Big Dogs, welcome to the resistance
The legacy novelty t-shirt company is tired of freakin’ alternative facts!!!
I was perusing the sale section of the canonical clothing brand Big Dogs the other night (as one does) and discovered a genre of Big Dogs t-shirt I never knew existed: the anti-Trump Big Dogs t-shirt. Big Dogs, which has made t-shirts featuring big dogs on them since 1983, are purveyors of what could be called proto-meta-irony-memes: The vast majority of their t-shirts contain half-assed references to sort of relevant stuff that all feature a pretty lame joke about a big dog, each rendered in a way that makes it completely unclear whether or not the people behind them aren’t trying at all or are really, really, really, conceptual-artist-level-really trying.
Given that Big Dogs has presumably been making money for over three decades, my best guess is that they figure if they make a zillion t-shirts with very specific big-dog-oriented references on them, they’ll all reach a small, targeted audience, even if the shirts themselves are vexing and unfunny.
While it’s well established that Big Dogs loves making t-shirts with slogans elucidating such issues such as where you should stay if you can’t run with the Big Dogs (the pits, the dock, off the field) and who is the boss (usually the Big Dog himself, except when it’s the Big Dog’s wife), Trump is truly new territory for them. Certainly, Big Dogs has gotten political in the past, they’ve usually done so in a way that could be embraced by partisans of all stripes: Think of this shirt, which lists the three potential political affiliations as “Democrat,” “Republican,” and “PISSED OFF” (complete with a picture of a cool looking pissed off Big Dog), or the fact that they offer a pair of shirts that each say “CAN’T FIX STUPID” with one design featuring the Democratic donkey scowling at the White House and another where the Republican Elephant dry-humps the Capitol Building.
However, now that Donald Trump is in office, and he is a thing people like to talk about, the honorable people of Big Dogs are taking full advantage and putting out a shit-ton of arch — well, arch for them, at least — Trump-related t-shirts.
In an interview with The Outline last year, Big Dog Brand Director Steve Dawson claimed that the “Paws” t-shirt, “Was nothing pro or negative [in regards to Trump] It was just, ‘Oh my gosh. That's crazy. Let's use that.’”
However, through 35 years of Big Dogs canon, it’s well established that the Big Dog hates everything, does not like to be told what to do, and does not suffer fools lightly, so I believe that it is only natural that the Big Dog secretly thinks that Donald Trump is a buffoon. The Big Dog has a mind of his own. Steve Dawson cannot control him, for a big dog, let alone the Big Dog, cannot be controlled.
Because Donald Trump has a bunch of catch phrases associated with him, Big Dogs must parody these catch phrases, for this is the way of the Big Dog.
And then, there’s this:
I honestly don’t know if the Big Dog is being pro- or anti-Trump here. One one hand, it says, “Trump for President.” On the other, it also says “WE SHALL OVERCOMB,” which seems to be making fun of Trump. The only thing I am certain of is that the Big Dog knows no master but the illogical whims of capitalism, so he may very well be trying to have it both ways in one freakin’ t-shirt. There is no telling with the Big Dog. He is a cypher, an unknowable mystery full of attitude and quips. The only thing that is certain is that the Big Dog definitely put less thought into this t-shirt than I did.