Eric Lai

Microsofties wear 'I am the empire' t-shirts: obnoxious or self-deprecating?

By Eric Lai
November 20, 2008 4:00 PM EST
Ariel Meadow Stallings, the alterna-chick and Redmond employee who writes the Microspotting blog, gave away "I am the empire" t-shirts this summer to Microsoft employee bloggers.

Ariel, who could easily play singer Lisa Loeb in a movie, calls her job to "creep around [Microsoft's] campus talking to my favorite kinds of people: geeks who are passionate about what they do."

Translation: show the world that Microsoft employees are not blue-shirted, testosterone-filled drones (i.e. mini-Ballmers), but, in fact, are more like the creative/Silicon Valley/Google/open-source geeks the mainstream media fetishizes.

Sounds like a fun, albeit challenging, job. Anyway, Ariel, emulating the trendy Threadless t-shirt store, asked them to send back pix of themselves wearing the t-shirts, which are chocolate colored and made of bamboo and organic cotton. So ironic and progressive, it almost hurts!

Yesterday, she put up a collage of the photos she got back.

I am empire collage

My favorite is the guy wearing the Darth Vader helmet -- I bet it's Mini-Microsoft underneath. What do you think?