Some quick detective work resolves a long-festering query – Why does everyone suddenly love the Reds? – but raises new concerns about false idols, misappropriated symbols, and tough-guy conformity. We’re through the looking glass, bitchez.
I started seeing them around New York a few months ago, flashes of red I’d catch from the corner of my eye. On the subway. At the bodega. Cincinnati Reds baseball caps on seemingly every wannabe thug in New York, like they’d all e-mailed each other about their winter wardrobe or made a group trip to Lids. Some caps were flat-brimmed; others shaped. Always bright red, though, and worn with an attitude that seemed to say “don’t f*ck with me.” I totally could have done just that, but figured it wasn’t worth the trouble. I mean I’ve got kids to think about.
It was only recently that I actually decided to research this phenomenon and figure out just why the Cincinnati Reds, who are hardly a winning or popular team, are so appealing to the local BMF population. Was one of their players a convicted felon? Did it have something to do with the city’s famous chili? I should have figured out that the answer would be more inane than anything I could conjure up. The reason everyone wears these caps is 1) because they’re red… which is the color of blood… which is also the color of the Bloods street gang and 2) because Weezy and The Game do it. Awesome! You guys are total posers!
Far be it for me to tell someone else how to spend their clothing dollars (I wore overalls in the 4th grade), but trying to imbue your wardrobe with street cred derived from a f*cking misinterpreted baseball cap is just sad. It’s red, we get it. And that connotes a life of gang crime, (gang) violence, and (gang) banging, which is totally tough. I understand that the Bloods are very real and very ready to kill you over anything. But you’re taking the 1 TRAIN, FAM, and sitting between a little girl on her way to piano practice and some guy reading Proust. You’re about as tough as a f*cking dandelion.
According to The Game, the “C” (which as we know means CINCINNATI) stands for “Compton,” rap shorthand for “the most dangerous city in the United States.” Which it probably is. But again, guy careful not to mix his whites and colors at the laundromat, YOU’RE NOT FROM COMPTON. And even if you were, it would still be pointless copping some obscure baseball team’s logo for your own. It’s a totally arbitrary conceit, attainable with any team. For instance, I could take a red Phillies cap… and turn it into a symbol for my Pawtucket matadors’ league. Red = the color that drives bulls crazy, and key to my profession; P = Pawtucket, harshest city in the RI. DON’T BE F*CKIN’ WITH THE P-TUCK DORS, MANG.
Of course, there are those of you whose choice of domewear has nothing to do with the Blood/Compton connection and is merely an attempt to recreate the look of your favorite rapper. Sorry, you’re still a clown because:
These are the men you’re taking your fashion cues from? Psssshhh. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to see what Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard has been wearing lately. (Plaid!) Fog OUT.
PS – If you’re reading this, Bloods, know that we’re ready to throw down. Lifting Fog has been itching for some gang violence since its inception.
UPDATE #1: In an effort to cut back on my prodigious use of the word “retard”, I’ve cut it out of this post entirely. Not that it won’t be back in the future – my family has a history of relapse – but I know there are better, more intelligent ways to express myself.
UPDATE #2: “More intelligent ways” was not meant as a pun, I swear.