With all these celebrity deaths of late, it wasn’t a question of if, but rather when the exploitation would occur. Usually though, I limit my exploitation of tragedy to a few off-color jokes in close company. But when snowboard company Neff put out a Michael Jackson tribute tee, well, it was the first time I sort of cared about Michael Jackson’s death. Frankly it seemed absurd and needed to be mocked, especially since I run a site with the tag line “making fun of snowboarding.”
Then when Awesome Auger spokeman Billy Mays passed away Sunday, the opportunity was clear. Rip off Neff’s design and make a Billy Mays tribute shirt. Jared and I laughed the whole time at how ridiculous it was, but when the design was finished, I strangely wanted one. Though we toyed with the idea of not actually making them available for purchase, we also agreed that no one would actually buy them, so we might as well make it legit. A few clicks and for just $19.95, anyone can now purchase a YoBeat Billy Mays Tribute Shirt from the YoBeat store. I posted the release and figured maybe we’d get linked around a few a laughs.
Then something happened. Someone bought a shirt. And then a few other people did too. So now, not only do we have to make the shirts, but I feel totally hypocritical. I tried to make myself feel a little better by commiting to donate some of the proceeds to the American Heart Association, but man, who would have thought anyone actually wanted one of these? Oh, the irony.