LANSING, MICH. - License plates have made Michigan headlines lately, with Gov. Rick Snyder currently mulling new legislation that would allow Michiganders to buy fundraising plates supporting antiabortion groups.
But mini-controversies are routine at the Secretary of State, where a committee regularly gives the "yea" or "nay" on so-called vanity plates, those custom configurations Michigan motorists use to dress up their vehicles with a personal message. Think "DADS BABY" on the back of a classic Mustang.
As of May 31, there were more than 300,000 personalized license plates in circulation, but the Secretary of State maintained a list of 27,401 configurations that were either preemptively deemed unacceptable or were requested by motorists but denied. The state's personalized plate policy broadly prohibits any configurations with a "connotation offensive to good taste and decency," and specifically prohibits references to drugs or alcohol, certain body parts, violence or disparaging phrases.
The banned list includes:
- Literally hundreds of variations of the f-word, including "FWORD"
- "ALCOHOL" and the misspelled "ALCAHOL," along with "ABEER," "BEEEER" (yes, four E's), "CHIVAS," "CUERVOS" and "VINOGAL"
- Hundreds of variations of body parts and things drivers apparently want done to or want to do to those body parts
- At least three references to avian fecal matter (maybe the motorists requesting those phrases thought it would prevent droppings on their car, the way dressing up like a goblin at Halloween is supposed to scare away evil spirits)
- Lots of hate, including hate for automakers — "H8FORD," "IH8GM," "H8HONDA," and the more general "H8MPORTS"; for politicians — "H8HILRY," "H8LBRLS," "H8LIBS," "H8GOP"; and the more personal, "H8EXWIF"; others would espouse tolerance but still run afoul of Secretary of State policies, like "H8H8RS"
- At least eight variants of "BOOGER"
- "ISPEED," "SPEEDR," and "TAILME" (the state apparently wants to discourage bad driving)
- Nine variations of "REDRUM" (that's "murder" backwards, as made famous by the Stephen King novel and Stanley Kubrick film "The Shining"); the list also bans "BLOOOD" and "BLOODY"
- Several racial slurs and epithets, including someone who just wanted to proclaim "RACIST"
See the complete list in the document below. Can't see it below? Click here.
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