Bumpers Wrapped In Red Tape

Feb 2 2013 @ 7:34am

Rob Beschizza flags a compilation of vanity plates banned in various states:

Government Attic queried various states for their lists of forbidden license plates, and has begun posting the results. The most striking quality of the lists are their sheer size: states ban words with wild abandon, from misspelled swear words (COKK, banned in Ark.) to French drinks (COGNAC, unacceptable in Az.) and network engineer humor (FTPLOL, no go in D.C.), including countless variations.

Megan Garber assesses how Internet-speak has infiltrated our plates:

One reason for all this word-banning excess, presumably, is that digital communication — texting, gchatting, emailing — has unleashed unto the world a whole new lexicon of license-plate-brief words and expressions. “ROFLMAO” is a helpful abbreviation both for a chat window and a letter-limited license plate. As a result of which, it is now banned in Arizona. So is “LOLWTF.” And D.C. has banned, more obscurely but perhaps more revealingly, “FAQH8RS.” Txtspk has opened our minds, it seems, to the linguistic power of cheekily abbreviated suggestion: Because of it, we now have new portmanteaus and new acronyms and new ways, in general, to be subversive. “ASSMAN” is for amateurs. In 2013, we have “GR8D8B8.” Or, we would if it the government hadn’t banned it.