Saturday, December 31, 2005

And now, from the "Do these anti-Christian, hellfire and damnation jeans make my butt look big?" files and Yahoo! News...

Sudiegirl sez: admit I've seen some funky fashion trends in my thirty-six (almost thirty-seven) years on earth. I've seen bell-bottoms, spandex, jelly shoes, parachute pants, neon colors, preppy stuff and prairie skirts (and that's just a sample). But anti-Christian denims are a new one on me. However, I am thinking they don't make them in plus-size, and you can't tell me there aren't plus-sized people in Scandinavia who want to make a statement about organized religion! So, as usual, I'm gonna make snotty comments, and that's just how it is, people. (Note to self...get Garth Brooks a pair of these?)

'Devilish' Jeans a Hot Seller in Sweden
By KARL RITTER, Associated Press Writer

Fri Dec 30, 1:35 PM ET

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - A punk-rock style, trendy tight fit and affordable price have made Cheap Monday jeans a hot commodity among young Swedes, but what has people talking is the brand's ungodly logo: a skull with a cross turned upside down on its forehead. (You know what? The logo is just plain ol' UGLY. Forget's just UGLY and makes no sense. If you want something representing "Cheap Monday", find an image of some famous, miserly person and put it on the label instead. Also, if you're wearing the jeans and someone gets close enough to you to actually see the upside-down cross on the skull's forehead, that's a violation of personal space. I know if that someone got close enough to me to look at the logo, this physically un-fit chick would be executing a roundhouse kick worthy of Chuck Norris.)

The jeans' makers say it's more of a joke, but the logo's designer said there's a deeper message. (Well, isn't there always...? This is the land of Ingmar Bergman, after all.)

"It is an active statement against Christianity," Bjorn Atldax told The Associated Press. "I'm not a Satanist myself, but I have a great dislike for organized religion." (Apparently, he hasn't gotten the word yet that Judaism, Muslim, Buddhism, Shinto and Hinduism are also organized. News must be a little slower over there...BTW, guys, we've also had a few people on the moon. Might wanna write that down.)

Atldax insists he has a purpose beyond selling denim: to make young people question Christianity, which he called a "force of evil" that had sparked wars throughout history.
Such a remark might incite outrage or prompt retailers to drop the brand in more religious countries. (Not to mention that just as many teenagers might not buy this brand because they don't fit right or the logo is ugly, or that many teenagers do their homework and are smarter than people give them credit for and LISTEN in history class. Religion has sparked wars, but so has demagogic behavior. There's nothing wrong with questioning...but he wants blind devotion for the sake of commercial success. Take a number, Mr. Atldax...Nintendo is way ahead of you.)

But not in Sweden, a secular nation which cherishes its free speech and where churchgoing has been declining for decades. (So what's the problem, then?)

Cheap Mondays are flying off the shelves at about $50 a pair. The jeans have also been shipped throughout Europe and to Australia, and there are plans to introduce them to the United States and elsewhere. (Now you MIGHT have a problem there, but that's life, I guess. You never know what people with disposable income will do or say.)

The jeans' makers say about 200,000 pairs have been sold since March 2004 — and note they've received few complaints about the grinning skull and upside down cross, a symbol often associated with satanic worship. (And the cross is MICROSCOPIC on the jean label. Besides, you can always cut the label OFF.)

Even the country's largest church, the Lutheran Church of Sweden, reacts with a shrug.
"I don't think it's much to be horrified about," said Bo Larsson, director of the church's
Department of Education, Research and Culture. (So apparently the only one concerned about his artistic statement is the artist himself? Fancy that...)

"It is abundantly clear that this designer wants to create public opinion against the Christian faith ... but I believe that the way to deal with this is to start a discussion about what religion means." (Wow...I agree with that. I think it's a good starting point about religion and what it means to each individual. Some people's faith is stronger than a jean label.)

Other Christians, however, are calling for a tougher stance against the jeans.

"One cannot just keep quiet about this," said the Rev. Karl-Erik Nylund, vicar of St. Mary Magdalene Church in Stockholm. "This is a deliberate provocation (against Christians) and I object to that." (Well, I can see that, but if your faith is stronger than a jean label, it doesn't matter much. As I say, nobody can take away what you truly believe in your heart and soul except you.)

Nylund complained that Swedish companies don't treat Christianity with the same respect that they afford other religions. (Well, at least it's consistent.)

"No one wants to provoke Jews or Muslims, but it's totally OK to provoke Christians," he said.
Some buyers have ripped off the logo from the back of the pants, or even returned the jeans once they realized what the symbol means. But such cases are very few, according to the brand's creator, Orjan Andersson, who said he doesn't take the logo too seriously. (And if they're aiming for the punk-rock market, which I'm surprised is still around, then why on earth is there controversy?)

"I'm not interested in religion," he said. "I'm more interested in that the logo looks good."
Henrik Petersson, 26, said he picked up his first pair of Cheap Mondays a few months after they were launched because he liked their punk-rocker style and the logo caught his eye.
"I think it's a cool thing. It stands out from the rest," he said. "I haven't really reflected over whether there is an underlying message." (And you know what? Most consumers that will consider the jeans attractive won't either.)

Martin Sundberg, a 32-year-old co-owner of a clothing store in Stockholm's trendy SoFo district, said people shouldn't get upset over the jeans. (I guess...)

"It's just supposed to be a bit of fun, some kind of anti-culture," he said. (As opposed to uncle-culture?)

The jeans are selling in Norway, Denmark, Britain, the Netherlands and France. Andersson, the brand's owner, hopes to tap the lucrative U.S. market soon — and said he isn't worried the logo will hurt sales. (Probably not...I mean, how many years has the rumor gone around about Liz Claiborne's logo symbolizing lesbian ethics and supporting Satanic worship? Just as long as the jeans don't make my ass look fat...)

"Surely, most people understand that we are not evil people," he said. "My mom doesn't think so, at least." (And who's a better judge?)

Sudiegirl's final word?

I'll stick to the jeans I have, thank you...