Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Move Over Ed Reformers, You Have Corporate Company

Hipster retailer Urban Outfitters, aside from being an overpriced boutique for  affluent young douchebags, has rung the Asshole Capitalism bell in a huge way this season. Obviously UO's not my kinda joint and what the hell does this have to do with Common Core, the abysmal state of American Labor or the Buffalo Board of Ed? both of my readers are asking. 

It's one of those coverups that's more egregious than the crime situations. And when all the shuck and jive, the spin and the heartfelt yet non incriminating mea culpas are issued, it's clear that this was never about anything more than making a buck. Not unlike the dazzling rifts of rhetoric our amusing friends from the ed reform industry concoct in an effort to paint their own motives as altruistic when we can simply plug our ears and follow the money as it flows into their already teeming coffers. 

If you've been living under the other half of the rock I usually use for cover here's what they did : 

In case your lasiks surgery is failing you, yes, they colored a Kent State shirt to look blood spattered, called it "Vintage" and put it up for $129.00. US. And when the blowback started, as I guess everyone but the snarky shitheads at UO knew it would they consulted the Michael Vick/ Rob Ford handbook for non apologies and offered this dubious ejaculation : 

Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused. It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such. The one-of-a-kind item was purchased as part of our sun-faded vintage collection. There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray. Again, we deeply regret that this item was perceived negatively and we have removed it immediately from our website to avoid further upset.

"Any offense it may have caused". Assumed of course is that some hypersensitive knee jerk consumer watchdog with serious wood for these hapless hipsters went off the deep end about something that happened in Ohio for God's sake and it was decades ago...

"The red stains are discoloration and the holes from natural wear and fray" in case anyone thought we were trying to make it look like someone was shot while wearing it...

"We regret that it was perceived negatively..." How in hell that happened we will never know... "and we have removed it immediately from our website to avoid further upset..." big hearted sensitive slobs that we are.

Urban Outfitters are getting pretty skilled in this kind of damage control it turns out. Among the store's other misperceptions of reality were their t shirts picturing a 15 year old model Hailey Clauson in this pose. One her parents said the store had no permission to use let alone slap on a t shirt for $29.00. Any question what they're selling here? 

Cashing in on protesting college kids gunned down on a campus, underage girl crotch shots, promoting prescription drug and alcohol use and minting faux "Navajo" panties in China is how Urban Outfitters rolls. In Post Ferguson America it's no stretch to imagine any number of yahooized law enforcement agencies in their helmets and armored rigs mowing down a hell of a lot more than 4 kids with their battlefield ready equipage. Somehow, though, a corporate entity like Urban Outfitters manages to excuse itself from the larger contextual responsibilities the rest of us try to obey. We don't yell fire! in multiplexes or Bingo! in crowded smoke filled casinos. But then again if we were desperate to make a buck, desperate as the lilliputian minds at urban Outfitters we might just be yelling both of those things and worse. An article in Business Insider from May of this year points out three of the company's biggest problems including their tone deaf attempts at being edgy that all end up about as edgy as your drunken uncle groping your 12 year old sister on the dance floor of a family wedding. Here's yet another of their zany misfires.  

There's edgy. And then there's just being an asshole. Someone at this place doesn't seem to know there's a difference. And in the name of profit they keep blundering ahead offering denial after lame apology after denial. It's not like they can say, hey it's for the children, even though their target audience is the 18-24 crowd. It really is for the children. Well, more accurately, it's aimed at the children in the most cynical and prehensile vision of capitalism you can imagine. But in the end it's for the company, the wrong headed, assholic, overpriced and socially inept company who thinks no matter how insulting, insensitive, demeaning or stupid their message is, some dumbass with Daddy's AmEx card is going to walk out of the mall  $29.00 lighter pleased with himself and his edgy gear. Say it aint so America.


  1. Not sure about your other reader but I appreciate this post very much.

  2. You really ROCK, Sean!
    Thanks for all of your research and postings!

  3. Patrick and Peg so glad you both showed up for me. We're a good trio. Glad you enjoyed it. My oldest girl's good friend goes to school at Kent. It really hurt to see this.