July 1, 2001
10:07 PM   Subscribe

"Several months ago I wrote a letter to WisDOT requesting your agency consider recalling the vanity license plate IH8GOP that I noticed on a vehicle in the Columbus area. My reason for requesting the recall of this plate is that the message is obscene to those of us who are members of the Republican Party (GOP) and who subscribe to the conservative principles of the party. I never received a response to my letter..."

Political correctness, Hate Speech, Free Speech and the problem of vanity plates at Wisconsin's Department of Transportation.
posted by lagado (36 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

When I do snap, and take the AK-47 into a Wendy's, it will be because of something like this.
posted by dong_resin at 10:34 PM on July 1, 2001

Oh, some of those are wonderful.
posted by kindall at 11:27 PM on July 1, 2001

"Dear DMV, I would like to complain about a license plate I saw today. It said 'CK6 Y93', which contains the letters C, K and Y. Those letters, when added to other letters, spell out 'FUCK YOU'. This is offensive to me and the members of my community. I hope you take action on this matter as soon as possible."
posted by RylandDotNet at 12:41 AM on July 2, 2001

And for the last one (IN2 XTC), let's not forget that the band existed before (and has no connection to) the drug Ecstasy. I have known of people with "XTC" plates who were only music freaks.
posted by D.C. at 12:42 AM on July 2, 2001

I've never understood the Republican disconnect between "less government is better" and "please government, intervene to protect us from things we consider to be morally outrageous." Pick one, already.
posted by stevis at 1:20 AM on July 2, 2001

Scariest: the number of these objection letters that come from sheriffs or other law enforcement agents.
posted by holgate at 2:21 AM on July 2, 2001

I love the fact that so many of them quote dictionary definitions. As if the sender had to look "horny" up:

"Dang! I know it's rude, but what does it mean? Pass me the Webster's, Ethel."
posted by Grangousier at 4:27 AM on July 2, 2001

My license plate is: "HG G8S" with a big Apple sticker in the middle. For some reason, Bill Gates doesn't have any rabid supporters, or my car would have been keyed by now.
posted by machaus at 5:50 AM on July 2, 2001

please. not wendy's.
posted by clavdivs at 6:20 AM on July 2, 2001

Stevis, I've already picked one. That's why I'm a member of the Libertarian Party, who want to get the government out of your private life *and* out of your wallet.
posted by jammer at 6:28 AM on July 2, 2001

That being said (sorry, can't help a bit of proselytizing on a Monday morning), my favorite vanity plate ever said simply "MWMWMWMW", which made no sense to me, until the car had pulled away a little bit, and I realized that the text just faded to an indescript blob of blue, impossible to make out. Clever,
posted by jammer at 6:35 AM on July 2, 2001

I think I'm going to reserve MUF DYV in New York....
posted by tweebiscuit at 7:44 AM on July 2, 2001

The best "offensive" plate I have ever seen is "QTRU18".
posted by machaus at 8:05 AM on July 2, 2001 [1 favorite]

My first day in San Francisco, I spotted a motorcycle with the plate: "8 UNCT."
posted by feckless at 8:14 AM on July 2, 2001

I don't understand why anything is disallowed. You could affix a sticker with the word Copul8 on it to your car, but suddenly when it is in plate form the community gets a say? I am not real keen on licensing cars in the first place, and I figure if I kick in extra from the extorted amount, it is nobodies business what it says. I have always thought there should be a cost for requesting the removal of liberty ie: we'll ban guns but you have to give up abortion too (I cannot think of a better example right now, I beg you all not to mention guns or abortions in response), and then we can remove the niceness and have a real race to the bottom.
posted by thirteen at 8:44 AM on July 2, 2001

Heh. Reminds me of a site I was looking at yesterday for laughs which sells "liberal" shirts, bumper stickers, etc. On one page was a bumper sticker reading "You can have my gun when you pry it from my paranoid, mentally disturbed, physically-abusive, cold, dead hand". On another was one which said "If you can't trust me with a choice, how can you trust me with a child?" I felt myself wanting to ask why The People should be trusted on issue A, but not in issue B. Everyone wants to have their cake and eat it, too...

Incidentally, I find myself wanted to by that "You can have my gun..." sticker. It's so over-the-top it comes back down the other side.
posted by jammer at 9:34 AM on July 2, 2001

In that case, I think the numbers 13, 69, 402 and 666 should be banned from -everywhere-. Even maths books. We shall simply have to work around them, as they are inoffensive and not fit for a modern caring society.

Yep.. 400 + 2 must now equal 403, kids!
posted by wackybrit at 9:52 AM on July 2, 2001

402? Should I ask?

Interestingly, there was a recent report that Vermont denied personalised plates to a minister and his wife on the grounds that their request could be construed as "offensive or confusing" to the public. They wanted "Romans 5" and "Romans 8" which are, of course, references to portions of the New Testament. How that could be offensive or confusing continues to elude me.

That said, some of the linked complaints are a little silly, but I wonder if anyone would take the "IH8" plate a bit more seriously if we substituted "GAYS" "JEWS" "MEN" or "BLKS" in place of "GOP?" Hate is hate, isn't it, or does that only apply in certain cases?
posted by Dreama at 10:10 AM on July 2, 2001

some corporate policies say it's ok to make jokes about a person's political affiliation or occupation while jokes about innate characteristics of a person are off limits. i think that's the difference.
posted by tolkhan at 10:30 AM on July 2, 2001

402? Should I ask?

I think he meant 420.
posted by Dirjy at 10:55 AM on July 2, 2001

Dreama, the GOP is an organization, not a type of person. Nobody in their right mind would say that "I hate NASA" is as offensive as "I hate blacks."
Why are there personalized license plates to begin with? Just as another source of income for the DMV? They always seemed very silly and distracting to me.
posted by Doug at 11:05 AM on July 2, 2001

Would "IH8 DOT" be an acceptable substitute?
posted by harmful at 11:48 AM on July 2, 2001

I've never understood the Republican disconnect between "less government is better" and "please government, intervene to protect us from things we consider to be morally outrageous."

It's very simple: There's a difference between someone who simply checked the "Republican" box on his voter registration form, and the actual Party.
posted by aaron at 12:06 PM on July 2, 2001

Original Plate: 6Q 2Q
Plate has been altered with red tape: 6Q -2Q [The red tape is used as a minus sign.]

Cosequently the meaning 6Q minus 2Q intent = FQ or fu-- you.

Boy. Somebody really dislikes rebus fans.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 12:27 PM on July 2, 2001

Okay, then, pick a belief structure that is voluntary and plug it in where GOP was. It's still an expression of prejudice and hatred that has no place in civil society. I don't care whether you hate me because of my skin colour, my religion or my political beliefs, I don't find it acceptable.
posted by Dreama at 2:46 PM on July 2, 2001

In Virginia a guy won a court case to keep his GOVT SUX plate. :)

One of my faves was a fake plate in some movie: BRD SHT.
posted by NortonDC at 3:29 PM on July 2, 2001

I think BRD SHT was from the Robert Altman film "Brewster McCloud," a weird little flick just post-"M*A*S*H" with Sally Kellerman, Bud Cort, and some others I can't recall without looking it up at IMDB.
posted by jdbanks at 4:27 PM on July 2, 2001

Dreama, that was a political statement encoded on a number plate.

As dearly as you may hold them, your political beliefs are not in the same category as your skin color, ethnicity, sex, sexual preference or religion. Why? Because political views are by their nature adversarial. In a pluralistic society, people can hold political views that are diametrically opposed to each other and its the constant debating and bickering that makes things liveable.

In a nutshell, you can't protect your politics (and especially your political organization) and keep it above criticism or insult. It's what politics is all about.
posted by lagado at 5:09 PM on July 2, 2001 [1 favorite]

I am not real keen on licensing cars in the first place, and I figure if I kick in extra from the extorted amount, it is nobodies business what it says. I have always thought there should be a cost for requesting the removal of liberty etc etc.

off topic:
I suppose any thread about government authorization and licensing should be expected to bring out some libertarian rhetoric but I have one question for thirteen, jammer or anyone else holding libertarian views.

If all taxes are seen as "extortion" and "removal of liberty", how do libertarians justify the very notion of "private property"?

This seems to me to be the main philosophical difference between the political doctrines of Anarchism and Libertarianism, both of whom see the State as an external and inhuman imposition.

Anarchists on one hand see the abolition of the State as a desirable goal because it also would bring about the end of private property. Libertarians on the other hand seem to want their cake and eat it too.

The concept of private property seems to presuppose the existence of a legislature and a legal system through which such rights are defined and protected. But surely that requires a strong State to make that work and therefore a taxation system to pay for it, let alone an armed forces to protect it and a police force to enforce it. In other words rights like the right to own property don't come without an imposition of some kind.

(Before the emergence of the State, there was no such thing as private property. Look at hunter-gatherer societies for example. Land ownership is an unknown concept in fact the land could even be said to "own" its inhabitants. In later societies, property was owned by the guy with the bigger army.)

So how then can taxes be seen as "extortionate"? I'm assuming that you're not going to protect your property with just that rifle under your bed...
posted by lagado at 5:49 PM on July 2, 2001

"I hate the KKK." "I hate Nazi's" Hmm, yeah, Dreama, those statements would be unduly hateful, and should never be made.
But this, of course, is just a vulgar reiteration of what Lagado has already stated.
posted by Doug at 5:59 PM on July 2, 2001

Libertarians on the other hand seem to want their cake and eat it too.

You commies just don't get it, do you? :)

We libertarians view government as a necessary evil. A government is necessary for a very few things, which are proscribed in such documents as Constitutions. Everything else, they should not be involved in.

We believe this because (a) we love liberty, on a personal, individual level, hence the name, and (b) governments have a natural tendency toward tyranny (as well as ****ing things up).

So yes, of course we want our cake and to eat it too - IT'S OUR DAMNED CAKE!

PS: my license plate: ABF 427. What it means: nothing.
posted by UncleFes at 8:10 PM on July 2, 2001

That's for that, Unk.

Not meaning to derail my own thread or anything, I was just curious about a philosophy whose proponents frequently use such loaded terms.

(kinda reminds me of my old red-raggin' days ;-j)
posted by lagado at 8:48 PM on July 2, 2001

Personally I can't think of two more beneficial acts to human kind than getting rid of public libraries and privatizing roads. :)
Gotta love the libertarians, though. Pretty much everyone thinks they're half right.
posted by Doug at 10:37 PM on July 2, 2001 [1 favorite]

Hey Lagado, I wrote you a nice reply, but cracked up my machine before I was able to post it. I don't feel like doing it again, so I will catch you next time. A shame, cause it was passionate and convincing. You would have begun feeling put upon by the heavy burden of government too!
posted by thirteen at 7:45 PM on July 4, 2001

Oh well, next time then.
posted by lagado at 6:20 AM on July 7, 2001

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