A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
The War on Common Sense continues and, in fact, has opened up a whole new battleground – automobile licence plates. (FYI: if you have enough money, you can choose what is printed on your automobile’s licence plate. For example, according the BBC, in Dubai, the plate “1” sold for over ten million dollars. (That’s right – over 10 million US dollars!) However, you have to be careful. Let me tell you a cautionary tale.
Way back in 1990, in my country, Canada, a guy by the name of Lorne Grabher bought a “vanity plate” with his name on it – GRABHER – no space, no lower case, just GRABHER. For the next 26 years, he drove his car around the streets with his last name in full view of the unsuspecting (and, I’m assuming, unconcerned) Canadian public. This all came to a screaming halt in 2016 when the government received an “anonymous complaint.” I don’t know what the complaint said, but the government shot into action, and Mr. Grabher was informed that he had to surrender his licence plate because it was a “socially unacceptable slogan.” I can only imagine the conversation.
Grabher – “It’s not a slogan, you idiot: it’s my last name!”
Bureaucrat – “We’re the government, and we don’t care.”
Anyway, our boy, Grabher, decided he wasn’t going to surrender his last name without a fight and took the government to court. The government, who has more taxpayer money than brains, replied with the bureaucratic equivalent of “Okay! Bring it on!” and called in the big guns. They retained an expert, Dr. Carrie Rentschler, Associate Professor of Feminist Media Studies at McGill University, to deliver a report on the subject. In the report, Rentschler maintains that, among other things, the questionable license plate is an “act of violence,” “supports violence against women,” “endangers women” and implies “by the pussy.” Strong stuff!
However, Mr. Grabher also retained an expert, Dr. Debra Soh, who has a PhD in Sexual Neuroscience from York University. In her report, Dr. Soh wrote, “Mr. Grabher’s plate is not offensive or dangerous to women by any means, and I have found no evidence to support the idea that a license plate bearing his surname would increase rates of sexual violence against women or encourage societal attitudes supportive of sexual assault. To suggest that Mr. Grabher’s surname is ‘a statement in support of physical violence against women’ is completely unfounded”
The battle rages, and the court date, after much jockeying by both sides, is set for April, 2019.
I’m no expert either way, but this is totally nutsy! A two-year court case over a license plate that existed for a quarter of a century before it offended anybody? I’m pretty sure the courts have better things to do with their time, like – maybe — hearing cases of real domestic violence? Plus, it’s the guy’s last name, for God’s sake! Which, according to Dr. Carrie Rentschler, means his very existence “supports violence against women.” If that’s the case, where did the guy work? There are not a lot of companies around that want an employee whose name implies “by the pussy.” Who were his friends? How did he ever get a date? “Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. My name is “a statement in support of physical violence against women.” Is Betty ready to go to the Prom?” Yeah, that works! And it goes on and on. Given this kind of round-the -bend logic, postal workers should refuse to deliver Mr. Grabher’s mail just because it’s got his name on it. Think about it!
Here’s the deal, folks. Our society hasn’t lost its common sense: common sense is under attack, and we’d better start defending ourselves before it’s too late.