Shirts and Skins?

wampumThe Washington Redskins lost trademark protection from the U.S. Government the other day on the basis that the term “redskins” is considered disparaging to Native Americans. Apparently this is not the first time the Patent and Trademark Office nixed a name for protection. Others that have fallen short include a rock band called the Slants (disparaging to Asians) and Heeb Magazine (disparaging to Heebs, I guess). But when you consider the sheer volume of trademark requests (>300,000 in 2012), the USPTO denies very few on the basis that they are disparaging.

The assumption is that the owners of the Redskins will finally capitulate and change the team’s name. To what, who knows. Some ideas floating around include Warriors, Redhawks, Renegades, Pigskins, and just plain Skins. (If they go with Skins, I sure as hell hope a new franchise is formed called the Shirts.)

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Regardless of how the Redskins handle their name, will they retain the Native American garb worn by their squaws?

But what about all the other offensive names adorning professional sports teams? Can we expect forthcoming rescission of trademark protection for them. Next on the chopping block?

Minnesota Vikings
The original Vikings of Scandinavia practiced a method of execution called the “blood eagle” that involved cutting the ribs of the victim by the spine, breaking the ribs so they resembled blood-stained wings, and pulling the lungs out through the wounds in the victim’s back. Disparaging to anyone whose ancestors suffered this torturous procedure.

San Francisco 49ers
Named for the gold-addled maniacs who rushed to California to pan streams for the shiny metal, the 49ers bear the stain of a period in our country’s history that resulted in attacks on Native Americans, who were forcibly removed from their lands. An estimated 100,000 California Indians died between 1848 and 1868, and some 4,500 of them were murdered. Now that’s what I call disparaging.

New Orleans Saints
Sainthood is bestowed on dead people whom the Catholic Church deems worthy of significant recognition. The whole process can take centuries, and requires documentation that the candidate has performed at least two miracles (walking on water, then changing it into wine while still walking on it might qualify.) Disparaging to all those non-Catholics out there whose chances of sitting in Heaven’s skybox next to the Big Guy are nil.

New York Yankees
Disparaging to Confederates.

Cincinnati Reds
Disparaging to Communists

Chicago White Sox
Disparaging to nerds.

Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Blachawks
Why stop with the Redskins when plenty more teams have shamelessly co-opted the Native American for profit. Bad shit happened to the Indians in Kansas in the 1800s. Cleveland uses a cartoonish “Chief Wahoo” image, Atlanta fans chant a phony Indian war-call while making chopping tomahawk motions, and the Blackhawks logo is at least as bad as the Redskins’.

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Trademarks revoked! Suggested new names: Kansas City Titties, Cleveland Grovers, Atlanta Gridlock, and Chicago Argyle Sox.

Fun with Dick and Liz (not them, the other boring ones)

Soon after Dick and Liz Cheney co-wrote an Op-Ed column recently for the Wall Street Journal excoriating Obama and his administration for lackluster foreign policy performance, opining that “rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,” countermeasures came swiftly. Even Megyn Kelly of Fox News took Mr. Five Deferments and his dimwit daughter to task, stating the obvious: “Time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong in Iraq as well, sir. You said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. You said we would be greeted as liberators. You said the insurgency was in the last throes, back in 2005. And you said after our intervention that extremists would have to ‘rethink their strategy of jihad.’ Now with almost $1 trillion spent there, with 4,500 American lives lost there, what do you say to those who say, ‘You were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many’?” Ouch. Coming from a Foxette … double ouch.

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But in my opinion the best, drollest response to Cheney’s overwrought declaration came from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: ““Which president was he talking about?”

A tart and succinct parting shot from the soon-to-be-retired Carney.

It’s Nice to be Inhaled

WordPress, the hosting site for this and countless other blogs, supplies its contributors options for how they wish to deal with readers’ comments. The blogger can go from allowing anyone to comment at will without moderation, all the way down to mandatory moderation before the comments see the light of day. This punitive approach is provided in case the blogger wishes not to have his or her blog polluted by insolent spammers. Unfortunately, this is the option I have been forced to choose.

Although WordPress provides comment management tools, I would have thought they’d have created enough “artificial intelligence” to be able to tell spam from bona fide comments, making it easier on the blogger. After all, I’d much prefer to let meaningful comments pass through unmolested than to have to intervene manually.

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