Anti-Nazi t-shirt hacking
August 10, 2011 8:41 AM   Subscribe

250 lucky attendees to a right-wing concert in Germany were given free souvenir t-shirts with the slogan "Hardcore rebels” and a skull and nationalist flags.

But the T-shirts actually featured a hidden message that emerged only after being washed: "What your T-shirt can do, so can you - we'll help you break with right-wing extremism." (Before and after photo.) A clever stunt from Bernd Wagner, founder of EXIT (scroll to 9th 'graf) an organization that helps those who want to leave the neo-Nazi movement.
posted by mojohand (49 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
German is so GRAR
posted by goethean at 8:46 AM on August 10, 2011


You know, that is a clever stunt.
posted by box at 8:46 AM on August 10, 2011 [25 favorites]


I feel like some joke about how many of these shirts will never get washed is appropriate, but maybe neo-nazis are meticulously clean, I dunno.
posted by silby at 8:47 AM on August 10, 2011 [12 favorites]


free pogo stick for the first ten tickets sold.
posted by clavdivs at 8:48 AM on August 10, 2011


How many of Germany's neo-Nazis are illiterate? Because hoboy...
posted by griphus at 8:49 AM on August 10, 2011


That is pretty bad ass.
posted by Think_Long at 8:51 AM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Initially: DON'T TREAD ON ME
After washing: SWEATSHOP-FREE THANKS TO UNIONS
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:52 AM on August 10, 2011 [136 favorites]


East Manitoba, I would totally fund such a thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:58 AM on August 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


Huh? I wasn't aware that the (original) shirt would have even been OK in Germany...

I was under the impression that extremist/nationalist speech was still heavily curtailed for a certain range of topics...
posted by schmod at 8:58 AM on August 10, 2011





I feel like some joke about how many of these shirts will never get washed is appropriate, but maybe neo-nazis are meticulously clean, I dunno.
posted by silby at 8:47 AM on August 10 [2 favorites +] [!]



How many of Germany's neo-Nazis are illiterate? Because hoboy...
posted by griphus at 8:49 AM on August 10 [+] [!]

I can't speak for Germany, but in Canada our neo-nazis are illiterate and unwashed.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:58 AM on August 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


Well, then, ahem:

This will never work, because even if they could read the shirts, they're never going to wash them!

I'll be here all night.
posted by silby at 9:01 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I remember reading about this this morning and thinking: "Hmm, this would make a nice MetaFilter FPP." Drats.
posted by Skeptic at 9:02 AM on August 10, 2011


I can't speak for Germany, but in Canada our neo-nazis are illiterate and unwashed.

In the US, they're usually in the backwoods so literacy is called into question, but they're really, really into militia/military culture, so fastidiousness is a Thing.

While working in the punk rock store, I once saw a European Neo-Nazi. My coworker (Mexican/Puerto Rican) and I (Russian Jew) glared him and his girlfriend down until they hopefully got the point and left.

I felt like I should have wished them luck. All the skinheads in the neighborhood were people of color and really, really resented the skinhead/neo-Nazi conflation in the popular mind.
posted by griphus at 9:04 AM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


maybe German neo-nazis are meticulously clean

The answer is probably yes.
posted by DU at 9:09 AM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Rock For Germany festival had as its slogan "Never again communism - Freedom for Germany".

"again"? Good ol' right wingers. The same everywhere.
posted by DU at 9:14 AM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


I want my t-shirt to protest the usage of the vexing nonword "'graf" plz.
posted by elizardbits at 9:19 AM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hey... hey.... I wonder if any of them were angry that the bottom of their shirts changed design.

That would make them.... frill annoyed Nazis.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:21 AM on August 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


So tempted to do this at the next NASCAR race.
posted by SirOmega at 9:22 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Initially: DON'T TREAD ON ME
After washing: SWEATSHOP-FREE THANKS TO UNIONS


Setting up a paypal to fund a would be great, but it would undermine solidarity with WikiLeaks. Are there alternatives?
posted by Jon_Evil at 9:26 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


maybe German neo-nazis are meticulously clean
VE VILL PLACE ALL OFF ZEE MEMORABILIA IN STRAIGHT LINES!
posted by 1adam12 at 9:27 AM on August 10, 2011



The answer is probably yes.


I don't know, I thought all the weird scat porn stuff came from Germany.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 9:27 AM on August 10, 2011


Shit. Now that companies know about this that free t-shirt that I get at a concert is going to turn into a "Drink Pepsi" t-shirt after my next wash.
posted by gregoryg at 9:29 AM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94: Initially: DON'T TREAD ON ME
After washing: SWEATSHOP-FREE THANKS TO UNIONS


EmpressCallipygos: East Manitoba, I would totally fund such a thing.

Kickstarter, anyone? Or does Threadless do washable ink now?
posted by filthy light thief at 9:32 AM on August 10, 2011


"again"?

Don't remember when there was an *East* Germany, DU?
posted by bashos_frog at 9:33 AM on August 10, 2011 [13 favorites]


It's Germany. They have a 99 percent literacy rate. Unless the neonationalist movement is entirely made up of the one percent that cannot read, I'm gonna go ahead and guess the trick worked.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:33 AM on August 10, 2011


DU: "Never again communism…" / "again"? Good ol' right wingers.

Half of Germany was communist for 40 years.
posted by JiBB at 9:34 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


It'd be even better if the change was activated by actually wearing the shirt, due to sweat or body temperature or such.
posted by lisa g at 9:49 AM on August 10, 2011


It'd be even better if the change was activated by actually wearing the shirt, due to sweat or body temperature or such.
posted by lisa g at 9:49 AM on August 10 [+] [!]


You keep your Hypercolor nostalgia contained to the appropriate areas.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:50 AM on August 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


German is so GRAR
posted by goethean at 11:46 AM on August 10 [+] [!]


I normally think the eponhysterical thing is very silly, but this is so the opposite of eponhysterical I feel compelled to highlight it.
posted by winna at 9:54 AM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Don't remember when there was an *East* Germany, DU?

Oh THAT kind of communism.
posted by DU at 9:58 AM on August 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


This doesn't sound like it'd be terribly hard to do: Screened "ink" on t-shirts is called "plastisol", which is very tiny beads of polymer in a liquid binding agent (like extremely fine tapioca). The shirt isn't finished until it is "cured", where heat is applied to the design to melt the ink into the shirt itself. Ink that isn't properly or consistently cured will flake off in the wash. If you're wearing a printed t-shirt, you can test this by gently tugging on the design: it should strech and have very little (optimally no) breaks. if it splits like venetian blinds, you might try throwing it in the drier (if you don't have a flash dryer unit like myself :) )

Doing this on purpose to get it to wash off cleanly might take some special ink or practice, however, as doing it by accident tends to the end result to appear more like the end result of a scratch-off game, rather than completely disappearing.

Also, I want one of these shirts, any Deutschemetafilteren here that might be able to score me one?
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:20 AM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm all for sticking it to right-wing extremists, and transforming t-shirts are a brilliant psyops weapon against their propaganda.

On the other hand, the only real textual evidence in TFA for the concert's right-wing nationalism is the anti-communist slogan and the fact that there was an opposing leftist group planting the t-shirts. I'll admit I'm all that up on current German politics, but I thought everybody over there were pretty much on the same page about East German-style communism, namely that it was another regrettable part of 20th-century German history. Is being anti-communist really a right-wing nationalist position in Germany?
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:20 AM on August 10, 2011


Anti-communism is almost always a right-wing nationalist position, everywhere. By definition.
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:27 AM on August 10, 2011


On the other hand, the only real textual evidence in TFA for the concert's right-wing nationalism is the anti-communist slogan and the fact that there was an opposing leftist group planting the t-shirts.

It's not totally clear in the article (the words 'nationalist rock festival' do appear, though), but Rock for German/Rock für Deutschland is a right-wing extremist/neo-nazi gathering, trying to push the NPD through rock music. Or something. The anti-communist thing is really not the point.
posted by hoyland at 10:31 AM on August 10, 2011


It'd be even better if the change was activated by actually wearing the shirt, due to sweat or body temperature or such.
posted by lisa g at 9:49 AM on August 10 [+] [!]

You keep your Hypercolor nostalgia contained to the appropriate areas.


Actually the *most* awesome way would be to have it activated by pushing a button that turned on overhead sprinklers during the concert itself, while my masked face was projected on an overhead screen, laughing maniacally supervillain-style while the neo-Nazis were watching their t-shirts transform and screaming.

But the other ways are good too.
posted by emjaybee at 10:32 AM on August 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


A neo-Nazi wet t-shirt party? Bruce LaBruce called: he wants his movie idea back.
posted by griphus at 10:36 AM on August 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


Anti-communism is almost always a right-wing nationalist position, everywhere. By definition.

Not historically. American Democrats during Kennedy's era were pathologically anticommunist.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:41 AM on August 10, 2011


griphus: A neo-Nazi wet t-shirt party? Bruce LaBruce called: he wants his movie idea back.

No worries - he's already made it. And released the extended porn director's cut version.

When I first heard about this story, I thought that an effective message to show up would be "I'm your ancestors and I'm going to haunt your fucking clothes unless you stop repeating the same god damned mistakes this country made before." Sure, you'd have to be stupid to believe it, but considering the target, who knows?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:52 AM on August 10, 2011


Reichrolled
posted by Anything at 10:59 AM on August 10, 2011 [24 favorites]


How about giant yellow stars?

Maybe a zombie hitler?
posted by blue_beetle at 11:11 AM on August 10, 2011


The did the same thing on an episode of Cheers when after giving her too many gag gifts the guys got together and gave Carla a really pretty sweater but then it turned out that when she washed the sweater it was going to be emblazoned with the words "I AM AS HORNY AS A HOOT OWL."
posted by mudpuppie at 11:12 AM on August 10, 2011


The only Nazi I have ever personally known was a gutter punk (hardly ever washed) and plagiarized Kerouac as his standard mode of communication (he could read.).
posted by bukvich at 11:26 AM on August 10, 2011


I prefer the idea of having a swastika-heavy design transform into Hello Kitty's Rainbow Playground.
posted by spitbull at 11:32 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I want my t-shirt to protest the usage of the vexing nonword "'graf" plz.

You'll get a Steffi and a Zeppelin to counter-protest in Germany.
posted by norm at 12:00 PM on August 10, 2011


If anyone knows how to order hidden-message t-shirts like this, please let me know.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:44 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


EMRJKC: it'll appear in this comment after one washing.
posted by dubold at 1:31 PM on August 10, 2011


This would be one Downfall Hitler Parody video worth seeing.
posted by chillmost at 2:41 PM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


If anyone knows how to order hidden-message t-shirts like this, please let me know.

Yeah, seems like it would be an awesome alternative to yet another band logo/random band image/band name shirt. Especially if, say, your warddrobe is nothing but band merch.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:20 AM on August 11, 2011


Maybe a zombie hitler?

As far as anti-nazi imagery goes, I've always found this one rather forceful. But I suppose that's not quite the sort of 'exit' this organization has in mind.
posted by Anything at 12:54 PM on August 11, 2011


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