Friday, March 18, 2005

RTFM Shirt featuring Chairman Mao

A week ago I have featured a trendy purse with pro-communism slogan here. Yesterday, reader Ben Ostrowsky has sent me a link to a RTFM t-shirt [shown above] at

I really enjoyed the clever reference between Mao's red book and RTFM, which is a geek slang for "read the f*cking manual".

I am start to wonder if it is trendy to be a commie these days...


translated as "closely following Chairman Mao through strong wind big waves and advance forward".

= tense, tight, taut; firm, secure
= heel; to follow, accompany; with
= Chairman Mao
= be at, in, on; consist in, rest
= strong wind big waves; turmoil
= central; center, middle; in the midst of; hit (target); attain
= to go forward; to forge ahead; to advance; onward


  1. hmmm, interesting that you say that it's a possible trend to be a commie. You can apply the same logic to all those poseurs wearing Che Guevara shirts. I remember a few years back that the people who wore those types of things were the true, hardcore activists. Now why is being "political" (in the loosest, capitalist, faux context) suddenly trendy? This bothers me so....

  2. Hehehe - spot on Berns. All the people I know who are into Che's story and get aroud with Che "merchandise" are lawyers. This is ironic to say the least.

  3. It's sad that people would wear such strong, influential (and often)controversial revolutionary figures on their chest without knowing why they're significant. I bet you, Mao, Che, and Zapata are rolling in their graves in anger over the desecration of their legacies.

  4. Yeah, I bet Mao is turning over in his grave because of this stupid t-shirt.

    He should be turing over in his grave for the tens of millions of Chinese civilians that died at his hands.

    Please, berns, please.

  5. it may be a a bit of afashion to be a commie, but i am sure che, mao, lennin et al appreciate the fact that the ideology still lives on and is not a distant memory in the lobes of russian mafia...

    Besides, it is better to have MAO in a tshirt telling me to RTFM than Bill Gates...

  6. Isn't the "big wind big waves" thing a bit... Chinglish? "Follow Chairman Mao and through hell and high water"?

  7. I want to buy like 10 of these... but laFraise only seems to have them in size M (Male, Female) and in Europe...

    A shiny nickel to the man (or woman) who can direct me to another vendor!

  8. I dunno - "hell and high water" is certainly evocative, but is it a phrase you'd expect to be associated with a Communist leader? The original translation of "turmoil" (or "great storms", another rendering of the 4-character phrase in question) would surely do the trick.

  9. or maybe its just a sweetass shirt
    or maybe lawyers make more then you
    or maybe berns is a little more emotional then the rest of us(it makes me sad?omg.)
    or maybe lame.

  10. mao doesn't actually have a grave (or at the very least, if he has one, he is not currently occupying it), so i don't think he can be rolling in it. last time i saw him he seemed not to be too bothered by trendy t-shirts with his image on them.

  11. Interesting. Are you saying he hangs out with Elvis?

  12. no, i'm saying he was never buried. the chinese government mummified his corpse after his death, which is still on public display in the chairman mao mausoleum at tiananmen square.

  13. Really,

    If there is anything that would make The Great Helmsman "Roll" in his glass encased casket is that fact that China has taken the Capitalist Road and have put aside Revolutionary activities, and the glorious banner of Mao Zedong Thought.....

    Mao Zhu Xi Wan Sui!!!!!

  14. Not sure how it can be trendy to be a communists, apparently people don't seem to notice that communist countries tend to kill and suppress the basic human rights of their citizens. The Chinese Communist Party is responsible for murdering 60 million Chinese people and destroying many of the richest cultural traditions in the world. Check out the Nine Commentarties on the Communist Party at

  15. to matt little:

    I'd rather believe neither CCP nor Fanglungong 'cause they're against each other and whatever they say about the other should be taken with a grain of salt.

  16. I think it makes much more sense to read it as "Closely follow Chairman Mao to forge ahead in the midst of turmoil"

  17. regarding the response to matt little.

    Keep in mind, the ccp has a monopoly on the use of force and a sock puppet media. The falungong have martyrdom. Just because they're both inclined to spin the figures, I think it takes away from the central issue... The manual didn't work no matter how many times it was read.

    I'm more interested to know what Chinese intellectuals think of merchandizing mao (maochandizing) in this way.

  18. This is directed to the poster who asked about purchasing this shirt. I contacted the original company and they no longer produce it, but I found that it's available here:

    Hope that helps!