A number of my friends have the misfortune to have birthdays very close to Xmas. It's a misfortune because it’s hard to schedule parties and because people like me, who hate shopping, avoid it even more ferociously as December wears on. But of course, the Internet has changed all that. In the cozy privacy of my office, I figured I could be a good friend and not give IOUs or “love yas” instead of real live gifts this year. But having made that earth-shattering decision, I was stuck when it came to where on the ever expanding world wide web I might actually find something suitable for the revolutionary who has almost everything she could want except revolution.
So I Googled “gifts for revolutionaries”.
I skipped right over the ones that were using “revolutionary” to modify an app, device, fabric or appliance – surprisingly, there weren’t that many. I guess maybe the days when “revolutionary” got anyone’s attention are bygone, since it must by now be the second most common word in the English language.
I did get a little excited by “Redesign revolution” because boy, do we ever need to do that! But sadly, it wasn’t a how-to guide for a consensus process that works in just 45 minutes or getting media attention for your creative direct action. Instead it was “Gizmos, Gadgets and Gifts – Oh My! Holiday Gift Guide for Gadget Geeks.” I am kind of a gadget geek, but I don’t wanna be so I clicked away in a hurry and went on to:
1. The very first item was Jesus Christ Revolutionary, and it actually said “You searched for Jesus Christ Revolutionary” which I certainly did not! But I clicked through to http://www.cafepress.com/+jesus-christ-revolutionary+gifts, which features a Jesus-as-Che Viva La Resurreccion Baseball Jersey. The cutest thing I found there was the No Justice No Sleep baby bodysuit. I don’t have any revolutionary friends getting ready to deliver, but when I do, I know what they’re getting for baby shower gifts.
2. From Amazon comes The History Channel Presents The Revolution (2006). Revolution in a box for $49.99 would be a good deal, but sadly it’s a 13-part miniseries about The American Revolution. No doubt I’d learn something, but not what I had in mind.
3. Zazzle, as it turns out actually does have a “revolutionary gift” site offering everything from U.S. Army mugs to revolutionary war memorabilia to pictures of Villa and Zapata to Ron Paul bumper stickers to Socialist Party pins. I clicked on the last and found myself at the page entitled “Home > Politics > United States > Parties > Communist” – wait, was it a socialist or a communist pin? Couldn’t buy it unless I knew. Oddly, the Red Star on a black field pin was not on that page, but on the “Philosophy and Belief” page. Go figure. At the top of my screen, underneath “Revolutionary Gifts - T-Shirts, Posters, & other Gift Ideas” it said: “Related Searches: vladimir lenin without, war, war cannon”. Huh?
4. There’s Revolution Tea: “Revolution Tea is proud to introduce you to the wonderful world of tea. In the past, you may have experienced the bitter taste of low quality teas served in paper bags. At Revolution, we are committed to changing the way tea is served in addition to offering high quality, great tasting teas crafted to suit the taste of today's palate.” In addition to tea, they offer tea lights, tea cups, tea servers, tea cakes but sadly not "Revolutionary Tea Party," my favorite CD by the great Lillian Allen. You can get it on CD baby though.
5. Revolution Books, marketing hub of the formerly-antigay-now-only-mildly-heterosexist Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), offers “shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, hats, calendars, tote bags and more with challenging and inspiring quotes from…the cutting edge work of Bob Avakian, whose new synthesis of communism envisions a radically new society that is overcoming all of the oppression of the current world while giving great scope to the intellectual work, ferment, and dissent as integral to the complete emancipation of humanity.” Okay, just how “new” and “cutting edge” can his work be after 50 years?
6. Maopost.com offers Chinese propaganda posters. Site labels include “Posters”, “Calendar cards”, “Fakes & reproductions” and the ever-popular “Personalized oil paintings”: “A revolutionary gift idea: your portrait oil painted like a propaganda poster." I thought about it.
7. Mug Revolution was actually kind of tempting, as both I and one of my Saggitarian friends love mugs. These boast lead-free glazes and certified 100% non-toxic local clay. They are hand-made in Oregon, meaning they wouldn’t be being shipped too far, but they're kind of ugly, at least in the pictures. Maybe it takes toxic clay or lead glaze to make pottery that looks pretty? (No offense meant to any of my potter friends, who all make gorgeous and I'm sure healthful stuff.)
8. “Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Apocalypse Saga L.E.” I gather is a Japanese animated TV series. It’s a 3 DVD set and sounds rather gender-bending:
"Utena, fueled by her desire to protect Anthy, continues to prevail over the feeble ambitions that drive the Student Council to fight.The Council's ambitions are reignited, however, when they hear a sound. At first, it's faint, but soon it becomes clear: the promised revolution is within reach - and the duels must go on.And what of Utena's own ambition? To become a prince, the duels may be only one of the trials she has yet to face."
It might be just the thing for friends or kids who like anime, which I don’t. Though for full disclosure, one of the swordswomen on the box cover is wearing a long pink gown.
9. Revolution Brewing, a Chicago brewpub has a host of “Revolution Brewing” paraphernalia, including shirts, caps, signs, and bottle openers. Cute for a revvy who drinks beer, but I'm going to keep looking.