Banned T-shirts

bush_lied_front_nov06_big.gifOne of my favorite online progressive news sources is  One of its advertisers is a shirt and bumper sticker vendor,, whose products have been banned–yes, banned–in five states.  The shirts list names of some of the 3,700+ who have died so far in Iraq, over which is superimposed legends such as “Bush Lied” (on front); “They Died” (on back).  My personal favorite is “Support Our Troops; Bring The

Remaining Home Alive.”  Arizona is the latest state to enact such a law, with the help of the incumbent Democratic governor, Janet Napolitano (mentioned as a possible VP):   Members of the Arizona legislature objected to the bill as clearly unconstitutional, but the families of the dead have been able to swing votes by objecting to the use of their loved ones’ names.  Those names are in the public domain, by the way.  The other states on this particular roll of shame include Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

Is it wrong for an individual to make a t-shirt to protest the war and use the names of war casualties as part of that protest?  Does it matter if the individual makes money from the sale of the shirt?  Haven’t we dealt with this before (ahem, Vietnam War, First Iraq War, 9/11), and why is this particular war raising hackles in a way that seems so much more emotionally charged?

Finally, who’d be willing to bet that the USSC won’t touch these laws with a 10-foot-pole?


2 Responses to Banned T-shirts

  1. laurabethnielsen says:

    It is alarming that these state legislators don’t have anything better to do. I mean they KNOW this is unconstitutional. does it imply a commitment on the state to litigate it when challenged? Or will they also instruct the police not to actually arrest anyone for wearing it? It is very early in the morning and I have had no coffee, but between this and david’s post about no political campaigning on the campus that happens to employ me, I am feeling a little testy.

    ***goes to make coffee***

  2. vickywoeste says:

    I know, it almost makes me want to move to Michigan just long enough to order a gross of the shirts to be sold to me there. btw, lb, can you please teach me how to make a link? i am terribly web un-enabled . . . shamefacedly, v.

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