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“My boyfriend loved it and especially loved the real bullet.”
A virtual shopping spree through the worst Blue Lives Matter drinking schlock Etsy has to offer, in collaboration with Fingers
Editor's note: This edition of All Cops Are Posters is a lil collab with Dave Infante, the mind behind Fingers, a smart, funny newsletter about bevs of all kinds (especially alcoholic ones), the people who consume them, and culture we build around them. It’s a romp every time—go subscribe if you like good shit. Dave and I share a deep and abiding love of making fun of creeps who deserve it, which is why we’re thrilled to bring you a… let’s say… gift guide from hell of Thin Blue Line drinking paraphernalia—all real, all available for sale on Etsy. Feast your eyes below for a few notes on five of the most heinous handicrafts we dredged up.
1. Thin Blue Line Flag Bullet Pint Glass - $26.50
Katie Way, ALL COPS ARE POSTERS: Being a cop is about being afraid all the time, and items like this offer an explanation as to why: the deeply ingrained perception, hammered home through both cop culture and police training, that all cops are Good Guys perpetually targeted by Bad Guys who want them dead. That’s why the premise of this gag gift is so morbid—it neatly connects the leisure activity of getting trashed with the specter of death that supposedly hangs over every cop 24/7. It would be funnier if that same fear of death didn’t give police carte blanche to react violently with no consequences, thanks to a little thing called “police discretion.” Just kidding—it still wouldn’t be funny, because cops have no fucking sense of humor.
For any officer of the law trying to complete their “I seriously think I could be assassinated while I’m getting drunk at my house” starter pack, there’s also this Punisher Yeti (cops love that the Punisher gets to kill people without worrying about stupid shit like “human rights!”) or this “Until Valhalla!” can cooler to reassure your fellow warriors that you’ll be keeping their bevs frosty until you all die and go to Viking Heaven.
Dave Infante, FINGERS: Is this even, like, pleasant to drink out of? It seems like a very awkward vessel from which to pound Yuenglings in your leatherette La-Z-boy while S.W.A.T. (featuring Colin Farrell) plays on Blu-ray in the background. Do cops drink Yuenglings and watch S.W.A.T. (featuring Colin Farrell) on Blu-ray? I have no idea; I don’t drink with cops. But if I did, I can imagine them fumbling their bullet pints full of anti-union swill every few sips, because how the fuck are you supposed to hold this thing, anyway? I’m sure the average police is very proud of their forearm strength, but even so, that .50-cal round seems ideally positioned for inadvertent slippage.
There’s a disclaimer on this listing that reads: “Glass is not actually bulletproof or shatterproof. It won't stop a bullet traveling at 3,200 ft/s.” Considering the target customer here (cops intoxicated blind on Yuengling and the yeomanly Irish charms of Colin Farrell), how many times do you think someone has bought this glass, taken it into the backyard, and shot it? Like, a non-zero amount of times, right?
Oh also, I found this review of the tumbler version that concluded: “My boyfriend loved it and especially loved the real bullet.” I don’t have a joke to close on after that, just wanted to make it known that we’re one item in and already I’m straight up not having a good time.
2. “Daddy we've got your six” bottle opener keychain - $25
Katie: Not only is it hilarious to suggest that your children have “got your 6”—meaning they will watch your back and defend you from any “thugs” who are gunning for you while you open a Coors Light—it’s also funny to imply a kid would think of this gift in the first place. Not to sound like Meghan McCain, but this is not the bottle-opener keychain I’d honor my father with. Cops love the idea that kids are obsessed with them, and unfortunately a lot of children do like the police… probably because kids like cool cars, TV and movies, and positive feedback from the adults in their lives who really, really like the police. If you’re a parent, do the right thing and steer your progeny towards idolizing a profession that’s actually cool, like sanitation or figure skating or zoology. Or journalism (JUST KIDDING).
Dave: Here’s another angle to consider: children don't drink (or at least, they’re not supposed to, not at the age when they’re still calling their fathers “Daddy,” right?) which means these bottle openers are bought by a significant other as a gift "from" the kids. So how much of the offsprings’ veneration with their father’s coppishness is actually just projection of the hero worship of the significant other? That’s a thing, right? Ah shit, yeah it definitely is.
Wait. This could be a multiple-partner domme-sub thing? Or maybe it’s pegging? Pegged your six, daddy. Could work. Do cops peg? I guess they must, right? Law of large numbers, and so forth (I have no idea what that means but seems like it might apply here.) Sexual preferences aside, this gift is, ah… butt.
3. “I do fuck the police” tumblers - $19.99-$24.99
Dave: This reminds me a ton of the concept of a “dependa,” which is pejorative for a military wife. The term derives from them being a “dependent” of The Troop™ himself, but it’s also a catch-all insult for women who define their self-worth and identity strictly in terms of their service-member husband’s service status, rank, et cetera. There’s lots of base (military joke!) misogyny directed at dependas, and probably a lot of internalized self-hate and tradwife bullshit and whatever else. I don’t mean to make light of that, because it’s gross and really sad. A lot of them get sucked into MLMs, because there are no jobs for semi-transient mothers stuck in single-family pre-fabs on the far end of Fort Shitass. Or they get trapped in these loveless marriages that start at 18 for the TRICARE and end with someone driving a Dodge Charger they don’t own through an overhead garage door they also don’t own at like… 23 or so. Awful. Anyway this seems a lot like that: defining your sexual agency/prowess in relation to the badge, then publicly “branding” yourself as such. I guess everyone needs a brand.
I’m sure you’ve got the cop-fucker angle pretty covered, but I do want to point out that there’s a review on this vendor’s page from a guy who presumably bought this for his wife or fiancée as a gift. That’s bleak enough as it is. But according to the timestamp, he posted this review on 9/11/20. To me, this is a) insanely weird; and b) opens the door to the possibility, if not the certainty, that this dude’s wife pegged him on 9/11 while S.W.A.T. (featuring Colin Farrell) on Blu-ray played on the background. Talk about cop-ulation! OK, I’ll stop.
Katie: #PoliceWife #LEOWife #MarriedtotheBadge #CopWifeLife… you get the gist, right? Wrong. Being a LEO (that’s ‘law enforcement officer’) wife is a lifestyle, and if you think you get it—you don’t! Do you know what it’s like to spend President’s Day alone because your husband is out putting his life on the line* to protect everyone else’s? Didn’t think so. Being married to a police officer is a defining trait for social media’s cop wives, and they’re unafraid to admit it. In fact, it kind of seems like they’d stroke out and die if they didn’t tell everyone exactly what their husband does, multiple times a day, on at least two different platforms.
This saucy tumbler (what’s sexier than a Taser) isn’t the only way a cop wife can remind all the other moms at the flag football game how much time she spends picking bullets out of the washing machine: there are also these police wife/mom/daughter tumblers, and this “Back the Blue leopard boho skull skinny tumbler,” which I’m surprised we didn’t catch Lana del Rey sipping from when she was dating the Live PD guy.
*Sitting in his car for 10 hours to make sure black teens don’t film too many TikToks in the Wendy’s parking lot.
4. Thin Blue Line bottle-cap crab - $55
Katie: I just want to say that not only does this sculpture emit an extremely negative energy, it’s also like—what does the Thin Blue Line have to do with crabs? With the ocean? Are the police protecting us from the crabs that pinch our toes when we’re wading in the water, versus the crabs who give up their lives to be a part of that delicious, eponymous cake? Are humans and the terrestrial world on one side of the line, and crabs, plus their sea-bound kin, on the other? Are crabs the police of the ocean? And what does any of this have to do with beers :-( If I somehow wound up in the terrifying beach house where this thing hangs on the wall I would run, not walk, into the ocean to evade whatever awaited me inside.
Dave: Let’s talk about that beach house. I’m from New Jersey. I grew up going down the shore sporadically, and mostly for day trips, because my parents didn’t own a shore house and also didn’t want to torch their summer Saturdays inching by the Cheesequake rest stop in bumper-to-bumper traffic just so me and my siblings could complain about sand in our sandwiches, or sun poisoning, or having to poop in the public toilets with a wet bathing suit, or whatever. Can you blame them? I don’t.
Anyway I say all that to say this: there are entire condo developments up and down the Jersey Shore where this—is it art? are we calling it art?—where I’m certain this “art” is proudly displayed. I’d like, for a moment, to take you there.
Imagine, if you will, an 8’ x 10’ balcony overlooking a semi-stagnant access canal. We are four blocks from the ocean, facing the bay. A marine funk, not entirely pleasant, wafts on the breeze, kept from the 2br/2ba pied-à-police within by a heavy sliding-glass door. On the gray-blue vinyl siding exterior wall is a faux distressed wood sign that says “It’s wine o’clock somewhere.” On the other side is our cop-loving crustacean.
In the canal below, a boat cruises through with an “All Lives Matter” flag; cheers ring out from this balcony, and others throughout the complex, which is named Sea Crest II, or some shit. That’s what the faded sign says out front, at least. In its shadow, parked in a lot that was once crushed shells but is now mostly gravel punctuated by the occasional Parliament butt, are two late-model Cadillac Escalades (both black, leased) with Bergen County PBA badges suction-cupped to the inside driver’s side windshields. Smell that? It’s smoke from an overpriced cigar purchased at J&R Cigar World and stored in a desktop humidor that someone’s son got them for Father’s Day from the Marist bookstore a decade ago. Inside, a massive Vizio flatscreen is blaring the YES Network. Is this real? On the gray-blue slats, lit aflame by the afternoon sun bouncing off the canal, the crab leers. Is hell real? We should go now.
5. Thin Blue Line decorative wine bottles - $20.50-$35
Dave: I have a stupid question: do cops drink wine? Like, I know there are plenty that do. But do the posters? Lately I’ve been thinking more about the class and gender baggage that wine has to carry amongst the American drinking public. It’s all bullshit of course, and there are hundreds of terrific wineries, educators, importers, etc. across this miserable land working hard to demonstrate that wine has as much a place in the workingman’s alcohol lineup as does beer or liquor. But much of that is reaching our very-online boys/girls in blue?
I ask because I’m very curious what kind of wine was in these bottles before they were turned into accent details for apartments previously decorated in the style of “psychotic CrossFit dungeon.” It… it can’t be good stuff, right? If I had to guess I’d say we’re looking at retooled bottles of commodity supermarket beast 19 Crimes. Pro-cop decor fashioned from the discards of profit-seeking enterprise whose raison d’etre is mediated by marketing imperialist nostalgia? It’s too perfect! Just kidding, it’s probably Yellow Tail, because holy shit look how much Yellowtail this country imported last decade:
Anyway a few of the reviews say these wine bottles were perfect centerpieces at retirement parties, to which I say: how much unused sick time did these outgoing police cadge off credulous taxpayers? I bet it was enough to pay for a few cases of these garish things!
Katie: This feels like a DIY gift someone cribbed from Pinterest circa 2011 and gave a pro-police twist… but for who? Cop culture aside—and it takes a lot to get me to put cop culture aside—I cannot believe anyone would pay money to have these in their house. Where would they go? What setting would these be even remotely appropriate in? I guess I could see them in some kind of patio situation… grilling, the lighted wine bottles giving off a gentle, blue glow that attracts a ton of bugs… I shudder at the thought. The craftsperson behind the light-up bottles said that “as a retired Air Force sergeant,” it makes her “extremely happy to make these bottles to honor all our First Responders.” LOL. As someone who has decorated a room before, it makes me extremely happy to write a mean blog post about this ugly bullshit.
Good day/bad day badge tumbler set - $29.95
Thin Gray Line bottle opener challenge coin - $15.99 [lol @ Department of Corrections]
BAMF Thin Blue Line badge koozie - $13.50
Blocked and Reported is coming back next edition. Until then: Questions, comments, corrections? (“You don’t know what it’s like to be a police officer” is not a correction.) Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, send “business” “inquiries” to email@example.com, or DM me on Twitter.