Shirt at conservative website suspiciously similar to indie artist's design, but with a D on it

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/08/17/daily-wire-caught-ripping-off.html

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I’d say 90% of my design clients send me websites, CD covers, or shirts they like and say “I want this, exactly. But change it a little tiny bit so it’s not super obvious we copied.”

Designers with ethics try to figure out how to make their clients happy by giving them something original but inspired by what they like. Ben Shapiro’s designers are clearly as unethical as he is.

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Plagiarism aside its a horrible graphic. You would literally have to explain it to everyone because nobody is going to think a ‘D’ with a circle around it is supposed to mean Democrats. I saw it at a glance and thought it was D for Donald. Should’ve been a donkey at least.

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i would assume it was some sort of typography thing like the @ symbol. yeah, it doesnt read at all.

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The thing that got me laughing was noticing the D sits flat on the ridges on the dumpster lid. They so closely copied the original that the resulting contradiction between flat and dimensional elements is hard to parse.

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0 =/= null
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That really bugs me when i know the artist who made the sample is a hard working freelancer who would probably like to get paid for their work if you’d just ask them. (in this case, of course, I’m pretty certain that artist would decline. ha)

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Aw, c’mon. They are NOTHING like each other.

The new one is slightly wider, lacks a lid on the burning side, and has little wheels.

They do not resemble each other at all.

( /s )

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Ben Shapiro is always losing his shirt.

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Really feel like you missed an opportunity here, @beschizza

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Or D for Dumpster fire.

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I think it would be hard to even pass this off as satire, or being truly transformative, in a legal sense.

Though I kinda like Shepard Fairey’s Obama “Hope” image, I feel it’s a similar case, and the AP should have sued his pants off, no matter what Fairey’s intent.

I totally look at this through the conservative, capitalist, exploitative lens. If you can’t come up with material without rooting through someone else’s work, especially being not transformative, maybe you should rethink being an artist or graphic designer.

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ETA: Here’s a free idea…Shapiro with a D (ick) on his forehead.

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Also because, and this is an objective fact, conservatives are not funny.

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Lightly change the D to a DT in a gold circle and see if he objects.

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Or tweak the color balance to make the dumpster blue. That would take like 2 seconds in Photoshop. Heck, I could do it on my smartphone.

I guess this is what you get when conservatives spend a couple generations alienating anyone who has a visual arts background.

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I’m not going to comment on the appropriateness of what was done here.

However, I’d like to point out an important aspect of political symbolism for anyone who cares: if your speech, cartoon, song, or other expression can be branded for multiple sides (or any side) of an issue, it’s not really political, regardless of what you might think.

I’ve seen numerous examples over the years. The most recent one was when I saw that someone on YouTube had rebranded the song “Do You Hear The People Sing” from Les Mis as a Trump anthem. When I first heard that piece years ago, I thought it was about people fighting back against oppression. The possibility that it could be adopted to serve a figurehead of oppression like Trump never occurred to me.

Then of course there’s Pepe the Frog, who was just a happy-go-lucky cartoon character until he was abducted by the Racist Right. Comics are particularly ripe for this kind of appropriation. If you can change the meaning of a political cartoon simply by changing the labels, you may not have thought through your inspiration sufficiently.

Strangely enough, I think I first noticed this kind of thing years in the Marvel Comics crossover event “Civil War” (that inspired the film), where Captain America makes a rousing speech that supposedly defended his hard-headed point of view:

“Doesn’t matter what the press says. Doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right.

This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world – "No, YOU move.”

That sounded good to me for about half a second, until I realized that it could be used to justify almost any possible viewpoint, up to and including the most insidious forms of racism. I could easily imagine this speech coming out of the mouth of any Trump-supporting White Supremacist.

If your symbolism can be adopted by the other side, it may not actually be yours to start with.

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Nobody ever claimed the “dumpster fire” metaphor is the exclusive intellectual property of the Left or that said symbolism could never be adopted to attack Democrats.

This is about a specific conservative group being so devoid of both ideas and talent that their idea of a witty political statement is to just lift someone else’s art without permission and sloppily slap a “D” on it.

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What is the Trumpster fire doing with a “D” on it?

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Only one change?!

  1. Note the left door exists in the original, not in the “clone”.

  2. The right side of the original has two lines of different lengths. The “clone” has two lines of the same length and a third that is much longer.

  3. The wheels are very different.

Beyond what is inherent to attempting to illustrate “dumpster fire” the only part that seems to me a match is the face on the dumpster.