Sunday, July 26, 2015

Images of the Midwest

I am freshly returned from a weekend in Wisconsin Dells, a place I never heard of when I lived on the East Coast, but which is well-known to anyone within a 500-mile radius in the upper Midwest. It's a place that attracted tourists in the 19th century because of its natural beauty. After the number of cars increased post-World War I and especially after World War II, those tourists were seen as an opportunity for quaint roadside attractions, motels, and (finally) dozens of waterparks and amusement parks.

Now it's what I would call a working-class to middle-class vacation spot for people with kids. There's a three-block stretch of the original downtown that's like a boardwalk, including lots of shops selling tacky T-shirts.

Several shops put the "art" on the walls and you can get it printed immediately onto whatever type of shirt you want. This wall o' stuff caught my attention because of the rip-offs of Shephard Fairey's OBEY graphic. Especially the Mickey Mouse OHBOY version... why not infringe two copyrights while you're at it, right?

I just noticed the ones at top left that say "I heart my crazy boyfriend girlfriend" and "I heart my crazy wife husband." Is this an example of the slippery slope we were promised after the marriage equality decision?

I've never understood the trend that involves printing words on the butt of clothing. Of course, it's only done on clothes for women. The words on these very short shorts read "Can't touch this."

And this is classic Wisconsin: pink camouflage meets traditional (and therefore I guess male) camouflage. The idea that the deer themselves would be camouflaged is particularly odd since the people who wear camouflage intend to kill them. Of course, the "girl" deer has to have a bow on her head.

The Dells has more than just tacky clothes. There's lots of room for stuff no one needs!

There's something wrong with this horse painting: The eyes are too close together, pointing forward rather than being placed almost on the sides of the head. Because horses are prey animals, they need to have greater range of vision, while predators need to look straight ahead when they're pursuing. It makes the horse look more like a wolf with a weird nose. I wonder if there are fangs hidden in that overbite?

And finally, from a shop full of breakable stuff, this message, "Children are not to handle." I read it several times before I understood what it meant. I kept thinking it was something like "Children are not to be mishandled" or something like that. Do you think any kids or even parents understand this passive phrasing?

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