In case you haven’t seen them yet, you probably will soon. Here’s a photo for your viewing pleasure (a special thank you to my friend Omar for providing this pic):
A simple, two color t-shirt bearing the Old Town logo (without permission) and a really naughty word. I have heard about the explosive popularity of these shirts, and the explosive bar owner responses.
I know this is the perfect opportunity for Midwest mentalities and virtues to flare, but let me ask you something — when was the last time you saw someone wearing a shirt about Wichita? Athletic shirts don’t count.
I know there’s a legal battle lying around town somewhere, but there are a few really important underlying lessons here that I want to point out:
1) It’s entrepreneurially important that a young person thought this was a big enough social issue to personally create a t-shirt design and invest in the printing of them. This happens in every other city but Wichita for some reason. Hello, young Wichita creatives, where have you been hiding? I’m glad you found an outlet that works for you and people like you.
2) Many people like this shirt, and its humor is in the right place. Those of us that are wearing these shirts enjoy the Old Town scene just as much as you do. Probably more. We also hate shootings just as much as you do. Probably more. These shirts are a conversation topic, spurring questions and activism about a safer downtown right were that message hits home: people like me, in their mid-20s. The exact crowd that hangs in Old Town three or four nights a week.
3) Hometown pride is happening. No matter how sick-headed it may seem. …Whether you like the medium of this t-shirt or not. I understand that this isn’t the idea that downtown developers and business owners were thinking of when it came to promoting Old Town. But hey, it’s kind of funny, and don’t hate young people for being more creative than you. And expressive. And expletive.
4) No matter how much you hate these shirts, watch what you say. Your bar regulars are listening. Don’t be surprised if we stop showing up.
Signed by Yours Truly,
Anonymous Twenty-Something Bar Patron With Just Another Stupid Shirt