion of the Chicago Bears apparel was distributed in Zambia in southern Africa. Other countries receiving Bears shirts included Chad, Chile, Bolivia, Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, Romania, and Zimbabwe.

World Vision also receives counterfeit NFL team apparel through its work with United States Customs. The program began in 1991 at the Storehouse of World Vision through a donation of confiscated goods from Los Angeles Customs. World Vision disburses confiscated goods and official, licensed apparel only in pre-approved, developing nations.

I am intrigued. Whole lot of stuff to look up on the internets.


Steve Burri said...

You'd think there would be a good market in the U.S. for these goods. You would have gladly paid top dollar for a Patriots 19-0 tee shirt, no? Giant fans, Colt fans... Lots of money to be made.

HeatherRadish said...

Oh hell no. :) I've been considering a T-shirt that says "18 wins, 1 GIANT loss" but I think this month's T-shirt money is going to Iowa State's 100th anniversary of basketball.