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My shirt went to America and all I got was a gay sheep

The really important thoughts of you, our beloved readers

Letters: The majority of your letters this week have been prompted by our less technical offerings. The largest volume of letters, by a huge margin, came in response to the continuing saga of the India T-Shirt. To recap, The NY Times ran a story insinuating that the legendary "My job went to India and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" had originated in the US. This outrage provoked a few barbed comments:

Mr. Haines,

Congratulations, you have discovered what many Americans have known for sometime. The New York Times and the Washington Post have a very casual relationship with the truth. Perhaps a new moto for the Times could be "Never let the facts get in the way of a good story." It would be very appropriate for the current state of this once great newspaper.


Andrew Anchev

Oh, c'mon! The New York Times couldn't even figure out Bush was lying/leading the country into a war, and you expect them to figure out who had the idea for a t-shirt? You're obviously thinking of the journalists of a different era, when they had to work for a living! You should be surprised the current batch even knows how to read the shirt, much less figure out where it came from.

--Michael Darnton

I think everyone should stop fighting and jointly make a new T-shirt that says: "My job came *back* from India and all *they* got were lessons in english."

Please don't print my name.. don't want a jihad on me..

A Hindu Jihad? An interesting notion...

And the story doesn't end there. Later, we discovered that a US shirt bearing more or less the same logo was being sold on, apparently since January. This later mysteriously disappeared, only to re-emerge with an earlier birthdate:

Now Zazzle is claiming their version originated on "10/10/2003".... post-editing of "facts?" Inquiring Reg readers want to know.

Time to get the black helicopters airborne? Well, maybe not:

Not trying to be one to rain on your parade but there are 2 shirts on the Zazzle website you gave.
The other one is likely the original and has a slightly smaller Logo. It has been there since October 10, 2003 (3:25:41 PM) according to the product details. So maybe the Americans did think of it first.

In the circumstances - and we should note against the wishes of our lawyers who wish to start an IP bloodbath, as is the current litigious trend - we have decided to let this one go. In any case, here's a lovely letter from the US shirt's designer:


My name is Gary Young, and I seem to be in the midst of the "My job went to India" controversy.

You state that my t-shirt was created on January 17, 2004, and yours was for Xmas 2003. Actually, the first version of my shirt was on before it was on On October 23, 2003, I blogged about wearing the shirt:

I think the real point is that Thomas Friedman is way off base and made some ridiculous comments about how "American ingenuity" is gonna save the U.S. What a moron. I have no faith in finding decent work in the U.S.

Got any job openings there??? ;-)

...Gary Young, San Francisco

Sadly, then, we won’t be needing any help from the next writer:

Dear Sir,

I'm attorney at law and my associate Dogbert and I can help you to sue this US conterfactor for a modest fee (50%). I think we can get at least $ 1 Godzillon on this case.

Sincerly yours,

John Doe Veuve

But thanks all the same. And just when you might think this madness must end, there's more:

Subject: My job went to the Phillipines and No one even made a lousy t-shirt!


It was with great joy I noticed that the official Register "My job went to India and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" shirts were back in stock. And as an American working in this industry, I must say I am disappointed in my fellow former colonists.

It is indeed true that America far out innovates most of the world in nearly every arena. Props can be given to free thinking, and the focus on individuality in that area, however, there are, unfortunately, a large number of Americans who feel they have to copy in order to attain greatness.

I checked out the link provided, which took me to a "Product does not exist" page instead, but did eventually find the offending knock-off of your proud design by using the infinite cosmic powers of Google.

I can assure you that not all Americans are so block headed, and can also say with authority that I will be purchasing an official version of your IP just as soon as my job returns from the Phillipines!


Marvellous. Moving swiftly on, we arrive at your correspondence on the issue of ovine sexuality. As usual, we have a variety of responses. We know we are in trouble when the letter begins “Actually...”

Hi Lester,

Actually, I think the implications of this research could be quite profound on our society.

Imagine for a moment that as a result of this research they find not only a physical cause of gayness in sheep, but also genetic markers that cause it. The next step would be to produce a gene based treatment that would reverse it. Something that farmers would be interested in because gay sheep don't contribute to the continued growth of their flock and prosperity of the farmer.

Ok, so far so good. No one cares about gay rights for sheep, so there isn't likely to be any social backlash against this. But what happens if the scientists take the next logical step. If gayness is a down to a correctable genetic difference in sheep, then could the same thing be found in apes and humans. It seems logical to assume that this would be the case and they're bound to go looking. If they were to find the same in apes and could treat it, then it's almost certain that humans would be the next target.

This has some major social implications for us and how we view gay people. If gayness is caused by a genetic difference, and this can be effectively treated to turn a gay person heterosexual, then what do we do with this knowledge? If the gay gene is a mutation, then gayness 'could' be viewed as a genetic disorder; effectively a disease. And if it's curable then what do we do with that?

Food for thought.


John McNulty

And there are people who look at the same results, and welcome it as liberating:

Hi Lester,

A large segment of the gay and lesbian community bases their claim for equal rights on there being a biological, if not also genetic, difference between being straight and gay. This would make being homosexual an attribute and not a choice, thereby enabling a claim for discrimination based on that attribute. That this work shows for the first time a real biological difference in a nonhuman animal between gay and straight is monumentally significant. Up until now there has only been somewhat shaky genetic evidence that was not statistically significant enough to accept as proof, and was not universal to a given population of gays and lesbians. In contrast, the results of this study are conclusive for what they were trying to show.

So please don't feel as if your tax dollars are being wasted. The rather limited amount of money they spent for such a groundbreaking result represents an extremely high rate of return for research dollars. In addition the social implications for this result are profound, especially in light of the struggles going on right now in America with gay marriage and equal rights.

And those who don’t care about the results, but can’t resist a joke:

Dear Lester

Was it noted that the gay sheep's pens had superior interior design?

The next lesson from the postbag is: don’t take on the Tolkien fans:

Hello, Lester. Liked your article on the subject, it had the characteristic sarcastic Vulture Central edge and bite to it and it was good for several laughs. :-)

However, as a fan of Tolkien's works, I must point out that your referral to Quenya and Sindarin as dialects of Tolkien's elven language is just plain erroneous, because they are two separate languages with distinctly different grammar systems. IIRC what I read long ago, Sindarin grammar is based on Welsh while Quenya's grammar and structure is based on my native Finnish. For finer details on the differences you're going to have to ask somebody else, though, as my knowledge of the subject basically ends here.

In any case, thus endeth recitation of the miscellaneous useless factoid of the day. ;-)

Keep up the good work, and my best regards, Esko Halttunen

Shame on us. And shame on us too for taking the corporate buck and painting El Reg blue.

Subject: Nokia's Tariff

To Whom It May Concern:

I've noted that Nokia's apparently bought into the Diamond Service plan at the bare minimum. I would appreciate a reposting of The Register Tariff rates on the main site so that we, your loyal readers, may see what price your collective souls currently go for. I know you've heard of integrity and it would be most informative to know how much of it you don't have.

Thank you,
Kyle T. Bergan

Kyle, it is called advertising. It affects the colour of the pixels on the screen, not the content of the articles. Now take a deep breath and calm down. Besides, we vultures have no souls to sell, so putting a price on them would be silly.

And finally, in regard to Hubble’s latest snapshot, we have a few metaphysical meanderings to leave you with:

The problem for astrophysicists and layabouts like me is 'What does the universe look like now, this moment?' All this telescopy is of limited value - light is just too slow. Those distant galaxies, close to the Big Bang, no longer exist, probably. We are looking at a slice through time, not only a slice through space (notwithstanding that they are coupled).

Furthermore, if space and time are, indeed, curved through a fourth and/or higher dimension(s), we may be looking across the equivalent of a 3D sphere, for which there exist multiple solutions for all coordinates in the lower dimensions, i.e., things are not so 'far' away as they seem, especially considering that we are included within the assemblage. The limits of perception now reside in our brains, not our observations!

Perhaps, you would say 'who cares?'

Not bad, for a Friday. ®

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