Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

If we ban tackiness, where will it stop?

It might have been funny to watch lawmakers seriously consider a ban on a tacky novelty that hangs off a car bumper, to see us once again fight for the title of Silliest State in the Nation, if there wasn't so much actual work to be done in Tallahassee.

In the midst of soaring gas prices, the housing crisis, bloody budget cuts and fears about the economy comes the charge against TruckNutz — one of the more printable names for chrome or assorted-color replicas of what look to be a bull's, well, testicles.

Maybe you've seen them swinging from the trailer hitch or rearview mirror of a pickup truck flying by on the highway.

Trust me, you would remember.

Absolutely, they're tacky. Absolutely, some people are offended.

But to those who worry about how to explain this to their kids — all I can say is, you don't want to bring your kids over to my neighborhood dog park.

This week, your state Senate passed a larger bill that in part would make it a moving violation to sport a pair of the swinging things on your car.

So why would anyone want a set of these — at a cost of $15 to $39.99 depending on your preference for plastic or chrome, and easily affixed with fishing line or a shoelace, according to one Web site — on their car anyway?

Interestingly, I've never seen a set on a Volkswagen bug or a mini-Cooper, nor on a car with a woman behind the wheel, though no doubt they're out there. (Since women still earn less than their male counterparts, maybe there's a market. Maybe that's what's missing.)

Okay, so we want to start banning tacky? In Florida?

Let's get going, then.

That saucy wench profiled on the mud flaps of every third semi passing by could cost a trucker a day in traffic court. Cartoon Calvin gets to go on the target of choice no more.

Also, we need to scrape off our bumper stickers, all of 'em, including that old screed about how the only way they'll get our gun away from us is to pry it from our cold dead hands.

Plus the one about how nice it would be if we had to fund war and not our schools through bake sales. Someone, somewhere, probably finds that offensive, too.

We need to paint every house beige and get rid of those lawn gnomes. (Or would they fall under the bill's Ironic Kitsch Exemption?)

Which is where the whole thing goes from silly to potentially dangerous.

"What comes next?" asks First Amendment lawyer Luke Lirot. And, "I would be happy to take that case."

When the news broke, some people were outraged by the fact that legislators were wasting breath even talking about the offense of a car displaying "an image or device of reproductive glands."

This stirred subsequent and lively debate on the First Amendment.

It was suggested, more than once, that some legislators might want to go out and purchase themselves a pair.

"Ridiculous. Outlandish. A joke," wrote a reader on the Times' Web site.

"That's just great," said another, who wondered if this became law how he was supposed to identify "ignorant rednecks" with, um, certain insecurity issues.

You say offensive, I say funny.

Which is exactly the point.

If we ban tackiness, where will it stop? 04/24/08 [Last modified: Sunday, April 27, 2008 12:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

  2. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.
  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 26-July 2.


    Vans Warped Tour: The festival returns Saturday to St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park, featuring shock-metal icons Gwar, hardcore punks Sick Of It All, ska band Save Ferris and indie-pop group Never Shout Never ($39.50-$49.50). vanswarpedtour. …

    Crowd for the Motionless in White band at the 2014 Vans Warped Tour at Vinoy Park, Friday, July 25, 2014.  CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times
  4. Airbag maker Takata bankruptcy filing expected in Japan, U.S.


    DETROIT — Drowning in a sea of lawsuits and recall costs, Japanese airbag maker Takata Corp. is expected to seek bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the United States today.

  5. AP: Rick Scott to name Jimmy Patronis CFO on Monday


    From the AP's Gary Fineout:

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott is turning to a long-time political ally and former north Florida legislator to take over one of the top elected jobs in state government. 

    Then state Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City Beach, left, and Gov. Rick Scott, tour downtown Panama City, Fla. on Tuesday, April 19, 2011. Scott will name Patronis CFO on Monday.