Monday, October 06, 2003

No Palm Trees, No Surfboards and About a Mile From the Ocean

The truth. Someone had to tell it.
The Artful Dodger: Hollister Co. Shirts Endorse Earthquakes, Mediocrity

After the towers at the World Trade Center fell, people everywhere started wearing those "I Heart NY" shirts. Even if they didn't live in the Big Apple, the shirts helped them feel like they were supporting a worthy cause. I understand this.

But why the fuck do people wear T-shirts with my hometown's name?

I am from Hollister, Calif. Hollister, the seat of San Benito County, is a small community that sprung up around the area's once-booming agricultural business. Its neighbors include Gilroy, the garlic capital of the world, and Salinas, the "Salad Bowl of the World." Hollister once tried to tout itself as the earthquake capital of the world to boost tourism interest, but this poorly thought-out moniker just frightened people away. Now, mostly, Hollister serves as a bedroom area for Silicon Valley commuters.

We have lots of apricots, a Target, this one Marlon Brando movie about us, a high teenage pregnancy rate and that's about it.

So why the fuck, I repeat, would anyone wear Hollister brand T-shirts?

I see people strutting around campus everyday with shirts, hats, and visors bearing the name "Hollister." The most egregious offenders are the ones referring to the Hollister Surf Company. Believe me, the city lies a full hour's drive from the beach. There's isn't a goddamn surf company.

Since the Hollister brand - a subdivision of the equally irksome Abercrombie & Fitch line - has grown in popularity during my time at college, even the responses to my explanation of where I'm from have changed accordingly.

Before, people would wrinkle their noses and say, "Oh, yeah. I think I've driven by the exit on the 101," or "Hey! That's close to Gilroy! Can you smell the garlic from there?" Now, I get, "Oh! Like the clothes company!" Yes, you douche bag, exactly like the clothes company. In fact, I make all the clothes myself.

Truthfully, when Abercrombie & Fitch named the Hollister line, they might not have completely missed the mark. While my Hollister couldn't have less to do with surfing or fashion, a man named Colonel W.W. Hollister drove a flock of sheep across the North American continent in the late 1800s, naming things after himself left and right. Incredibly, a string of even lesser Podunks named Hollister dot the nation; less incredibly, Santa Barbara County's own Hollister Avenue got its name from the same self-important trailblazer.

Thus, wearing the Hollister name on your clothes endorses both a dead, eponym-crazy shepherd and a truly mediocre town. Take my word for it: You can be a shameless, walking billboard for a much more reputable clothing company than the Hollister Company.

Daily Nexus assistant opinion editor Drew is sponsoring a bonfire for unwanted Hollister apparel.

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