Chain clothing store Forever 21 catches heat for selling a fabricated version of a shirt Kurt Cobain wore!
Clearly I have recently figured out how to use the font buttons on WordPress!
But more importantly: this shirt thing. Apparently, the chain store (whose name makes me kind of sad) is getting some flack from a group of really dedicated rockers over the “Flipper” shirt they’re selling, which is a mock-up of one Cobain wore for Nirvana’s performance on Saturday Night Live in 1992. Cobain’s shirt was hand-drawn with a felt marker and refers to a little-known band who’d influenced him (it isn’t that he’s a huge fan of 60’s TV shows about dolphins, and a lousy artist).
It’s a little unclear which part is troubling the fans most – the co-opting of a rock image and a very “grunge” thing for cobain do, or the concern that Cobain’s insane, opportunistic widow, Courtney Love, is garnering profit from it. Regardless, the store is refusing – Refusing! – to stop selling the shirt. Which implies that people are buying it, which may be the most surprising part.
This is hardly the first time, though, such conflicts have arisen between rock music and retail:
1956: Pet stores across America start selling “Nothin’ but hound dogs” guaranteeing that they will “cry all the time.” No one buys them and they reap what they’ve sown.
1965: Beach Boys fans try to get angry over the selling of “Beach Boys Swimwear,” but are all in such good moods and the breakers that day are just sooooo amazing that they can’t seem to work up the ire.
1971: Angry Harry Nillson fans converge on Safeway grocery stores, accusing them of trying to capitalize on the popularity of the song “Put The Lime in the Coconut” by selling both lime and coconuts at the same time.
1977: Nike introduces Kiss Running Boots, with Nike’s patented waffle-tread, plus spikes and a 6-inch rise in the sole.
1982: JC Penney refuses to stop selling David Lee Roth assless-chaps, on the grounds that “JC Penney has always rocked, and always will.”
2005: Fans protest the selling of Mariah Carey halter-tops as an affront to her artistry and independence. Then they remember that this is Mariah Carey we’re talking about, and return to their homes.
So, hang in there, Forever 21. And hang in there, too, angry Cobain supporters. You’re in good company. Good, surfing, assless company.