When I was a child growing up in Pittsburgh, there was a car wash called “Spic ‘n Span” that had under its name a pair of cartoon characters one of which was labeled “Mr. Span.” You can guess what his companion was called.
Nowadays, the name of the business itself would never see the light of day. Here in twenty-first-century America we have been so paranoid about giving offense that we go to impressive lengths to avoid even a suggestion of impropriety. Sadly, that is no guarantee that someone won’t find a reason to complain.
Take the message below, which has appeared on the sides of Pittsburgh buses for the last decade-plus:
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes that the message is one of several slogans (others include “Rockin’ Rollin’,” “Movin’ Groovin’,” and “Movin’ Shakin’”) adopted in 2003 by the Port Authority of Allegheny County.
But last Wednesday a driver caught a glimpse of one of the buses in her rear-view mirror and noticed that one of the words seems to spell out a racial slur:
“Port Authority certainly did not intend for this message to offend anyone,” agency spokesman Jim Ritchie said, adding:
However, due to recent complaints about how this message appears when read backward, we have decided to remove the message from our vehicles. We apologize to anyone who may have been offended.
Agency workers, he explained, will be tasked with peeling off the decals, noting that if the outline of the letters is still visible once the decals are gone the Port Authority will “find a way to cover it with advertising of some sort.”
A simpler solution would be for everyone to grow up and stop looking for reasons to be insulted.
(h/t The Blaze)
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