October 17, 2012

McNairy apologizes for "Manifest Destiny" t-shirt

Gap Pulls "Manifest Destiny" T-Shirt, Gets History Lesson from Outraged Consumers

By Lylah M. AlphonseAdding fuel to the fire, the shirt's designer, Mark McNairy, tweeted "MANIFEST DESTINY. SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST" last Friday in response to customer complaints. He quickly deleted his tweet, but not before a screengrab of it was widely circulated, and then he followed up—three days later—with an all-caps semi-apology.

"Unfortunately, the meaning of my 'Manifest Destiny' T shirt has been misconstrued and the sentiment behind it grossly misunderstood," McNairy posted on Twitter on Tuesday, blatantly disregarding his "survival of the fittest" quip. "I first learned of Manifest Destiny in American History in Junior High School. To me it has always meant that one could set goals, work hard, and achieve their dreams. Having the opportunity to design for the Gap was the realization of one of my dreams. This phrase and they way I used it was in no way meant to be offensive or hurtful, and I apologize to those who might have interpreted it in that manner."

Dear Mark McNairy: The term "Manifest Destiny" does not mean what you think it means. (Also? Your junior high school history teacher is weeping right now.)

While it might be nice to think that it's some sort of inspirational mantra, maybe based on The Law of Attraction—Create your own life path! Manifest your destiny!—as McNairy and the PR department of Gap, Inc., have learned, "Manifest Destiny" actually refers to the mid-19th century mindset that white Americans had a divine obligation to claim as much of the continent as possible for themselves, slaughtering and oppressing native people in the process.
So McNairy "apologized" to those who, unlike him, didn't sleep through school and actually know what the words mean. Thanks for nothing, pal.

Some tweets responded to McNairy's semi-apology:@mmcnairy Considering that you are the one who misconstrued the meaning of the phrase, this is a pretty half-assed apology.

Hey @mmcnairy, since you didn't bother to Google "Manifest Destiny" I did it for you. Read before you speak again. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifest_destiny #Gap

Is it just me, or did @mmcnairy just pull a "I'm sorry you're angry"? NOT an apology man...#Gap
My snarky addition to the pile-on was this:Breaking Gap news: McNairy's junior high school just checked his record. Turns out he flunked 7th-grade history and will have to repeat it.

Among other problems, he thought the Civil War was fought over stripes vs. solids, and the First Amendment says, "Do whatever feels good."
For more on the subject, see Gap Removes "Manifest Destiny" T-Shirt and McNairy "Hurt" by T-Shirt Criticism.

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