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anyone would want to walk around wearing the image of a well-known psychopath

Posted Mar 21 2013 5:23am
Although the words appear
to be based on a recollection
ofthe film—the actual quote
is "Some day a real rain will
come and wipe this scum off the
streets" (or else the designers
are cannily avoiding a copyright
pitfall)—the combination of Travis
Bickle's face and his disturbing
philosophy give a sense of sound
and vision; words inspired by
the film, giving a voice to a twodimensional
Without these elements, the
garment would be unmemorable,
anonymous. Witbout tbe film and
the viewer's or wearer's response
to the film, this item of clothing
would have little or no interest
whatsoever. As Baudrillard notes
in The System of Objects: "Wbat
is consumed is never the object
204 Dialog
but the relationship signified, yet
absent, simultaneously included
and excluded. It is the idea of tbe
relationship that is consumed in
the series of objects that display it"
(Baudrillard 1996: 201).
Back to the shirt in Coldharbour
Lane, Brixton,  sheath bridal gown,
  and it is starting
to strike me as a little weird that
anyone would want to walk around
wearing the image of a well-known
psychopath, even a fictional one,
on their back. After all, out there
are potentially several real-life
Travis Bickles wandering around,
unhappy with their life and lot.
Out there are all the social factors
that invariably accompany the
presence of crime in a densely
populated inner-city area:
fragmented social and community
structures, lack of opportunity
and poverty of the imagination.
None of this is remotely amusing
but, in bere, the idea of "cool
crime" has been recontextualized
and repackaged, a covetabie
consumable object.  Japanese school uniforms.
"Bickle is Elvis with a gun,
doubled and multiplied. He is the
cowboy lohn Wayne, the martyr
lames Dean, tbe rebel Brando. He
is every American hero run amok,
and the most ironic image of
America since lasper Johns painted
the American flag." So wrote
Jerry Saltz, art critic of The Village
Voice in 1999, when critiquing the
work of Douglas Gordon, a video
artist who manipulates snips from
iconic films—"Taxi Driver" being
one. In 2001, celebrity footballer
and men's fashion plate David
Beckham was seen flaunting a
Travis Bickle-inspired mohican.
He confessed he had never seen
the movie, but we can be pretty
sure his hairdresser had. The
successful Scottish rock band
Travis are named in homage to the
man, while he has also featured in
songs by The Clash and The Beastie
Boys. There is now a Travis Bickle
computer game on the market,
where the player can assume
the role of Travis Bickle, and the
character even has his own website
called "God'5 Loneliest Man."
In 2004, readers of Total Film
magazine voted him their favorite

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