Every joke is a tiny revolution.”
This quote from George Orwell, first mentioned in an essay he published in 1945, was directed at humorists who he felt were too discreet about their jokes. To him, humor “upsets the established order” without being too offensive. Anything that drags the mighty off their high horses is funny.
Then again, he’s a writer whose works like Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm scream making fun of authoritarians and strongmen. It’s an art form as old as politics or satire itself and will stay for as long as both exist.
Political satire is no longer limited to newspapers and books, as it has been for centuries. These days, people can show their aversion to the high and mighty by hanging banners outside their yards or wearing printed apparel in rallies. Here are a few funny political merchandise ideas in today’s political climate.
Hats were a common sight in American society before the mid or late 20th century, then fell out of fashion for some reason. Some attributed it to modern conveniences, such as cars and central heating; others blamed it on John F. Kennedy’s decision not to wear one at his inauguration. The latter has long been debunked; his successor, Lyndon Johnson, was the first to forego the hat.
Nevertheless, hats help keep the elements away from one’s head. If anything, politics have made the hat—namely, the baseball-style cap—relevant again. The most high-profile case is the Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat, which supposedly generated USD$80,000 daily for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential bid, according to his son-in-law Jared Kushner.
That’s millions for a slogan that’s more or less up for debate now that Trump’s administration is long past, though he’s making another bid for the White House in 2024. Naturally, his detractors made MAGA counters like the one below. Given such an effort, they really don’t want another six years under him.
Photo by: STD Stop The Donald | Funny Anti Trump Hat for the 2024 Presidential Election
Political T-shirts began appearing as early as the 1960s when the textile printing industry started marketing do-it-yourself printing kits. It was an era rife with ideological movements vying for dominance, including the peace-loving Hippies. The first of their kind was designed to break the era’s traditions by wearing one in public, regardless of gender.
Compared to hats, T-shirts are more visible because they’re worn over the torso. The first thing anyone will most likely see is the tee they’re wearing, much so that one can instantly be in legal hot water for a shirt with a “seriously offensive” message. When properly employed, political T-shirts can be an ideal alternative to voice amid too much noise.
Political tees can be as funny as they’re serious. During the Iowa Democratic caucuses in 2020, one such tee took a jab at the delays that plagued them by stating that it “was designed & printed faster” than the release of the caucuses’ results.
These shirts aren’t exactly fashionable, but that isn’t their purpose. Although, if your chic side demands to be stylish in rallies and other events, why not a hat that’s just as satirical as the tee? Pair that tee with something like this anti Trump hat for 2024 | funny anti MAGA hat.
3. Lawn Signs
Whether for POTUS or any elected position, campaign season is always lawn sign season. It’s a tradition that dates back farther than political hats or tees, first introduced by the ancient Romans and brought to the country through John Quincy Adams in the early 1800s. They’re as much of a staple in elections as political apparel.
Then again, who says you must show interest in politics to erect a lawn sign? At the height of last year’s campaign season, one man in Arizona had one made, showing him crossing his arms with the caption in verbatim. He wasn’t running for any state or federal position, nor was he interested in politics; he was poking fun at candidates who often crossed their arms in posters.
One downside is that you can only put them up for a limited time. In Delaware, residents can only have them up (as long as they’re outside designated Clear Zones) between 30 days before and 30 days after election day. Authorities can confiscate offending signs and fine the owner USD$25, plus USD$15 if they want the sign back.
On top of that, homeowners’ associations have the right to regulate, if not restrict, lawn signs in their jurisdictions. Because these associations are legally considered private entities, any such restriction doesn’t conflict with the First Amendment.
To round up this piece, here’s another quote from an equally important individual: “The medium is the message.”
That’s the gist of the medium’s role in communication, as explained by Marshall McLuhan. He believed that people’s choice of medium is more valuable than the message it carries. That’s how the world moved from opinions and caricatures in newspapers to political statements on hats and T-shirts. Moreover, as explained earlier, sometimes these things don’t need to be political at all.
Regardless, political satire will remain the primary mode of expression against the corrupt and arrogant in positions of power. Similarly, it’s also a good way of promoting the more deserving of such responsibilities.