Yes, there actually was a “Nuke the Whales” T-shirt, but that’s the least problematic tee in this list. The seventies were chock full of tasteless, tacky, and accidentally offensive shirts that you wouldn’t be caught dead in today.
I’m not exactly sure why, but it became a “thing” in the seventies to wear T-shirts with “edgy” sayings not meant for polite company. If you remember the decade, then you remember the popular iron-on that read “I’m so happy I could just shit” featuring a frog at a desk. It was everywhere!
I suppose it was a holdover from the counter-culture revolution which basically spit in the face of good manners and traditional, classy attire. So, it is in this time period (the 1970’s and early 80’s) that we find some of the worst things mankind has ever put on his or her chest – let’s have a look at the bottom of the barrel…
Wear your “Cox Suckers” T-shirt and wow your friends with how edgy and cool you are. Or, how about the classy “Poverty Sucks” tee.
“New for the real sports buff!” Both of these are terrible. The guy’s shirt features a jock strap, and the girl’s literally says “Let’s Ball”. Just wow.
What kind of person walks around with their own face on their T-shirt?
Oh-so-edgy Richard Nixon themed T-shirts from 1974.
Ugh. You can almost smell the weed and body odor coming through from this advertisement.
You’ll be an absolute chick magnet in these joke tees from 1973 and 1975.
The shirt reads: “If you scratch my back, you can sniff my mint.”
It’s actually an innocent slogan, as the Tic-Tac image on the back really does emit a minty aroma when scratched…. But just reading the front may give an alternate impression.
The seventies was such a classy decade, wasn’t it? Get your “Wanna Fuck?” T-shirt for the low price of $4.95.
(L) Another classy T-shirt which reads “Put Some Fun Between Your Legs”. (R) If it was possible to get any worse, we have the Rockefeller family T-Shirts – to be worn “ironically” of course.
For the couples out there: We have a shirt in favor of Texas secession and the elegant “Hustler Power” tee. For more magazine t-shirts see Amazing Magazine T-Shirts from the 1970s-80s.
From 1980 we have the “Aya-Toilet” T-shirt for those patriotic Americans.
1980 was a banner year for terrible tees. We have the elegant “If it looks good… SNORT IT!” t-shirt, as well as some ‘Merican faves including “Shah Wars” and “Let the Russians Play With Themselves” variety.
Also from 1980, we have the Mt. Saint Helens commemorative T-shirt stating “Sacrificial Virgin Inspector” as well as a cornucopia of tasteless tees to choose from, including: “Bend Over, I’ll Drive”, “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw”, and “No Fat Chicks”.
At left we have “It’s Real” plastered on her evidently authentic boobs, and a group of ladies in their condom tees. For more of this see: Cigarette Pants & Condom Tees: When Fashion and Product Brands Collide.
In case you can’t read it, the shirt features a couple camels screwing with the words “A Good Hump is Hard to Find”. Oh, dear.
You’ll be the most popular girl on the block in your “ERA Sucks” t-shirt. Also available: “First Strike – Circumvent Washington’s limp wrists – let’s tear the petty coats off of foreign policy and play hardball with the Russkies!” And, of course, the dreaded “Nuke the Whales” shirt rears its ugly head again.
I’d almost forgotten the “I’m with Stupid” t-shirts that were everywhere. What was that about? How is it possible that this was a fad? I lived through the seventies and I write about the seventies… but I am nowhere close to understanding the seventies.