3/8/09

Two Shirts, Same Subject




'Dead Rabbits' t-shirt by Rugby. The Dead Rabbits were a gang in New York in the 1850's. According to Wikipedia, The name has a second meaning rooted in Irish American vernacular of NYC in 1857. The word 'Rabbit' is the phonetic corruption of the Irish word ráibéad, meaning 'man to be feared'. 'Dead' is a slang intensifier meaning 'very.' Thus, a "Dead Ráibéad" means a man to be greatly feared. I just revisited Scorcese's Gangs of New York, in which Liam Neeson plays the leader of the Dead Rabbits. I admire Scorcese's attempt to imagine the city during the time when it "was not yet a city, but a furnace where a city might be forged." However, the resulting film is so stagy and overindulgent. The set and costume design look like a Broadway musical version of the filthy, crime-infested hellhole that the Five Points area was. The casting blows, too. Cameron Diaz, for example, belongs in Ashton Kutcher movies, not Scorcese movies. But I digress.



The 'Dead Rabbit' shirt by Peter Conway is available from I Dress Myself ("the eco-friendly screenprinters"). I don't know if Conway's shirt was inspired by the Dead Rabbits gang, but the concept of his design is clever nonetheless. According to the BBC, Conway's I Dress Myself company "are still getting plenty of orders" despite the crap economy due to the unique nature of his business, which prints "onto ethically-sourced T-shirts and are one of the only UK commercial printers to use water-based inks."

1 comment:

Scott said...

That is pretty cool about the real meaning of Rabbit "raebid" in Irish Gael. I wonder if there is a connection with the word "rabid" as well.

English is a great language for many reasons. I love that it mutates constantly and approrpriates words from other languages. Great post!