The year is 2016 and the only men who matter have merchandise. You know this. I know this. You ain't shit until I can buy a cap with your name or brand printed on it in special washproof ink. You are nothing but the turd on my shoe until you have a logo designed by an advertising agency that can be silkscreened onto a tee.
And from that sea of apparel, two giants arise: Donald 'Donny' Trump, and Kanye 'Big Kan' West. Both men have incredible, so-beautiful-they-are-almost-aliens wives, erratic Twitter presences, and (and I am talking exclusively about that time Kanye had hair chevrons, every other second of his life he has had immaculate, perfect hair, and I cannot believe I've only just realised that) (holy shit, Kanye West is a hair icon) extremely fucked up hair. They also know that the only way to make money in two kay sixteen tunna is to print your name on a shirt and sell it for profit. They see what we do not see. This is why they are rich and we are nothing but spores above the dirt.
And so we find ourselves with two huge, bustling forces of merchandising megapower, both at opposite ends of the political spectrum (I think?): on one hand, Trump, a presidential candidate who I'm still not sure isn't just doing it as a joke, and then on the other, West, who said he was going to… okay, the more I think about it, the more Kanye West and Donald Trump are actually the same person and it is freaking me out a touch. I am Neo with no eyebrows in a bath of essence and ooze. I am through the Matrix and I am gasping for air. I have never seen Donald Trump and Kanye West in the same room together at the same time. This is extremely fucked up. This is extremely fucked up. Anyway, let's compare their merch:
TRUMP: 'Make America Great Again', $25, donaldjtrump.com (link)
WEST: 'FEEL LIKE PABLO', $90 on eBay (and that's a good day) or I suppose you could have gone to one very specific tour date and got in there, like maybe, if it didn't sell out beforehand (link)
Wow! A real turn up for the books, here. But sadly Trump's 'Make America Great Again' is actually so anti-fashion that it is fashion, so dad it is couture, so utterly 2016 that is has become instantly iconic, this is the cap not only for this summer but summer 2036, when what's left of us – our limbs torn from our bodies by nuclear winter, the savages that will pick the earth clean of resources in the fallout from the war sparing just a few of us, and those few will huddle together, and in that group hipsters will emerge – and what's left of us then will wear 'MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN' caps in the same way we all ironically pretend that the '90s were good now. Saved By the Bell fucking sucked! We all know this! Try and watch an episode now! It sucks! Stop pretending!
TRUMP: Veterans For Trump s/s white, $25, donaldjtrump.com
WEST: Yeezy Season 3 'I FEEL LIKE PABLO' Madison Square Garden exclusive tee, $149.99 eBay, estimated value $300 (link)
When I was a kid I, like everyone, collected Pokémon cards with a feverish passion. I mean I am talking 'I bought a special Pokémon-branded binder to store all my cards in' kind of passion. Like: too much, too into it. I got a Saturday job on a market stall that sold shapeless men's coat to boost my bank balance enough to buy 3 x packs in the hopes of bagging a shiny. I mean I would spend my evenings arranging and unarranging my Pokémon cards. Like I was one nerd level away from tenderly kissing them goodnight when I went to sleep. It was fucked up.
It's weird because, as with most things, these things change. Pokémon came and, eventually, went. The obsession faded. I remember at the end of a long summer, when I was showing my dad my neatly arranged Pokémon cards (still no fucking Charizard), and he looked through them, barely disguised boredom, then looked at me – and I will always remember these words, these precious words from my dear departed father, honestly one of the most searing memories I have of the man, we didn't spend much time together and he died when I was 15, I've spent almost half my life without him, the memories fade through white to grey to nothing, I haven't mentally got much of him left, but this – and I remember he put one big hand on my Pokémon binder and said: "Sell them all now, you mad fucker! They're worthless!"
Dad, I miss you every day.
Dad was right about Pokémon cards, because I've just checked on eBay and they are worthless. I'm talking: they are worthless. There is a Blastoise shiny – one of the jewels of my Pokémon card collection crown – on there for £7.50. My Alakazam is possibly worth £4. The hundreds and hundreds of Energy cards I have? Literally worthless. And I think fondly back to that day – when Dad threatened to stub a cigarette out on Venusaur just to teach me a lesson about invest-demand schedules – and I think: he was right. Learn from this lesson.
What I am saying is buying an unworn Yeezy T-shirt for $149.99 because it's technically worth $300 is a false economy and also Trump's T-shirt is a more practical wear because it's easier to pair white with things than it is burgundy. Trump, once again, is victorious. I, once again, am still mad I don't have Charizard.
Technically, yes: West's coach jacket ('I FEEL LIKE PABLO' in gothic font on the front, 'I FEEL LIKE PABLO' in gothic font on the back) comes from a place of high fashion, the kind of coat that has fuccbois on segways with DSLR cameras queuing in the streets of Paris just for a sniff of, the fuccbois jostling, the fuccbois with special additional batterypacks for their phones so they can keep scrolling through Instagram, they need Instagram, the fuccbois, they need to know the latest drop, all they are capable of saying is the word "drop", the fuccbois, they keep tying and re-tying the same $400 oversized lumberjack shirt around their waist and tucking it under a three grand leather jacket, they must cop, they must cop this drop, but then also the coach jacket does look like you're an official sports photographer at a small and ill-attended baseball game, and it is drizzly, and you had to ask three people for press accreditation, and in the end the floodlights fail and the game is abandoned, while Trump's ¼ fleece says, 'I know what normcore is, you forgot about normcore but I remembered, I am resurging normcore from the very core, I am rebuilding normality from the inside-out, unzip this fleece, unzip this fleece one quarter of the way when you are a little too hot but not so hot you want to take off this jumper, Trump, Trump Trump Trump, Trump for a better America, emblazon my name on your chest, sing it to the old gods and the new, chant my name as you sacrifice your lambs to my power, amen'. So again Trump walks this round.
TRUMP: Trump Presidential mug, 15oz, $20, donaldjtrump.com (link)
WEST: N/A. REPEAT: NOT AVAILABLE. YOU CANNOT CURRENTLY BUY AN OFFICIALLY LICENSED MUG WITH KANYE WEST'S FACE OR PHRASES ON IT. WHEN 'I FEEL LIKE COFFEE' WAS SUCH A GIMME, AS WELL. KANYE WEST HAS DISAPPOINTED US ALL.
WINNER: Trump! TKO
I think we have all learned a lesson here, and that is this: Trump is more fashion than Kanye; Trump isn't running for President, this is all a Delboy-level grift to sell merchandise for profit before conceding to Hillary, who he probably also has licensing to the merchandise for. We're being played, sheeple. We're being played one cap at a time.
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