Fight Club is a wild and intense movie (mandatory content disclaimer, etc.), but there’s this one scene I love. Edward Norton’s character makes a joke about how everything on an airplane is “single-serving.” In response, Brad Pitt’s character asks, “How’s that working out for you?”
“What?” Norton replies.
“Being clever,” Pitt says.
“Great,” Norton says, caught a little off-guard.
“Keep it up then,” Pitt says.
This scene came to mind when Carlos Whittaker posted some new Christian ripoff t-shirts on his blog. The scene came to mind because in Culture Making (one of my all-time favorite books), Andy Crouch says, “We make sense of the world by making something of the world.” As such, we can consider a cultural artifact (a t-shirt, for example) and attempt to identify what it makes of the world.
You may not want to look at any more Christian t-shirt ripoffs, but take a good, hard look at them. What do they make of the world? For starters, the medium itself—a t-shirt—demands that any complex messages be drastically reduced and any nuance be abandoned in favor of what we might call an “extremely loud and incredibly close” approach. And then there’s the content of shirts …
Look, I don’t want to hold a t-shirt to too high a standard, but the fact is these kinds of shirts express a certain view of the world. In my opinion, they operate on a specific currency, but it’s not depth, care, action, authenticity, or compassion. What is it then?
In the words of Tyler Durden, how’s that working out for you?
Scott McClellan is the Editor of Echo Hub and the Director of Echo Conference. You can follow him on Twitter: @scottmcclellan.