Kosuke Fukudome has proven to be a great investment for the Cubs, both in terms of on-field performance and the level of excitement he generates amongst the fans. I was a little worried about signing an outfielder coming off of elbow surgery from a different league, but I was wrong. I am, you recall, an idiot.
One thing's for sure - Fukudome's been selling a shitload of both official and unofficial merchandise. The mix of drunken college kids (an undeniably large part of the Wrigleyville contingent) and a different culture didn't take long to go awry. And thus we have:
You've probably heard about this by now. It's an unofficial shirt that many vendors were selling outside of Wrigley. It's proven as popular with the backward hat crowd as it has offensive with pretty much any person of Asian descent who happens to walk buy. In defending it in the Sun-Times, the shirt's creator pointed to it being designed by "an oriental guy." Oh dear.
The Cubs just banned sale of the shirt from the stands outside of Wrigley following the attention the Sun-Times story received.
I find this situation offensive, mostly because the majority of peoples defending the shirt are not Asian. It's fairly basic reasoning that if you're not Asian, you can't decide what's offensive to Asian people. Case in point, from the Sun-Times.
[shirt creator Mark]Kolbusz said he's ''indifferent'' to the image on the shirt.
''I'm making money,'' he said. ''It doesn't offend me. If other people are offended by it, it's just a silly T-shirt. Nobody is trying to offend anybody.''
Which is probably true -- and, if so, sadly ignorant.
Kolbusz went as far as pointing out that the shirt's creator is ''an Oriental guy'' and also pointed out an Asian woman he sold a shirt to.
But the customer in question, Laureen Hom, had no intention of wearing the shirt, she said.''I bought it for my mom, who has a collection of racist images of Asian Americans,'' she said.
Maybe I wouldn't find the situation offensive, but for the "fuck you, I'm raking it in" sentiment that the guy made known. Yeah, I bet he's indifferent all the way to the bank.
I like the intention of many Fukudome fans in Wrigleyville. Their backward headbands and poorly translated signs pretty much always stem from the earnest desire to support the Cubs' newest star. Kosuke said he gets a kick out of the fact that people wear hachimaki headbands upside down and that their Japanese "It's going to happen" signs come out saying stuff like "purple monkey dishwasher" instead. Fukudome, however, said himself that this shirt was over the line, and that while he didn't know the creator's intention, he didn't like anyone selling it. I think that would be the final say right there. If your "tribute" shirt pisses off your subject, it's a crappy-ass tribute. For some Bud Light swilling Iowa alum to roll out of the tanning bed, point a finger in his face and say "hey, fuck off, it's just a shirt, and I say its okay" doesn't send a very positive message about our fair city and the mostly awesome fans of the greatest team in baseball.