Friday, July 10, 2009

"Fried Fridays: Is Santa next?..."

"Sticks and stones
May break my bones,
But words will never hurt me!"

I have dusty memories from being in my single-digit years, but I remember two words that we siblings would throw around at each other in a somewhat derogatory way: "Pie" and "Pansy".

"You Pie!"
"Yeah, well you're a Pansy!"

And then came the chastising by mom not to say such things...ah, the simple days.


Maybe you're not one for personalized plates, but I have been. I've owned "4X5 VIEW" when I had my photography studio and shot large format some..."1BZZYB" when I owned my awesome (and small!) Geo Metro Convertible that was bright yellow with a black top...and "UGLYBOYS" for the obvious flute reference.

62-year old William Junge owns a nice big ol' Chevy Tahoe, he does. In 1999 he applied for his own custom Nevada plate and wanted "TAHOE" (as if the tailgate nameplate isn't visible enough). As luck, or the lack thereof, would have it, it was already taken. So he got his second choice instead: "HOE".

When it all began, I know not. But I do know a supervisor with the DMV sought to have Mr. Junge's plate revoked on the basis of the impropriety of "HOE" referring to the vernacular slang for a prostitute.

I always thought that was spelled "HO", but I digress...

(cue the cricket chirps)

Oh, we're talking myriad boxing rounds in the court system, with the ACLU stepping in and ultimately riding that legal pony all the way to state Supreme Court which is where the DMV chose to take the issue. The DMV was riding hard on the definitions found in the web-based Urban Dictionary, wherein 'hoe' is listed as a demeaning word to not only prostitutes but women in general.

What pansies...

The ACLU, in level-headed fashion, basically said what idiot would base their sole definition of a word from some informal street slang dictionary? Clearly there are other non-offensive definitions that preexisted...

"Farmer John dug up his juicy beets with a prostitute..."

The justices ruled in favor of Mr. Junge, allowing him to keep his "HOE" plate. The DMV wasted incredible amounts of taxpayer money to pursue a fuzzy-at-best issue. Congratulations, y'all.

Boy, it's a good thing the ruling didn't go in favor of the DMV...imagine the legal sparring that would have ensued to alter Santa's famous chortle...

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