“I’m sorry, but your t-shirt will lead to the downfall of society. Please remove it.”

A slightly suggestive t-shirt from smellyourmum.com

Now, I’m hoping that the recent news from Newquay on its new t-shirt policy doesn’t mean that this ever so slightly suggestive t-shirt will be banned should I visit this nearby town. I don’t believe that it would be, but who knows. After all, Newquay’s police have decided to set themselves up as “moral police” in order to help clean up the seaside town’s image. If something offends their sensibilities I could be in a lot of trouble through their take on censorship.

The t-shirt above is not the most lewd one available from SMELLYOURMUM.COM and when I saw their stand at London MCM last month, I was tempted by a few of their “hotter” numbers. I have a very casual attitude to the use of swear words, so I wouldn’t really care about seeing any of these shirts on the street.

In fact, I’d be tempted to wear a lewder shirt, just because of the responses that it would illicit from a lot of people. I feel a great level of contempt for those who are so easily affected by only a few words. Quite frankly:

Actions speak louder than words.

So, unless someone wearing a t-shirt or a hoody with a particular turn of phrase also happens to be acting like an asshole in the first place (like being violent, damaging property, urinating or pooping on the side of the street, etc), I don’t think police in Newquay should just stop a person just because of what they’re wearing. As to being offensive to the eyes of family groups…

Okay, waving sex toys out in the open would probably lead to more awkward questions than explaining why people feel inclined to kill each other – but kids do have this habit of filtering out adult material. I know this from personal experience – in The Mask the title character pulls a condom out of his pocket during one scene. I didn’t know this was a condom when I watched the film back in 1994 and neither did most of my friends. It was only when I rewatched the film some ten plus years later that I realised what it was.

In the end, words are only words. They mean what you subjectively want them to mean. Language is never objective. Symbols and totems have no innate meaning.


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