Non-Conformist Conforming

Hardly a man in the world has an opinion upon morals, politics or religion which he got otherwise than through his associations and sympathies. Broadly speaking, there are none but corn-pone opinions. And broadly speaking, Corn-Pone stands for Self-Approval. Self-approval is acquired mainly from the approval of other people. The result is Conformity.
Mark Twain

In Toronto’s “West” Queen Street West there are a handful of stores that appeal to that segment group that I call the New Hippies; people who try to hold liberal values but cannot look beyond their noses and don’t think what those values stand for. “West” Queen Street West has got stores offering merchandise with the “Che” Guevara, Marcos, Mao. The t-shirts you can get have clever quotes. I love to see how many people who call themselves anti-conformist can be targeted as consumers so easily because they conform to trends that are empty at the most. Real radicals aren’t buying t-shirts in trendy Toronto spots, are they?

What bothers me is not how they anti-conform against Gap by conforming with Atticus; is how they delude themselves by thinking they belong to a fighting liberal class that is above all the capitalist pigs, when they can’t look that they are being deceived by the marketing masters they said they hate: People like to eat organic, but in Canada, and many places in Europe and northern USA, organic food needs to be shipped from abroad, especially by plane. The new (rich) hippies buy this organic, expensive, healthy food that burn seven times its own weight in carbon monoxide to get to the store and look from above to the poor chavs that have to buy locally produced, pesticide-plagued food.

We have some cyclist that really believe they are above all drivers because their bikes don’t pollute and they ride even at -20 degrees; then they cut the line, run the red light, run over pedestrians, and ride on the sidewalk at expense of other people. Just so you can see them and follow their ecological friendly example.

My favourite example though is the t-shirt I saw in the aforementioned Queen Street at the Black Market Store, they sell a t-shirt that has got a bike, and below the legend “NO IRAQI WAS BOMBARDED TO FUEL THIS VEHICLE”, what a delight! All the rest of us, who have to drive, bunch of murderers, if only we get the message! The tiny fact that the t-shirt was manufactured in Bangladesh, infamously known by its sweatshops and child labour, is just unimportant. As long as they can buy the shirt at $14.95 plus taxes to deliver their message, the kid that was paid $1 a day should be happy.


I received some comments about how wrong I was for attacking the Black Market Store, and the Black Market Staff wrote to me that they never, ever sold the t-shirt that I mentioned. I think is quite clear that I am not attacking the Black Market store. They sell military outfits next to old rock concert t-shirts so I don’t consider it to be a new hippie store because they don’t have the pretension of being an activist store. I went anyways to double check where the t-shirts are made in, and found out that all new t-shirts are manufactured either in Canada or Mexico, countries with well established clothing manufactures and a very clean record on sweatshops (Mexican salaries could be higher, but the conditions are appropriate). They also sell used t-shirts at $15 dlls each, and they come from countries as diverse as USA, France, Guatemala, and yes, Bangladesh. I understand that they do not have control where the used t-shirt are made in, so they cannot really be sure that they never sold a used t-shirt as the one that my friend and I saw.


5 Responses to Non-Conformist Conforming

  1. Get your facts straight. We have never carried this shirt, never made it, never sold it. Perhaps you have mistaken us for some other “new hippie” store that you were browsing in?

  2. mcyclops says:

    Nope, I am an assiduous client of your store, I saw the t-shirt, I shown it to my friends and we get a good laugh. If you are absolutely sure that you never have this particular shirt maybe somebody moved from one of the mini stores within your store, but it was in one of your racks (for our readers, the Black Market is a store located in an big old basement, with adjacent mini stores that are independent but get easily confused due to the market-style layout, I was very careful to see where the racks where, though), in any case, I will gladly go back and check where your t-shirts come from and edit this article.

  3. Nora Fannin says:

    You are a pompous jackass, and you don’t have your facts straight. How do you know where Black Market gets its t shirts from? Why don’t you spend your free time doing something constructive about child labour, true organics, etc., instead of whining and spreading lies about a creative, independent, Canadian small business? You obviously have a lot of free time on your hands. Get a life, asshole.

  4. mcyclops says:

    Nora, I know where Black Market gets its shirts because I go there and I read the labels, which you can do too. You do not know what do I do about children labour, true organics, or sustainability; You are free to critic my post, but try to check your fact first too. By the way, I am not talking about how Black Market sell t-shirts, but about how some people take an attitude like buying anti government t-shits made in sweapshops, or how some people -like you- cannot stand any critic without bursting in rage.

  5. Nora Fannin says:

    You are still basing your windy crap on incorrect information. I do know where BM gets their t shirts! You do not! You are wrong, okay?
    Also, you do not know me and therefore have no idea what I know or don’t know about child labour, organics, etc.
    Everybody knows, however, that rebellion has always been commodified and sold. Whoopee, what an insight.
    I’m actually embarrassed that I spent time writing this.
    p.s., how much employment have you created for the Canadian economy? Any?
    Black Market has created a lot. Independently.

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