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Keep Calm & Rape: lo strano caso delle T-Shirt “prodotte da un generatore automatico”

Lo slogan Keep Calm and Carry On, si sa, è stato storpiato in mille modi, ad uso e consumo dei rivenditori di gadget o delle campagne politiche del momento. Nel 2012, per esempio, eBay contava ben 112 mila prodotti sulla variante di Keep Calm, mentre una rapida ricerca su Amazon produce circa 88 mila risultati.

Alcuni designer hanno prodotto idee brillanti, altri un po’ banalotte — ma fin qui tutto normale.

Meno “normale” invece l’idea di chi, sfruttando il tormentone Keep Calm, ha prodotto una serie di gadget e T-shirt che invita allo stupro e alla violenza sulle donne (vedere alla voce: rape culture)

Slogan come Keep Calm & Rape A Lot, oppure Keep Calm & Kinfe Her sono apparsi su magliette prodotte dalla compagnia Solid Bomb Gold, che a sua volta vende su Amazon.

Comprensibilmente, qualcuno si è offeso. Così Amazon ha prontamente rimosso Solid Bomb Gold.

Dal canto suo, la compagnia ha pubblicato sul suo sito una lettera di scuse. La loro tesi, giudicata da alcuni alquanto bizzarra, è che gli slogan pro-stupro sarebbero il frutto… di un errore del computer.L’idea, insomma, era quella di creare molte parodie di Keep Kalm, utilizzando un generatore automatico. E, dato l’altissimo numero di combinazioni tra parole, alla fine qualche “rape” ci è scappato.

Riportiamo alcuni passaggi del testo di scuse da parte di Michael Fowler, fondatore di Solid Gold Bomb: potete leggerlo tutto qui. (I grassetti sono nostri)

No words can express how I feel about what has occured and in no way do I condone or promote this serious issue. I will offer a more in depth explanation of cause to explain what and how this occured. Both myself and our company and it’s associated Solid Gold Bomb brand have never had any intention of the spread of violent slogans or even poor taste humour t-shirts. This was a computer error of my creation and I accept my responsibility in the matter.

In process, it was one year ago when this parody series was released in repsonse to the outcry on the “Keep Calm” trademark issue and the fact that it’s trademark was accepted in both the EU and USA. My response to this was to create a large scale release of parodies (something t-shirt companies often do) and relied on both computer based dictionaries and online educational resources ie. verb lists. I then generated word lists that were called using simple scripting methods to generate image based art of the modified slogans. These were subsequently scripted to position themselves on t-shirts and the associated product data was derived simply from the product name and the 16 word combinations like “On” and “Off” and “Him” or “Her” and so forth. Near all of these combinations either work or don’t work and are certainly non-offensive such as “Dream On” and “Dance Off” and so forth.

As the volume of combinations of words/slogans/styles/colours/sizes are well into the millions, a volume of computers were used to do this entirely in a cloud type environment. The ultimate filelist generated created the base data and the core of the problem was certainly the fact that certain words both individually and in combination were or became offensive. This was culled from 202k words to around 1100 and ultimately slightly more than 700 were used due to character length and the fact that I wanted to closely reflect the appearance of the original slogan graphically.

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