Authenticity and Pedro


Napoleon Dynamite is a sleeper hit, a cult classic among teens. One of the most memorable images in the film is the shot of the "vote for pedro" t-shirt.

Pedro22So, it was no surprise at all when it became almost omnipresent. It’s all over the web. The shirt is supposed to look homemade, so it’s easy to make.

Now, explain to me why the officially licensed "costume" comes with the shirt to the right? A shirt that DOESN’T look homemade, that’s silkscreened and extra fancy, with a bonus quote on it, thus making it a souvenir, not a costume…Voteforpedro_1

I think the reason is that the mass market doesn’t always crave authenticity. Yes, the Star Wars geek wants a light sabre that’s the same. But the buyer at Toys R Us wants one that’s a little different, a little cheesier…

Years ago at Epcot Center, I overheard one tourist say to another, "This is great. Now we don’t need to go to Spain!"

I’m not sure why the mass market insists we dumb down stuff that’s already dumb, but it seems to be true.