Keep Calm and Prepare To Be Offended

keepcalmAs a play on the British home front propaganda slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On,” variations of the phrase have become a worldwide meme on everything from t-shirts to iPhone covers. While many companies have done their best to capitalize on the latest novelty, none have gone quite as far as U.S.-based clothing seller Solid Gold Bomb (SGB), which was caught red-handed last week on Amazon UK selling a shirt which read “Keep Calm and Rape A Lot.”

Following numerous customer complaints, Amazon UK removed the shirt from their website but continued to sell other SGB variations, including “Keep Calm and Hit/Knife/Punch Her” and “Keep Calm and Grope A Lot.” Currently, the seller appears to be completely removed from Amazon and has issued an extensive apology letter on its website.
Despite what would seem to be a sincere acknowledgement of fault, SGB’s founder, Michael Fowler, had the audacity to blame this disaster on a “computer error.” He claims the issue was the result of a program designed to utilize a “Keep Calm and [Transient Verb] [Direct Object]” format that relies on a dictionary to spit out combinations, and that thousands of these variations accumulate on their large servers before being produced. However, Fowler fails to explain how so many blatantly offensive slogans were “accidentally” produced and featured on Amazon UK. It’s impossible to believe that there isn’t a single person in the entire company in charge of quality control.

The site has since shut down all of its social media as well as removed any contact information from the company’s website while it continues to hide behind its lame algorithmically generated excuse.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user forbairt via Creative Commons 2.0

Comments

  1. I agreed with everything said in this article until the fourth-to-last word. Can we please attack misogyny without using ableist language like “lame”?

  2. Thanks, Lor! I’m also trying to eliminate my own use of ableist language.

    Great article, Stacy! I was happily surprised by Amazon UK’s immediate removal of the shirts. Just a few years ago, K-Mart refused to remove a different misogynist shirt – it took a nationwide protest to get them taken down. I wrote a short piece on Masculinity U comparing the two events: http://www.masculinityu.com/

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