Full Metal Sweatshirt! Urban Outfitters, Kent State, and the Viet Nam War

For the past 35-40 years, we’ve been inundated with pop-culture depicting Viet Nam Veterans as ‘crazy’, ‘loose cannons’. drunkards, dope fiends, racists, nut-jobs, and all different kinds of fucked-up.  In the movies, on television, in music.  Those crazy, half-cocked Viet Nam vets. They’re either two seconds from blowing someone up, or they’re homeless bums talking to garbage cans and raping women.  And now one sweatshirt comes out that offends the sensibilities of those same people who, for the past 40 years, have propagated the stereotype and fallacy that all, or at least most, Viet Nam Vets were and are crazy, and they are all up in arms.  Sucks when the shoe’s on the other foot, doesn’t it?  It is hurtful when callousness refuses to see truth for truth and human beings for human beings and tragedy for tragedy.  Sucks when it’s your friends, your family, and your brothers in ideals who’re made a mockery of, whose sacrifice is ridiculed for profit.  I know I’m preaching to deaf ears.  I know they will still go on thinking the hippies were the heroes and the veterans the villains.  I know that the Urban Outfitter sweatshirts will be vilified and removed from the shelves and I know we’ll see another ‘crazy Viet Nam fucked up Veteran’ movie come out of Hollywood again.  But I have to call bullshit when I see it.  There is little that offends me more than hypocrisy.  When you look at that Kent State sweatshirt and see the coldness and trivialization of something you hold dear and tragic, think of the harm movies like Full Metal Jacket have caused and ask yourself how different is this sweatshirt from that?

One thought on “Full Metal Sweatshirt! Urban Outfitters, Kent State, and the Viet Nam War

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Every time I see a Viet Nam Vet (hat or vest) I ask if I can shake his hand. I thank him. They deserved to be seen as heroes…Agent Orange, not allowed to win the war. The government never took care of them when they returned. Sucks big time. I love, respect and salute them. They went through hell and came home to more of it, just in a different way. That was my war and I marched to bring them home. We almost lost an entire generation, not only from the war but because of the idiot government. They are a cruel, manipulative, hateful bunch, the government, and our guys paid for that.


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