Thursday, August 31, 2006

License to (Insert Joke Here)

I am amused by the whole idea that people call in to their local DMV to report obscene license plates. I recall a while back two Virginia women had "2 DYKES" on their plate and were reported and asked to turn in their plate for something not obscene. The women were lesbians and felt they were claiming the term rather than using it in an obscene or derogatory way.

Well a grandmother in Ohio has had her vanity plate for ten years. (Aside here: it's interesting that people feel the need to refer to her as a grandmother, since her progeny status has nothing to do with the story. I guess we are supposed to believe that all grandmothers are sweet and inoffensive. I have no reason to believe this woman is not, but anyway.) It is the initials of the farm she and her late husband had owned - Northwood Tree Farm - NWTF. She was reported by someone who took the letters to represent "Now What The Fuck". Her plates have been returned to her.

As Ms. Niple pointed out, "You can't take any letter of the alphabet and make something out of it. I don't think we need to give in to obscenity or derogatory things." And she has a point. After all, if her name had been Wilhemina Theresa Farmer, I think everyone would agree it is okay for her to have her initials on her plate, regardless of the fact that WTF now has an alternate meaning.

As DC moves through the alphabet with the new letter plates I am fascinated by the fun to be had. (DC plates used to be all numbers. They now have two letters followed by four numbers.) They started with AA plates, which made one visitor ask me if DC was identifying drunk drivers with special plates. Then they got to the B's, and there was BJ and BM. As far I know, no one has suggested that these are obscene.