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Old 04-19-2008, 12:44 PM   #1
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Default Would it bother you...

or would it just get a chuckle?

This vendor must not be a Cubs fan if he covets sales over a player's feelings.

I say boycott his stand into unemployment.


Cubs pull offensive Fukudome shirt

The Cubs halted the production and sale of a Kosuke Fukudome T-shirt hours after a report by a Chicago newspaper that the shirt contained an offensive image.

Deluged with e-mails from fans, Cubs officials discovered the unlicensed product contained a trademarked Cubs logo and confronted the vendor, who complied with the team's demand to pull the shirt, the Sun-Times reported...

The shirt used the traditional Cubs cartoon bear face but with slanted eyes and wearing oversized Harry Caray-style glasses. It was accompanied by the words "Horry Kow!" scrawled in cartoonish "Japanese" script.

"I don't know what the creator of the shirt meant this to be, but they should make it right," Fukudome said Thursday.

Mark Kolbusz, who runs the souvenir stand that sold the shirt, said it was his top-selling shirt.


Fukudome doesn't find racist T-shirts in Wrigleyville funny
Offensive image on hot-selling item doesn't reflect positively on city

Kosuke Fukudome didn't have to wait long for the ugly American part of his welcome to Wrigleyville.

A Fukudome T-shirt with a racist image is the hottest-selling item at a souvenir stand that sells unlicensed Cubs-related merchandise across Addison Street from the ballpark, according to Mark Kolbusz, who's in his fourth season operating the stand...

''That's the No. 1 seller this year, by far,'' said Kolbusz, who estimates one in 10 customers complain about being offended.

While Kolbusz was answering questions, two white guys stopped by the stand and pointed at the shirt, with one affecting a 1960s B-movie accent while reading aloud the words on the shirt.

His friend responded in a similar offensive accent, ''Oh, you tink dat funny?''

They walked away laughing.


Apparently, it's not only the Cubs' World Series form that's stuck in a 100-year time warp.

For all the innocently mistranslated signs, bows and zealous cheering from right-field bleacher regulars for the franchise's first Japanese major-leaguer, the mere creation of this shirt -- but especially its popularity -- sends a raw, vulgar message about Fukudome's new hometown.

''I don't know what the creator of the shirt meant this to be, but they should make it right,'' Fukudome said through his interpreter after being shown one of the shirts Thursday. ''Maybe the creator created it because he thought it was funny, or maybe he made it to condescend the race. I don't know.''...

Regardless, it's not funny. The image feeds not only ugly, arrogant and ignorant Japanese stereotypes, but also the stereotype of the obnoxious, profane, drunken, booing, garbage-throwing Cubs fan.

How much truth is there in either image? And how funny is either one?

Kolbusz said he's ''indifferent'' to the image on the shirt.

''I'm making money,'' he said. ''It doesn't offend me. If other people are offended by it, it's just a silly T-shirt. Nobody is trying to offend anybody.''

Which is probably true -- and, if so, sadly ignorant.

Kolbusz went as far as pointing out that the shirt's creator is ''an Oriental guy'' and also pointed out an Asian woman he sold a shirt to.

But the customer in question, Laureen Hom, had no intention of wearing the shirt, she said.

''I bought it for my mom, who has a collection of racist images of Asian Americans,'' she said. And, she added, the fact the creator is Asian ''is no excuse.''...

Fukudome did not seem shocked.

''I knew I was coming to a different country, so I expected something like this,'' he said. ''Maybe not necessarily racial, but that anybody could take any context of my words and degrade me if they wanted to. But if I make a big deal out of it, it's not going to benefit me, so I'm not going to make a big deal of it.''
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