- Charles Smith has caused quite a stir selling shirts online. Corporate behemoth Wal-Mart wants to shut him down and now the two sides are locked in a legal battle over free speech. Why all the fuss? Smith's shirts depict the familiar Wal-Mart logo as well as well as the message "I [heart] WAL*OCAUST." Yes, Smith thought it clever to compare a seller of cheap products to the holocaust, one of history's most ghastly acts of mass murder.
Most discussion has settled on Smith's pathetic conflation of retailers and Nazis and whether Wal-Mart's claims of trademark infringement are legitimate (probably not). Yet there's another issue hereâ€“if Smith truly believes in the message of his shirt, then he's not so innocent either.
In Smith's view, Wal-Mart and the Nazis both spread destruction. Indeed these days many regard the biggest box as a destructive force that wipes out mom and pop businesses. But it wasn't long ago that America was even more frightened by the internetâ€“the same diabolical tool that Smith used to sell his shirts.
If Wal-Martís bad, then the internetís worse
I have a new piece online: