Friday, September 30, 2016

The best one I ever saw was #LB SAND

Please let me know if you are the sort of person who could be offended by the (up to) 7 characters on a Maryland vanity license tag.  Because if you are, maybe you should go to the Motor Vehicle Administration and volunteer to help them form the Outraged Upright Decent Peoples' Committee To Decide Who Can Have A Funny License On Their Car.

A man named John T. Mitchell from Accokeek, MD, got vanity plates from the Maryland MVA in 2009 with the tag "MIERDA". In case you didn't have access to a naughty Spanish dictionary, that word means "poop" or "junk." And then, in 2011, Mitchell got a letter from the MVA, asking that he return the tags, as they were issued in error. 

And this has been dragging through the courts ever since.  The state is represented by Assistant Attorney General Neil Jacobs, who told the court that the MVA has an "Objectionable Plate List" and MIERDA just made the list.  Alongside 4,605 other terms and phrases that "have scatological or sexual meaning; use curse words, epithets or obscenities; carry a 'fraudulent or deceptive purpose'; refer to illegal acts; or convey messages about a group's race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or disability."

Such as:  STUPID, FLAKE and BEDWETR, all of them banned.

Jacobs said of the list, "It builds over time…All different combinations of derogatory terms, scatological terms, obscenities that can be created by the manipulation of letters and numbers." 

All of this, of course, is predicated on the notion that someone, somewhere, might be ranked out by seeing EMS, CIA or FBI on the tag of a car that just passed them on the Beltway.

GOON.  ACDC. HELL. You can't have those tags either.

Back to the law...Mitchell was raised in Chile and identifies as Spanish-speaking, and he points out that MIERDA is not an obscene word because it has nothing to do with sex, but the MVA says, "Nuh-uh" and claims they get to decide what's fit for your eyes or the bumper on your Hyundai. 

Seriously, I don't see how people have time to call up the government and say, "Hello, MVA? Yes. I saw a car today on 40 West out near Howard County and I was shocked - SHOCKED - to see the license tag! It said COUGH! And I have a cold right now and I was mighty offended, so I demand that you make that person stop driving around, offending people."
Don't even ask for this one.

It's reminiscent of when the late City Councilman Mimi DiPietro sought to get rid of peepshows on The Block on the grounds that "Men were going in there and degenerating."

Tag!  You're it!

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