lundi, mai 03, 2004

Fame and Fortune

I'll probably smoke a turd in hell for copying this out of the Post, but I don't get published everyday.

My letter to Dr. Gridlock avenges Hokies everywhere.

Tastefulness of Vanity Plate Is Fair Game for Disagreement

By Ron Shaffer

Offensive or Not?

On March 14, Donna L. Bruggeman of Springfield complained about the license plate CAVSUCK, which she called "derogatory garbage." The reference is to the University of Virginia Cavaliers. Bruggeman asked how such a plate could have passed a state review meant to weed out inappropriate vanity plates.

She wrote in a postscript that because the plate was in a Virginia Tech plate holder, she guessed its owner could not get into the University of Virginia.

I checked with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, and spokeswoman Pam Goheen said that the state receives 60,000 vanity license plate requests a month and that, of those, about 200 questionable ones go up the chain of command for further review.

Plates may be rejected if they are obscene, profane, vulgar or sexually explicit; refer to drugs or condone violence or illegal activities; or contain socially, racially or ethnically offensive remarks.

After Bruggeman's complaint was published, the DMV reviewed the plate at my request and concluded that because it did not meet any of the DMV criteria for rejection, it remains acceptable.

Several readers, all of whom wrote in before the DMV ruling, wanted their opinions heard.

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I'm really not sure whether that plate is offensive. I'm sure there are worse things printed on T-shirts in Blacksburg and Charlottesville.

But I was pretty offended at the way you chose to edit that letter. I'm not sure which is worse, choosing an offensive plate that can be read by tens of people daily or choosing one of the nation's largest newspapers to malign the academic standards of Virginia Tech.

On the one hand the language on the plate is probably over the top, but at least it was in the context of a sports rivalry.

On the other, Bruggeman's letter took a cheap and unwarranted shot at Virginia Tech students. In your editorial wisdom, you chose to include that sentence although it had nothing to do with her query.

Frankly I've come to expect an anti-Tech bias with at least some of the sports writers. But, in your column? It doesn't make any sense.

Paul Trumble



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