I mentioned the other day that I received the Hammacher Schlemmer gift catalog of unbelievably overpriced toys for the man who has far more disposable income than is good for anybody to possess. Well, I also get a catalog from the other end of the spectrum--Johnson Smith's Things You Never Knew Existed.
These are the sort of low-brow, tasteless prank gadgets that one used to find advertised in the backs of comic books, with the addition of commemorative patriotic gear, books on alien abductions, radio-controlled robots, and T-shirts with lewd or witty sayings on them. Some of the T-shirts are pretty funny, like "Instead of a sign that says 'Do Not Disturb,' I need one that says 'Already Disturbed, Proceed With Caution'" or "Think You're Going Crazy? Great! Look Me Up When You Get There!" Then there's "Lead Me Not Into Temptation...aw, hell, follow me, I know a shortcut" and one for my wife's best friend, "Ask me about my attention deficit disorder, or pie, or my cat, a dog, I have a bike, do you like TV? I saw a rock. Hi."
There's stuff for bikers, stuff for people who like coins (I can't say "coin collectors" because much of it is altered into jewelry. And did anyone actually *think* about it before they reworked a Jefferson $2 bill into a commemorative celebrating the birth of Prince George of Cambridge--I mean, pairing Thomas Jefferson, *drafter of the Declaration of Independence,* with the heir to the British Throne? Really? Is this meant to be funny, meta, or just plain stupidity?)
The thing that disturbs me (I told you I needed that T-shirt) is that much of the stuff in this catalog is targeted at Republicans. From the military-inspired clothing, toys, and gew-gaws, to the toilet paper printed with the likeness of Mr. Obama, there's a certain undeniable Conservative slant to the offerings herein. You could be fully equipped to be a Redneck with the NASCAR beer hat, the dirty joke book, and the Duck Dynasty calender--and for those with a slightly higher IQ, there's a Clue-like game based on The Big Bang Theory, and a book on how to build a working time machine.
The catalogs we get that have the nice artsy-fartsy items in them-- the stained glass fireplace screens and the personalized woven throws, the peacock jewelry and the high-brow BBC-made DVD collections-- are all aimed at the NPR/PBS LIBRL types, the cheese-nibbling, wine-sipping, cat-stroking, Asian-themed, holistic, organic, politically correct crowd that can afford to drop a few hundred bucks on a gift. These folks would never be caught dead in a "Stooge Trek" shirt, putting a statue of a praying soldier on their lawn, or hanging a yodelling pickle ornament on their "midwinter holiday" tree.
So, remind me, again...how is it that Republicans are perceived as wealthy snobs, and Democrats are supposed to be working-class guys?