BoingBoing's Cory Doctorow certainly found an interesting souvenir on his trip to Shanghai:
But does calling the panties a parody make it so?
Not necessarily. Painting the word "fake" on a counterfeit handbag -- or a real one, for that matter -- can be construed as cultural commentary, given the prominence of the great fake debate. Printing the word "parody" on Mickey Mouse panties doesn't seem to be commenting on much of anything, since discussion surrounding trademark infringement rarely involves cartoon undergarments. Moreover, the target customer for girls' briefs in China (presumably not Mr. Doctorow, but one never knows) may not read much English or understand the word "parody" -- but Mickey himself needs no translation.
Perhaps in another context the panties could be considered a commentary on the famous mouse's squeaky-clean image. Then again, Disney seems to have no objection to slapping authorized versions of its characters' smiling visages on fans' bottoms.
At the end of the day, the Mickey knickers are just another twist on the disclaimer myth: Hmmm, copying is illegal, but parodies that involve some copying are legal, so maybe if I label my copy a parody, I'll get away with it....at least until Disney launches a retaliatory panty raid.
Many thanks to Counterfeit Chic reader Rory Solomon for the tip!