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October 8, 2005
Message Received, Moonbat

I remember a conversation I had a few years ago with my neighbor's son. He and his father had an argument about the way he dressed and he asked me my opinion. He had recently adopted a pseudo-gangster chic that ran as a fad with suburban kids for a while, and I asked him whether he meant to support gangbanging when he walked out the door. The Kid then accused me of superficialism, and that his dress didn't say anything about what kind of person he was.

"Then you tell me," I said, "why you dress like that."

"I want to express myself," he replied. "This is who I am."

"I understand that," I said, "but if you want to send a message by the clothes you wear, you can't blame us if we see the message and judge you for supporting it. If you're expressing yourself by wearing gangster chic, then you either support gangbanging or you're a phony."

The Kid stopped arguing at that point -- he's actually pretty sharp and just hadn't thought his argument through to its conclusion. Unfortunately, some adults appear incapable of doing so no matter what age they attain (in chronological terms). A 32-year-old woman wants to sue Southwest Airlines for ejecting her from a flight after other passengers objected to an obscene T-shirt she wore on the flight:

Lorrie Heasley, 32, boarded a Southwest Airlines flight in Los Angeles wearing a T-shirt with a design including the images of President George W Bush, Dick Cheney, the Vice President, and Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, above an obscene variation on the title of the hit comedy film Meet the Fockers.

When the plane made a scheduled stop in Reno, Nevada, passengers joining the flight complained to cabin crew. Ms Heasley, who was accompanied by her husband Ron, was asked to wear her top inside out, but she refused and was ejected. ...

Ms Heasley, a lumber trader from Washington state, said she wore the top as a joke for her Democrat-voting parents who were waiting to collect her from the airport in Portland, Oregon.

She said she planned to file a civil rights complaint against the airline.

I doubt the complaint will get anywhere. The airplane does have rules that allow them to deny service to anyone dressed in a lewd or obscene manner, and someone deliberately wearing a shirt with the word "F***ers" rather prominently displayed should not find herself surprised to receive undue attention. The likeliest outcome will be a refund from Southwest Airlines and an invitation to try other carriers in the future.

Heasley claims that this ejection violated her civil rights, which is clearly balderdash. Southwest Airlines, as a private enterprise, has the right to set terms and conditions for their services as long as those rules do not unfairly apply to certain classes of people. If Ms. Heasley wants to claim that a ban on obscenities prominently displayed on clothing unfairly discriminates against the tasteless and rude, she may have a point, but those are not protected classes .. at least not yet.

In fact, the rational Left should find the popularity of this shirt appalling. It made quite a number of appearances during our state fair this year -- where children and their parents could judge the tenor of political debate coming from the supposed grown-ups in the so-called Loyal Opposition. It surpasses even the ladylike Teresa Heinz Kerry's distribution of the "Asses of Evil" buttons as campaign trinkets for Democratic staffers.

Doesn't this level of emotional and intellectual immaturity ever embarrass liberals? Even a little? None I see make the connection that The Kid understood after two minutes of debate. If the Left wears obscenities and immaturity almost literally on its sleeves, why would they expect anyone to take them seriously?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 8, 2005 8:29 AM

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