Peace aesthetic

So Carol and I just got back from a vacation in San Francisco, and on our last day there we happened across an outdoor marketplace down the the end of Market Street, right where lots of tourists would walk through. There were people sitting at tables selling the usual things you find at such marketplaces:– colorful scarves, bad watercolor paintings, funky jewelry, good acrylic paintings, carved wooden tchotchkes, and so on.

At one table sat a youngish woman with uncombed brown hair wearing a drab green hooded sweatshirt. She was selling t-shirts with peace signs on them. The t-shirts were exactly the colors you would expect, deep purple and various earth colors. It’s exactly the sort of thing a tourist might buy and wear back home while bragging “I got this cool t-shirt from this funky woman in San Francisco. Cool, huh?” It’s exactly the kind of shirt that screams Hippy-Peacenik-Wannabe.

I think it’s time the grand concept of peace got re-branded with a new aesthetic that better reflects its universality and its high aspirations. Or maybe it would be better if peace didn’t have a brand. Can’t we just dump the drab colors, the hemp t-shirts, and yes maybe even the venerable peace sign, altogether?

Pretty please?… I’ll be nice to you if you say “yes”…

Posted in a slightly different form on PaxPac.

6 thoughts on “Peace aesthetic

  1. sally

    I totally agree with you on this, and until I read your post I did not realize it. I will help spread this sentiment. BTW, Bethany and I started the Peace March to DC, last weekend in Northampton. My young adult social activist, that was what she thought we should do, on my visit to see her.


  2. Jean

    Everyone who believes in peace and works for it should wear really bright shoes. I have a pair of lime green suede cowboy boots. Those are peace boots. There’s also a pair of stop-sign red high heels. Peace pumps. And some blue faux leopard skin ballet shoes. Peace flats. Oh, and then there’s the acrylic high heeled sandals that light up whenever I take a step. Peace peep toes!!

    Whee! A new peace aesthetic on the rise. Out with the frumpy hemp! In with groovy and chic! Oh, and just for the record: each of these pairs of shoes was purchased on clearance. Of course it was. Peace shoes at a bargain price. There’s no other way.

  3. Dan

    sally @ 1 — What a great way to spend time with one’s child…

    Jean @ 2 — Yeah, I could go for more bright colors.

    carol @ 3 — No, they weren’t that bad. But then, you are a self-professed wearer of “hippy skirts”….

  4. Vance

    Like it or not, the “peace brand” is instantly recognizable around the world. You can’t just junk it (the brand, or the peace sign) without a more compelling replacement. Time to put on the thinking hat.

  5. Sue

    I totally agree with Jean’s notion of dressing up the whole PEACE-pop-cultural notion. More bright, clear colors and peep-toed shoes are my idea of peace and love.

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