I WISH JUSTIN MASON would return from the States with a Tom Bihn tote bag (pronounced "Bin Bag" in Irish) that I can use with my mobile kit--something with a special label like Matthew Ingram spotted in Chris Brown's stash. While checking the bag to see if it could be washed, he noted the washing instructions appeared in both English and French. The English is exactly what you would expect and so is the French, for the first 6 lines. The last three lines of French are most interesting:
We are sorry that our President is an idiot. We didn't vote for him.
The picture of the computer sleeve's label sparked dozens of comments within the space of a weekend, effectively launching a political debate on the back of a boutique bag's label. If some of the baggage inspectors at JFK could read French, they would probably hassle anyone carrying the bag. Anything "anti-Bush" seems to equate to "terrorism" in the minds of many who guard American shores.
Tom Bihn explain that because his "products are sold into Canada, the care instructions are in English and French." The company discovered the French translation continues after the washing instructions reads:
NOUS SOMMES DESOLES QUE NOTRE PRESIDENT SOIT UN IDIOT. NOUS N'AVONS PAS VOTE POUR LUI.
Translated, the message reads, "'We are sorry that our president is an idiot. We
didn't vote for him.'"
According to the Tom Bihn press release, "the message began as an inside joke among seamstresses and staff at the Tom Bihn factory, intended to poke fun at company's founder and president, Tom Bihn, who recently incorporated the company and was elected its president.
Tom Bihn issued the following statement:
I am terribly sorry that this inside joke has been misconstrued to be a slur on any other president. The joke is on me, and I think it's funny.
The explanation sounds very Presidential and makes me want a Bihn Bag. That's what happened to the Bihn online shop--on the back of this worldwide attention, demand soared. One week after this blog item appeared, the company recorded sales more than double all previous weeks in the company's history. It proves one thing: Bihn Bag customers enjoy "easter eggs" and they like to read.
Bihn has created a t-shirt featuring the label, and will donate all proceeds of the sale of the shirts to charities working with the families of U.S. military personnel.
Matthew Ingram -- "Always read the instructions"
Frank Köhntopp -- "Tom Bihn: how cool can you get?" Start here: The Empire Bag.
Chris Brown -- "A special sense of humor" with more than 170 comments.
Indymedia -- "Widespread resistance to American occupation in Iraq"
The Onion -- "Point/Counterpoint: The War in Iraq!
"Bush is a wanker." (Stencil spotted near American embassy in Dublin.)
Free Republic -- "Say What?"