Category: Irony

Disney's Joy Division shirt: Peter Hook 'appreciates the irony'

Peter Hook finds Disney's Joy Division shirt more amusing than angering

Many fans of Joy Division were aghast Monday over Disney’s new Mickey Mouse T-shirt that (lovingly or cluelessly) riffed on the Manchester, England, post-punk band’s iconic album art for 1979's “Unknown Pleasures.” Our own commenters called it “wrong, just wrong” and the “worst shirt ever.” But the design’s unlikely pairing of one of the most tragic acts in rock music with one of the most recognizable images of childhood has at least one begrudging fan: Peter Hook, bassist for Joy Division and New Order.

“I take it as a compliment,” Hook said, adding that to his knowledge, Disney didn’t approach representatives handling Factory Records’ catalog or the surviving members of Joy Division for permission. “If I had a pound for every time someone bootlegged Joy Division, I’d be as rich as Disney. But it’s interesting in a kitsch way. It’s this cross between something very adult and this well-known image of childhood. I’ve heard it’s sold out, so maybe it’ll become a kind of urban legend.”

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Mickey Mouse and Joy Division: The mash-up T-shirt

Mickey Mouse and Joy Division, together at last

Pitchfork is frothing at the mouth over this unholy repurposing of the Joy Division pulse-wave cover of "Unknown Pleasures." It seems to be real -- it's listed in the Disney store's online catalog, and unless this is a masterstroke of a website hack, it appears you can purchase one today. 

There are all sorts of reasons to give pause to such a concept: from the rich, rich irony of Disney's frequent lawsuits against trademark infringers; to the insane disconnect between the Happiest Place on Earth and a band that took its name from a Nazi sex-slave program and whose frontman hanged himself; to the blatant pandering to a musical subculture that should probably see right through this kind of thing; to the stratospherically curious explanatory note, "Inspired by the iconic sleeve of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures album, this Waves Mickey Mouse Tee incorporates Mickey's image within the graphic of the pulse of a star. That's appropriate given few stars have made bigger waves than Mickey!"

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