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#6  Tuesday.12.08.2009

Volvo Sweatshirt Hurts Brain, Feelings


About a week ago I was walking in the area adjacent to the central station here in Stockholm. At this time of year, the cold and wet season, plattan (as it is known) has a sort of Christmas market going on. The sweatshirt to the right was one of the fine items on sale.

It always strikes me as a bit disturbing that there are people who actually make clothes that involve blatant profanity (and provacation.) Granted you won't find something like this at The Gap, but you will find it scattered throughout the countries of the world that don't have English as a first language. (Japan is a great example...) Even more disturbing is the fact that people buy them...and then somehow find a suitable occasion to wear them.

Now, back to the sweatshirt on the right, there are so many things that are wrong with those six words put together that my head spins. First off, Swedes have an affinity with English swear words. They dot main stream media in everything from book and film titles to advertising and even actual journalism. They do not have the taboo that exists elsewhere with their public use and thereby lack the weight they would normally have. (They have even been Swedified and incorporated into the language. Example: when something has gone completely wrong it is uppfuckad. No translation needed there...) However, this particular phrase goes beyond that. If it had just said "Fuck You" then I wouldn't have bothered to take a picture. But no, it say's "Fuck You I Drive A Volvo." How does one decipher that message?

I can only assume that there are some tourists picking these up because they are so bizarre. It would be like going to France and buying a t-shirt that says "Fuck You I Eat Croissants!" I mean, there can't honestly be someone on this planet that drives a Volvo that is so content, satisfied and down right ready to defend his choice of vehicle (unmitigated) that he would ever actually say that - let alone wear it. That's like getting in a fight at a bar over what conditioner you use or what type of sunblock offers the best protection. In addition to that, this is Sweden, where 1 in every 4 cars are made by Volvo. (Roughly 1 million.) So, feeling outnumbered and misunderstood isn't really an issue. No, it's just not possible. At no point, ever, has anyone ever uttered that phrase or probably even thought it.

In the end, I will have to write it down as irony. If it had been SAAB things would have been different...

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