Company says sorry, not sorry for Chicago Stronger T-shirts

Cubby Tees has posted a long apology about its "Chicago Stronger" shirts addressed to all the humorless, self-centered pricks in Boston who failed to see either the humor or the trenchant social commentary the shirts were meant to evoke:

Unfortunately, it seems that most every news cycle brings fresh stories of great loss: the past year has seen mass shootings (Newton, 26 dead), rampage shootings (LA, Oak Creek, Aurora, Santa Monica – all with 5+ dead ), plant explosions (West Texas, 15 dead), tornadoes (Oklahoma, 24 dead), hurricanes (Sandy, 87 dead), building collapses (Philadelphia, 6 dead) and endemic crime (Chicago suffers 10 murders every week) amongst other catastrophes…every one heartbreaking, but not each with its own brand name, clothing line, defensive attitude, hashtag, trademark, concert and profiteers.

Communities generally best show their strength by SHOWING it, not by telling everyone about it, and certainly not by suggesting that their athletic mercenaries will succeed because of the real-life tragedy, or by threatening that same ugly violence against anyone whom they perceive has slighted them. THAT SENTIMENT is what we were satirizing -- not the real pain suffered by real people away from the Twitterverse.

Presumably before sendng us appalled, threatening emails, each of you donated blood on April 15th, then you gave money to the victim's fund, then you volunteered for next year's marathon, then you wrote notes to every Boston individual/company who promoted “Boston Strong” (for non fund-raising purposes), then you spoke harshly to every Bostonians who ever used "Boston Strong" in a non-reverential manner or to support a local team. We hope you were motivated to do all that before venting misplaced anger over a tee shirt.



    Free tagging: 


    I assume you're referring to

    I assume you're referring to this,

    "...threatening that same ugly violence against anyone WHOM they perceive has slighted them."

    It's tricky, because there are two verbs in that part of the sentence, each with a different subject. Here's my best guess. "They" can perceive "whom" but because the pronoun "whom" is actually the subject of the verb "slighted," they need to perceive the entire phase. i.e. "who, they perceive, has slighted them." Because of that, one needs the nominative case (i.e. subject, or "who"), not objective case, here.

    If the second verb weren't there, you could get away with whom.

    Boston smarter?

    Such strong reaction! But

    Such strong reaction!

    But since they can't reasonably expect EVERYONE who sees their t-shirts to "get" what they're satirizing, they should just print the above explanation on the back of every "Stronger" shirt they sell. Everyone gets the joke, and problem solved!

    It's time to let "Boston

    It's time to let "Boston Strong" fade out. The first week or so after the bombing it had meaning.
    It has outlived its purpose and morphed into a slogan to sell merchandise, not related to the bombing, mostly for sports fans.
    Let the U.S. Army have their ad campaign back. Remember "ARMY STRONG"?

    NO WAY!

    I'm opening my official "boston strong" boutique in the Natick Mall this weekend! we're gonna sink both A & Finch and Guess!

    Boston being typical Boston

    Someone forgot to tell Chicago that
    Boston is populated mostly by bros and frat boys so yes, everything is about sports and though it is ok for Boston fans to relentlessly mock other cities, it is not ok to mock Boston or we will get so upset we will all lock oursleves in the house again while our Police shoot each other. Boston needs to grow up, it's insecurities are constantly on display for the world to see and it's pathetic.

    Hey, brah

    You don't work at Gawker, do you? You sound a bit like the woman yapping about how much Boston sucked until we got bombed. It turns out, she pretty much never ventured outside of Harvard Square.

    If you think all of Boston is filled with bros and frat boys then
    (a) You're forgetting the hos (Unless the bros and frat boys are all dating each other)
    (b) You could, if you wanted to, visit the parts of the city where the grown-ups work and live.

    Double talk

    I like how they decry people who use the slogan for sports teams - correctly, IMO - in an explanation of why they did that very thing.

    I am content to see the slogan die out, unless it's advertising something that will benefit the victims. I could also see it as a rallying cry for next year's marathon. But it does make me sort of disgusted to see it coopted for sports teams, Boston-based or not. I love the Bruins and hope the Blackhawks end up in a heap on the ice tomorrow, but that's not "Boston Strong." That's professional athletes who are paid handsomely for their effort. Note the differnce.

    bros with some solid thoughts

    most bro-shirt places are scummy mires of puerile/racist humor, but I think Cubby Tees actually spoke wisdom in a later paragraph. Seriously, read the whole release.

    "The design poked fun at the embarrassing self-congratulatory branding of the tragedy, and its inappropriate adoption by SOME BOSTON FANS AS A MINIMIZING SPORTS ANTHEM, not the sad reality of that day’s mayhem."

    Their critique, while showing a hypocrisy in making the same money they are satirizing, is spot on. Go Bruins, but I have lots of respect for their handling of the Boston flamers.

    What these knuckle draggers

    What these knuckle draggers don't understand is that there was outrage when that company decided to try and TM "Boston Strong". Also, these people are making a blanket judgement about the actions on Bostonians after the attack - because a large amount of this city did SOMETHING to help out, even if it was a 100% donation drink fest at Harpoon, or buying a t-shirt where all funds went to OneFund, or whatever that case.

    I hate to even recognize their stupidity, because after a lot of murders, in Chicago and Boston alike, t-shirts are made to remember the victims. Little memorials are made to remember the victims. We all memorialize in different ways, but this was more than an attack on a person, this was an attack on our city as a whole.

    Interesting commentary, and I

    Interesting commentary, and I agree with a lot of what they express. It looks ugly coming from them though, since they're choosing to profit by perpetuating everything they claim to be mocking. Happy to see a link to the One Fund on their site (now), but the fact remains that they can't seem to comprehend the context of the marathon attack. They're placing this on the level of the building collapse in Philly, which is an absolutely awful accident that greed and negligence allowed to happen... Or those who died in Hurricane Sandy, which is a horrifying natural disaster.

    Do we really need to compete tragedies? Do we really need to pretend that only the body count of something is what matters?

    Can they honestly not process terrorism, and how it affects everyone psychologically? Because this is what allowed "Boston Strong" to become a rallying slogan for uniting people. Those who co-opt it into profit are disgusting, and I don't think that idea is lost on many Bostonians.

    The fact that it gets misused, and really should be phased out, doesn't mean it should be perpetuated in mockery. No one needs their commentary, especially if they have to "explain" it so much. I'm sorry some silly t-shirt company doesn't like how we react to a disaster, but I'm pretty happy with how we handled it.

    So these guys are surprised

    So these guys are surprised by the 'ahem' strong reaction? Honestly, do they expect us to believe that in the midst of a heated Stanley Cup series, followed by millions of rabid Bruins fans, they had no idea these shirts would be so considered so provocative and that they are positively shocked...SHOCKED...that this lazy attempt at one-upmanship would not be recognized as clever 'satire'? Now they really are taking us for fools. If their intent was satire, they should have written a witty piece in Slate or the Atlantic Monthly. A t-shirt sold a a sporting event is a rather clumsy medium for the finer points satire requires to be effective. I'm sure if the shoe were on the other foot, some of their fans would be baying for blood as well. The moral is: When called out for boorish behavior, accuse your accuser of being a boor.

    Cubby does this all the time

    I have a tee shirt that looks like a "NY Jets" tee shirt from far away but when you get closer you see that it actually says "MY Jesus" in the color and shape of the Jets logo. Tim Tebow asked them to cease and desist. Since Timmy is not actually Jesus, they did not comply.

    They do it on purpose and they sell a lot of tee shirts in the process. I can't wait for the Tebow/Patriots parody.

    Edited: I just looked at their site and there already is a Tebow/Boston tee shirt and it's lame. Boo.

    I only wore it once

    When I got it I realized that it was cute but not funny.

    I wore it once to my old church last fall because they're all Jesus-y and love football and they all got the joke.

    Funny story and totally unrelated to the thread at hand - they ended up booting me for not being Jesus-y enough. Long story short: I believe in evolution and the pastor didn't appreciate my attitude.


    Just put Stongest rather than Stronger. This way the sensitive people who are irrate about this tshirt can rest easy. Strongest is above everyone and not just one city.... And at the end of the day the CHI Hawks will live up to it.

    it's crass and distasteful,

    it's crass and distasteful, but then again I (and if memory serves, most of universalhub) found the "1-31-07 Never Forget" local meme hilarious at the time

    and i don't remember any new yorkers getting their knickers in a bunch over it

    so i won't get too huffy lest i be hypocritical, but i do look forward to the bruins winning and having everyone email-bomb these d-bags running this lowest common denominator tshirt website (if theyre still in business next month)

    Sports Unify

    "Sports are very important to people. In most areas of the country, people revolve their lives around their sports team whether they be college or professional. In times of tragedy, it's comforting to make that connection and rope in our sports team to provide some sense of hope and belonging. I don't see anything wrong with that. I'm not sure I understand why people find it necessary to say that Bostonians were in the wrong for doing that? It's not affecting you at all so what do you care. In the end, this whole ordeal is completely unnecessary as we as hockey fans are privaledged to have a great matchup in this series. Let's play some hockey and leave it all on the Ice." - Pete

    For the people saying the sports teams were using the slogan for their own publicity, I think it was the opposite, I think that the Bruins were using THEIR OWN publicity to help OneFund and the victims of the attack, people were going to be buying Bruins shirts anyway because they were in the playoffs, why not connect those shirts with a charity and unify Boston? They did nothing wrong!

    And one more thing, I've noticed a lot of comments saying how 'it was fine to have that slogan for a week after the attack but it needs to die out'. Have you SEEN the photos that weren't released on the TV? People's limbs were scattered with blood everywhere, the horror these runners and spectators saw was VERY psychologically damaging, they aren't going to just 'get over it' as some of you disturbingly expect them to. What ever happened to sympathy? What happened to Chicago's original attitude toward Boston where it acknowledged that SPORTS UNITE the two cities, and that sports are important to communicate feelings or fears the Bostonians had/have after the attack. Why is it that all of a sudden Chicago felt the need to attack Boston for the same thing they were supporting originally?

    It disgusts me that people are so callous after these incidents.