Because they're fucking with my identity.
I don't know what to make of this... I think you might be taking this too seriously.
I more closely identify with the culture of the internet than I do with American culture.
Is this a badge of honor or something?
So when I first saw a kid bring that out in to real life, I was angry. Fucking angry.
I understand this emotion. I used to feel this way about music. Whenever I saw a kid wearing a shirt or listening to music that I thought they didn't deserve to listen to, I was put out - like "HEY - I got here first!"
But in the end, man, who cares who got here first? And who cares if some one new to 4chan prints a shirt and wears it? Is there really something sacred about it?
I would disagree with your statement that:
The internet is an obsessively private place, despite the public information floating around. You do not talk about it outside of the sites you go on. Those are the unwritten rules; you don't bring internet in to real life.
I see the the internet as an obsessively (and even excessively) public place. Any hint of privacy you have is overinflated. I guess I'm not as deeply "entrenched" as you are, but I have never understood that to be the case. Since before the web, the internet was about sharing. Open source software is about sharing. Whether we like it or not - the internet EXISTS in real life. So your friends that you game with around the table... you're not allowed to crack a joke or reference something from online? There seems to be a disconnect.
I understand that you don't like to "cross the streams" of your online and real life self, but I hate to break it to you - this is unavoidable. And why does it have to be mutually exclusive? I would argue that life can be very rich with feet in both worlds.
I'm not trying to sound argumentative. Now that I read back over my post, I'm realizing that my post may sound that way. I assure you I mean no offense nor to I intend to instigate anything. I am just challenging your assertions that you've figured it out. Keep working through this, because I don't think you're really getting to the bottom of why you're so mad about a T-shirt.