MEESE IS A PIG... some more on this moment in DC Folklore...
THERE WAS A POSTER BEFORE THERE WAS A SHIRT!
A poster before a shirt? I am not sure I knew that...
Meese is a Pig...
there was a Meese is a Pig poster before there was a Meese is a Pig t-shirt
the lore and legend grow deeper
I already knew that I did not know anything
now I am learning that I knew nothing at all
well... I knew nothing more than the fact that there was this t-shirt that read EXPERTS AGREE: Meese is a Pig
in reference to Department of Justice head Attorney General Edwin Meese
the back of the shirt had a list of reasons why Edwin Meese was in fact a pig
I think I need to read the back of the shirt
my history is not so good... not so good then and no better now
so... I decided to try and research the topic of the MEESE IS A PIG posters and T-Shirts
well... the Internet failed me because this episode was pre-Internet
yes... there was a WORLD before the WORLD WIDE WEB
although I was not able to find the information I was looking for a friend of mine was able to give me some quick off the top of his head perspective on the whole MEESE IS A PIG poster fiasco... ah.. THE POSTER BEFORE THE T-SHIRT
I will take this and wait for someone to fill in the blank on the t-shirt fiasco
here is what Peter Hayes had to say...
Peter Hayes has been friends with Jeff for some time as well as playing in a number of bands with him
playing music and all that goes with it
excerpt from email correspondence between myself and Peter Hayes
from Peter Hayes...
I think it's safe to say that Jeff's inspiration for the Meese
campaign was the work of poster-provocateur
(in addition to poster art / typography from the early 20th century - through WWII era that he has always favored)...
Many of us loved how Conal's posters would appear out of nowhere,
looking insane, inspired, huge, and plastered everywhere. Here's how
I remember the take on it:
There were actually two nights of Meese postering. The first night
nobody got caught. The first night's poster didn't include the
"Experts Agree" portion. For the second night, Jeff had me scrawl out
"Experts agree!" with a sharpie, and this got added to the top of the
poster, while at the bottom, an explanation of exactly WHY Meese was a
pig was made plain, via the words of Kurt Sayenga, who at the time was
editor of "Greed" magazine. (Kurt also created graphics for the
then-new ). The organization of the postering crews was a
masterstroke of logistics, and on this second night, we nearly got
away with it again. This time, though, the police detained our crew
(Jeff, Michelle Cochran, Heather Johnson, and me) and photographed and
ID'ed us, letting us go as long as we took down the posters we'd put
up in the area (Courthouse Metro in Virginia, I think)
Simultaneously, the police were detaining other crews on the Mall and
elsewhere. By 4 a.m. or so, the police realized the scope of the
operation and came back to arrest a bunch of us. Shortly thereafter,
with the help of ACLU lawyer Robert(?) Hirshkopf (sp?), charges were
dropped. The Meese tshirts you mentioned were originally intended as
mementos given to the crews and helpers in the two campaigns (Eric C.
would have been one of those folks, many of whom stayed up all night,
reporting to work the next morning). After his arrest at the Justice
Dept. and the subsequent news coverage, the shirts became a sensation.
Jeff and friends did a lot of the printing until he finally had to
hire out a contractor (Andy T-shirt) to print them faster. This, and
the fact that AP picked up the story gave Jeff the incentive to bring
a carload of them to sell at the '88 Democratic Convention in Atlanta
(confirming the Dukakis candidacy). Jeff and I manned the Meese is a
Pig booth at the convention center and had lots of fun but made very
I just thought I'd give you a little background -- it's often
forgotten that before there were shirts, there were posters. And,
before the Justice Department bike courier arrest, there were a bunch
of arrests of local musicians and compatriots! It was strange having
to explain to my boss why my name appeared in a front page Washington
Post story that morning -- but all these years later I'm still amazed
at how it all played out.
I've left out a lot of names here because too much time has passed for
me to remember off the top of my head. For example, Mark Anderson,
co-author of "Dance of Days", was detained (and later arrested, I
believe). The crews over those two nights were comprised of over 60
people, if I recall correctly.
thanks Peter... that gives me a greater understanding of the MEESE IS A PIG poster fiasco
WOW! that was a much bigger undertaking than I had realized
some recent Jeff Nelson projects
and then this
please... anyone who knows more and wants to add
please put additions in the comment section
see you around town on the bike!