“Meese Is a Pig” T-Shirt Iran-Contra Reagan XL
In 1987 I ( Jeff Nelson, Minor Threat / Dischord ) was so mad at the Reagan administration during the Iran-Contra scandal, and especially at Attorney General Edwin Meese for doing nothing about it, that I put together a big poster campaign around Washington, DC. There were about 60 people from within the DC punk scene helping to silkscreen big posters, which said “Meese Is A Pig” and had an essay written by my friend Kurt, laying out all the reasons why. Some of us got caught putting them up, but that did not deter us from printing a second batch months later. For this second version, I added “Experts Agree!” at the top in place of the text at the bottom. I printed up a handful of t-shirts for those who helped me, and put the text from the bottom of the first poster on the back of the t-shirt. This time, between the FBI and the U.S. Park Police and U.S. Capitol Police and Washington, DC Police and Arlington County Police and Montgomery County Police, there were quite a few law enforcement agencies out there to catch more of us, and they did just that! While we waited to appear in court, I decided to sell the t-shirts, and it became a very successful campaign in itself. At one point, a bicycle messenger was denied access to the Justice Department for wearing one of these shirts, and the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) threatened to sue the Justice Department for its policy regarding the shirt. Everyone was sure we had engineered the whole thing, but we had nothing to do with it – the whole thing had a life of its own. I am not sure we can take credit for his departure, but the swine did eventually resign. The shirt has not been printed since 1988.