Monday, August 4, 2008

When a Peanut Allergic to Peanuts is a Filbert

So yesterday, I popped in to one of these really trendy and expensive baby and little kids stores. You know the ones I am talking about. The stores that sell cashmere baby sock to go with the matching cashmere sweater that also goes with the matching cashmere hat, and the matching cashmere baby blanket. These are the stores that sell one sock for $25, and give you a deal of the pair for $40.

As I walked around this oh so trendy,oh so chic store wondering what sort of dry cleaning bills one would have for their beautiful cashmere outfit, I saw this shirt.

I walked over to it, wondering if Mr. Peanut had even taken over posh and trendy children's clothes. On closer inspection, I realized the scary peanut had a little speech bubble thing that said "I'm allergic to peanuts". At first I found this confusing....Is a peanut saying he is allergic to peanuts. Then he would be allergic to himself, and that would make things awfully difficult. I hope he is not contact sensitive.

After a few minutes of thoughtful contemplation, I realized that the shirt is probably meant to tell people that the wearer is allergic to peanuts. It would probably be more effective to have a big red circle and line through the peanut. Maybe the shirt is trying to make a social commentary about peanuts and our society.

I figured I would delve into this further. I looked at the label and discovered that the shirt was made by the cool and trendy fashion designer Paul Frank. That is right, Paul Frank, famous designer of that ever endearing icon

Julius the Monkey

I began my search with Wikipedia.

Paul Frank is so famous and trendy that he is of course featured in Wikipedia:

"A few years later, Frank formed Paul Frank Industries in order to keep up with the demand for his products. He worked at another job during the day, but sewed and sold his products during his spare time. Paul Frank Industries are currently in Costa Mesa, California. The company's stores are also popular, with domestic locations in Southern California, San Francisco, New York City, Dallas (now closed), Las Vegas and Chicago. International locations include: London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Athens, Seoul, Bangkok, and a group in Japan. Future locations include Doha, Qatar and Dubai, United Arab Emirates[1].
Frank also collaborated with many bands including Bad Religion, Every Time I Die, Radiohead, The Vandals, Alkaline Trio, Atreyu, Tool, Gorilla Biscuits, The Aquabats, and Pretty Girls Make Graves. Other musical collaborations include the Coachella festival, Lollapalooza, and Los Angeles radio station KROQ.
Besides co-branding and licensing affiliations with bands, Frank has collaborated with other artists and companies, including Mattel, Oscar Mayer, Elvis Presley, Andy Warhol, Wahoo's Fish Taco, SHAG, John Deere, Nirve Bicycles, Obey Giant, ProKeds shoes, Mark Ryden, Thomas Campbell, Hello Kitty, and Lego.[2]"

This was interesting, and further confirmed that Paul Frank was in fact very very trendy, and liked to think oh himself as very very artsy.

I continued my internet research only to discover that the peanut allergy t-shirt was called "The Filbert". This piqued my curiosity, since why was a t-shirt with a peanut, talking about peanut allergies was called "The Filbert". I again consulted my knowledgeable researched Wikipedia,

"Filbert can mean the following:
Corylus maxima, a species of hazel
Filbert, West Virginia
A type of artists' paintbrush with an elongated flat bristle with a rounded or circular tip
Filburt, a character of the TV show Rocko's Modern Life
Slang: a lunatic; an individual wholly unhinged; predominant neurotic tendencies (e.g., "a nut"). "

I don't know if this cleared things up for me, made me more confused. I don't think he would name a shirt about peanut allergies a hazelnut. the much maligned filbert nut

I hope he is not naming the shirt after a town in West Virginia.

Perhaps the shirt is named for his favorite type of paint brush,

but the artwork is really not all that exciting.

The TV show Rocko's Modern Life is, an animated cartoon with a character of a turtle named Filbert. I am pretty sure it has nothing to do with peanut allergies.

The only option left was one I was not so happy with since the slang for filbert is a crazy person or a "nut". I am not sure how I feel about a t-shirt with a peanut saying he is allergic to peanuts being called with a name that is the slang for a crazy person. Perhaps this cool and trendy company was just trying to be ironic while raising awareness for peanut allergies, perhaps I just have way too much time on my hands, perhaps I am a bit paranoid, but perhaps this t- shirt is not the great advocate for peanut allergies I first thought it was when I saw it.

When I originally started writing this post, I planned for it to be about how peanut allergies are now maybe cool and trendy since this cool and trendy fashion designer has put the issue on one of his kids t-shirts. Maybe it was becoming more mainstream, and more understood by the great cool and trendy public out there.

Now I am not so sure.....


Robyn A. said...

You had me laughing with this post!! At first I was going to ask you if they had little boy T-shirts because I thought it might be a good educational shirt for others to see. But now I'm not so sure. Tyler knows what a peanut looks like but I don't know if I want him sporting it around all day on his clothes. Hmmm..

The part of this post that still has me rolling is that you hope the peanut isn't contact sensitive. Too funny!!

Jennifer said...


Thank you so much for the kind words.

They also did have the t-shirt in brown, and I was considering it also for Conor if it was not so expensive.

I love your blog also!!