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Our t-shirt went to America and all we got was this lousy email

NY Times replies to India apparel outrage slur

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The controversy surrounding the origins of the My job went to India and all I got was this lousy t-shirt has escalated somewhat since our indignant piece yesterday.

To recap, NY Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman suggested that this legendary piece of apparel may have been conceived in the US and not, in fact in Britain.

We at Vulture Central were, naturally, having none of it. Indeed, our ire was exacerbated somewhat when we further learned that The Washington Post's, Cynthia L. Webb had got hold of the story, and reprinted the pertinent parts of Friedman's piece.

Well, here's the NYT's defence, issued after reader Ben Godber forwarded This Modern World's sceptical analysis of Friedman's claim to the paper:

------------ Forwarded Message ------------
Date: 09 March 2004 17:32 -0500
From: Public <public@nytimes.com>
To: Ben Godber
Subject: Re: Factual Error

Dear Mr. Godber,

Thank you for your message.

Mr. Friedman informed us of the following regarding your concerns about the t-shirt mentioned in his column (3/7), "The Secret of Our Sauce."

"The argument seems to be that it was a British Web site that came up with the idea of the T-shirt -- ``My job was lost India and all I got was this lousy T-shirt'' -- and therefore the whole premise of my column was wrong, that Americans are not innovative.

First, all one has to do is Google that phrase and you will discover that it is not only a British Web site offering this t-shirt for sale, but that a U.S.-based Web site, indeed one located in Palo Alto where so many jobs have been lost, has been selling the same T-shirt for some time. It is the online design-your-own t-shirt and apparel store, Zazzle.com (see attached URL).

So either someone in America copied it -- or independently came up with the idea themselves and therefore it is not a British exclusive. The point I was making about the innovative nature of American society and institutions obviously rests on more than a T-shirt."



I include a link to the T-shirt shown on Zazzle.com below:

www.zazzle.com

Sincerely,
Arthur Bovino
Office of the Public Editor
The New York Times

OK, readers will have to make up their own minds on this one. The El Reg India shirt was launched before Xmas 2003. The US equivalent was apparently created on 17 January 2004. We make no further comment.

Except to say that I have been personally requested by Cash'n'Carrion to exhort all true patriots to support our cause by immediately buying the original and best My job went to India and all I got was this lousy t-shirt. A shameless plug, yes, but remember that jobs are at stake here - our Indonesian eight-year-olds depend on the $10 a week they get for hand painting these shirts to support the the impoverished members of their extended families who could not get jobs in local callcentres. ®

Update

The link to the zazzle.com shirt shown above is no longer active. However, the item has reappeared here with a new creation date of 10.10.2003. Hmmm.

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Thanks to Bruce W. Alter for the Washington Post tip-off.

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