Tuesday, March 27, 2007

My underwear was made in Thailand

I'm a bit like Johnny 5 in Short Circuit : NEED INPUT! So I read any words that end up in front of my face. Pretty much. The other day I had cause to read the tag on my underwear.

"All Cotton"

"Tumble Dry - Medium Heat"

"Made in Thailand"

Ah, hell.

Two reasons for that:

1) Although I'm not strongly involved in the issue, I generally prefer to buy items manufactured in the US. I realize it is increasingly a global economy, but I'd rather my money stayed close to home when possible.

2) I've refused to buy Thai products since the mid-90s. Although the formal Don't! Buy! Thai! effort ended in 2000, I hold grudges for a L-O-N-G time. Once I start not doing a thing, I find it difficult to start doing it again. For example, I haven't purchased anything todo with the group Queen since they made a poor choice in ignoring the cultural boycott of South Africa towards the end of the apartheid era.

This is one reason I don't really join boycotts. An important part of the boycott strategy is the carrot - if the boycotters get what they want, they will resume purchasing the product. Odds are, I won't. Therefore, no boycotts.

For example, I doubt Pom Beverage Company will ever get my business again (no matter how tempting the lychee/green tea looks ...) Unsure why? Google it. And, no, I'm not worried about the threats they 'received' (OPINION ... or manufactured ... /OPINION)

So, why did I start NOT buying Thai products? Comic books. Batman specifically.

One specific book, released circa 1995. 'The Ultimate Evil', a 2-issue mini based on the novel by Andrew Vachss. The series is entertaining enough, although it commits the cardinal sin of 'revisioning' long-standing portions of Batman's origin. Specifically, it posits that the murder of the Waynes was not the random event shown in the original origin story.

More important to this entry is where the book succeded: it's depiction of the titular 'ultimate evil' - the forced participation of children in sex tourism in Southeast Asia. This took place in a fictional country clearly based on Thailand. The end of the book urged readers to not buy Thai products (based on the country's nearly nonexistent enforcement of international standards for keeping kids out of the sex trade).

More than any other comic this one demonstrated to me the power and potential of the art form.

So the next time someone tells you comics are for kids, show them The Ultimate Evil.

This is one comic that is, even if it is not.

[I should clarify in case anyone misses what I'm saying and gives this to little Johnny. It is not really FOR kids, but raises issues INVOLVING them.]


Jason said...

About damn time you made this post.


Dave said...

Yeah, I really don't talk about my underwear enough.