I'm offended by Southwest Airlines

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

MeetthefuckersOK, so here's the deal: Lorrie Heasley was traveling home to Portland from Los Angeles on Southwest Airlines. As a gag (for her parents, who are Democrats), she wore a t-shirt that read "Meet the Fuckers" with a photo of various members of the Bush Administration. (You might remember the recent Hollywood hit Meet the Fockers.)

Anyway, it appears that some of her fellow passengers were offended. So, in Reno - part way home - Southwest Airlines chucked Lorrie off the plane. KNRV has the story:

Heasley boarded her flight Tuesday morning in Los Angeles, headed for Portland, Oregon with a stopover in Reno. But when Southwest Airlines employees asked her to cover her shirt, her stop over became a stop off her flight.

"I was told that basically that I had to cover my shirt, or I was told if I cover the shirt I can basically stay on the plane."

So she covered the shirt, but during a nap while passengers were boarding in Reno the cover came off. And Southwest employees insisted, change the shirt, or change flights. "I didn't feel that I should have to change my shirt, because we live in the United States, and it's freedom of speech and it was based on the move "The Fockers", and I didn't think it should have offended anyone."

But it did.

Of course, from a legal standpoint, Southwest can probably throw anyone off their plane they want. But, should they?

Beyond that discussion, use this space to describe t-shirts that you've seen on Southwest Airlines (or anywhere else) that are MORE offensive to you than "Meet the Fuckers".

  • Chris McMullen (unverified)
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    Moreover, if a neo-nazi was booted off a plane for wearing an SS uniform, would Lorrie Heasley feel his rights were violated?

    I think not.

  • Robert Harris (unverified)
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    I have to tell you that if I was on that plane with my children (ages 8-15) I would be offended. I don't want my children to think its proper to use the most extreme profanity in public, even if its couched in political terms. In fact, thats almost worse, because I want my kids to be respectful political activists.

    And don't forget, the passenger sitting right next to Ms. Heasley the couldn't very well avoid her or get up and leave. They were stuck. Sort of like why they don't allow smoking on an airplane. Can't really get away from it.

    What about this....Since the Oregon Supreme court has recently said live sex acts are protected free speech, what would you think if two passengers started engaging in sexual intercourse in the airline aisle (after they got into oregon airspace of course). Protected free speech? Yup. Should you allow it on an airline? What if one of the partners said they didn't think anyone would be offended because it was based on a recent movie?

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    To that dig about the recent supreme court ruling, I say: Whatever!

    The court held that the live sex shows were constitutionally protected only if they occurred in a place where only consenting adults were allowed. Obviously, your average flight on Southwest doesn't count. Now, if Hooters Air or something like that did live sex shows in Oregon airspace-only rides, and only consenting adults were allowed on board, it seems to me that'd be constitutionally protected. But that has nothing to do with Meeting the Fuckers.

  • Jim (unverified)
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    Hey - I'm proud of Southwest Airlines, and they ahve given me yet another great reason to fly them as often as possible.

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    Robert, you wrote, " the passenger sitting right next to Ms. Heasley the couldn't very well avoid her or get up and leave."

    Not true. On Southwest, it's cattle-car seating. Sit where you want.

  • Michael Larkin (unverified)
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    Southwest Airlines was within their rights, and I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that their response was due to the f-word and not because of the politcal statement. I'm not a prude, and I don't find the shirt particularly offensive, but I can understand that passengers wouldn't want their kids to have to look at it. If the woman had been arrested for wearing the shirt, that would be a gross violation of her civil rights. I am much more appalled by the case of the man and his son who were arrested for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts (which did not have any obscene words)

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    Robert.... Obviously, we don't have the key details - but I suspect that the 'offense' was about calling the president a name, not the specific profanity.

    If it said, "Meet the Jerks", methinks the same would have ensued.

    I've seen LOTS of profanity on t-shirts on Southwest Airlines flights, and no one has ever cared.

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    Incidentally, can we talk about this business of "exposing kids to profanity"?

    Either they've heard the F word before and know what it means - and so seeing it again doesn't harm them --- or they've never seen it before, and they wouldn't have any idea what it means.

    Sounds to me like the problem is with the parents' exposure, not the kids'.

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    I've worn my "Vote F*cker" shirt around my daughter and she's never asked what the shirt said. As a matter of fact, she's never asked what any of my shirts say.

    By the time my nieces and nephews were old enough to ask what a shirt said, they already knew the F-word word and had said it a few times.

    When I went home earlier this year and wore the "Vote F*cker" shirt, they got a good laugh out of it (they were 11, 13, 15, and 16 at the time). We usually pair it up with my daughter's "My IQ is higher than the President's" shirt.

    However, I've been wary to wear it into stores and such because I have the feeling they'll do the same thing that Southwest Airlines did.

    If someone was cursing up a storm near my daughter, I'd think about complaining. But that's because she's 3 1/2 and is a little sponge right now, so she'd repeat every word she heard.

    But a t-shirt? Come on. I see worse shirts all the time when I'm out with my daughter, including on some plane trips. I've never complained and would never think to do so.

  • saguarosam (unverified)
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    Another case of people feeling "patriotic". It's simple really: Though govt. can do many things to make our lives miserable i the name of "freedom" and "patriotism", one of the most effective is to raise the battlecry of war and for the most part, the people do the rest, wresting liberties and freedoms from those who desire to keep them. That familiar Franklin quote is appropo here: They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

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    In a free society, you don't have the right not to be offended. You may stay at home, but once you hit public space, you join the community, and in a community, someone might not agree with you.

    It is true that Southwest may have had the legal right, but we should go ahead and publicize this -- they also have the right to lose business for bigoted stupidity.

    As for a more offensive shirt--how 'bout Bush/Cheney '04. That offends me.

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    Wait a minute. Ms. Heasley was traveling from Los Angeles to Portland and they kicked her off in Reno? I think that's substantially different from not letting her board the plane in Los Angeles. All things considered, I'd probably rather be representing the passenger in that lawsuit.

  • Charlie (unverified)
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    So the F-word is okay in public? Is that what you all are saying? What about a t-shirt with graphic descriptions of lewd sex acts? Is that okay?

    Somebody tell me where to draw the line. Honestly, this lady is tasteless and deserves what she got. There are better ways to protest than making yourself look like an idiot.

  • Randy (unverified)
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    The point of this matter is the offensive word on the shirt .. plain and simple. This lady can wear her shirt in public anytime she wants. An airplane operated by a commercial business with set policies is not a public arena.

    She had options available to her in order to continue, but chose not to. A judge won't waste a moment of time to here this case.

  • sheila (unverified)
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    Charlie: what alternate universe have you been living in? Go just about anywhere and you will hear the "F bomb" dropped, and if you were to take a couple of minutes to peruse people's t-shirts, you would see plenty whose taste could could be questioned. Is it okay-I don't know...but is it accepted behavior-absolutely.

  • civiletti (unverified)
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    "Fuck", like "jazz" and "rock and roll", has significant meaning beyond copulation. The tee shirt in question had little to do with sex, it seems to me. Some folks consider the word crude, and some folks don't use the word so as not to offend those who find it crude. Other folks think we should just get the fuck over it.

  • Bassbird (unverified)
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    Man, the same thing happened to me. I had this great T-Shirt with a picture of a Giant cock breaching an anus, and they made me put my fucking coat on. This was on horizon thou, not SW.

  • AvengingAngel (unverified)
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    How about a compromise?

    Here's a more family friendly Bush T-shirt design.

  • TimC (unverified)
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    Just because something is protected free speech, does not mean I want to have to listen to it, read it, or especially have my children exposed to it. There is a place in the world for parody, protest, and even vulgarity. But in my family we don't use vulgar words, and try to avoid even unkind words. I also raise my children to say Please and Thank You. It's called common courtesy. What a silly notion.

    Do you honestly believe that she would have been kicked off the plane if the shirt said "Meet the Jerks"? Really?

  • sheila (unverified)
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    TimC: yes. really. Don't forget, during the election year, people were thrown out of Bush events on a regular basis, simply because of the t-shirts they were wearing.

  • Pedro (unverified)
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    I wonder if many of the posters above felt the same way about Dick Cheney telling Pat Leahy to "FUCK OFF" on the Senate floor.

    Wing nuts seem to have a malfunctioning moral compass!

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    Wow. Don't know what to write. This seems so insular, so disconnected, so smug.

    "Meet the Jerks" would NOT have resulted in her removal from the plane. I volunteer to do a test the next time I fly. I'll bet anyone the price of my plane ticket that Southwest won't kick me off.

    Did this have something to do also with the President being on the shirt? Of course, but we have a long tradition of making fun of our politicians. But MEET THE FUCKERS is not sarcasm, it's not witty, it's not ironic, it's nothing but flat out crude.

    To make her parents laugh? Really? What a witty, funny people. Meet the Fuckers. Oh, I get it, a take off on FOCKERS which is just FUCKERS! Ha ha ha! What a good one! Boy that sure was hard to figure out!

    And I don't care if you can hear people say FUCKER all the time and FUCK this and FUCK that. If you think FUCK is so accepted, please start saying FUCK in your business meetings and FUCK thanks to the cashier and FUCK please fix my FUCKING tire to the serviceperson . And let's see how you get treated.

    You know, the best thing is that she learned something about what free speech actually means. This has NOTHING to do with free speech! Free speech does not mean you have license to say anything and do anything anywhere. When you are on a plane, you are in a commercial environment controlled by the airline.

  • Bob (unverified)
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    First Amendment:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    It doesn't say anything about Southwest Airlines. They can boot anyone they want. Quit your fucking crying about it.

  • elmo (unverified)
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    how come they can remove a cross on a war monument. that is in public view, in san diego ca..... because it "offends the atheists"?? so why the heck can't people who are offended by foul language,have it removed from sight on an airplane...?? come on people, use your common sense, southwest can do whatever they want on their planes.... just like stores or restraunts that post " no shirt, no shoes, ..no service" signs....... and by the way i was at the san diego airport a couple of years ago when a teenager who was in line to board the flight, was told to change his shirt, cover it with a jacket or wear it inside-out or he would not be allowed to fly... his shirt had the letters FU on the front and CK on the back... The kid complained, at first, but his parents agreed that the shirt could be construed as offensive and made his turn it inside out .

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    Elmo--

    Was that war monument paid for with private or public dollars? Was it on public property? If it was public dollars/property, it was removed because of the separation of church & state and is a different issue than this.

    <hr/>

    It's funny that drunks, people that kick your seats repeatedly after being warned by airline personnel, etc. can stay on a plane, but heaven forbid your shirt have the word "fuck" on it.

    You have to realize that most people didn't complain because of the word "fuckers." They complained because the word was used towards Bush/Cheney. Had it been something they agreed with (maybe Bill & Hillary), they wouldn't have said a thing. One or two may have complained because of the word, but it was mostly over who it was aimed at.

    And come on! How many people on the plane really see (or pay attention to) what your clothes say? Can't say I've ever paid much attention at all to what my neighbors on the plane are wearing. I'm usually more interested in getting comfortable and getting the CD player going.

    I've flown S.A. before, as it's an easy flight to get from Portland to Houston. I definitely won't be flying with them again, and I plan on letting them know.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    It looks like the rightwing whackos are making two arguments:

    1.) Southwest Airlines can remove anyone they want. If you don't like it, don't fly SW.

    2.) The T-Shirt is offensive. There needs to be a hard and fast rule about what people can say, do, or wear when in public. And the arbiter of the rule should be an prudish conservative.

    This mirrors the split in the Republican party. The rational(ish), "just-leave-me-alone-and-let-me-live-my-life", libertarian-leaning conservatives are saying, "don't whine and complain; take your dollars elsewhere."

    And then there are the less rational, "government-must-maintain-moral-order-whatever-the-cost-in-personal -freedom" conservatives who are saying, "those shirts are wrong and filthy; wrong, filthy people are keeping us from putting crosses wherever we want and that's wrong. We're not filthy, the librerals are filthy. We are the arbiters of decency, humor, good taste, manners, and wit. We will tell you what you may say and wear. (fade into disconnected rambling about Clinton, Jane Fonda, etc.)."

    The first group has a reaonable point that's worth discussing. The second group? Well, thank God we got SB 1 (mental health parity) passed. Maybe now some of them can afford the help they desperately need.

    Is it reasonable for SW to remove someone from an airline for whatever capricious reason? Porbably. Is it reasonable to remove them mid-flight after they were permitted to board? I'm with Jack Roberts on this one: I don't know. But if it went to court, my money would be on the passenger.

    Here's the real question: is it reasonable to make SW Airlines face the consequences of its decision to remove the passengers by publicizing it? Absolutely. Who knows? It could even benefit SW. They could become known as the one airline where uptight prudes can fly safely with the knowledge they won't be exposed to anything they find objectionable. God help them when the arrive at their destination airport, though.

  • Tim (unverified)
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    What is REALLY ming boggling is why Ms Heasley would feel so passionate about NOT changing her shirt....enough to DRIVE from RENO to SEATTLE.

    GET A LIFE! Pick your battles......GEEZ.

    What an IDIOT.

    Cheers to SW :)

  • Sass (unverified)
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    I fly Southwest very frequently. I have seen many political T-Shirts aimed at both parties, and there has never been an issue. Quit trying to make this political- it isn't. It was about a vulgar word. The latest reports I've seen say that she was allowed to board after she covered her shirt, but decided along the way to uncover her shirt. She was given the chance to cover it back up or deplane at the connection point, and she CHOSE to get off the plane and drive to make a statement. I am in no way prudish and drop the F Bomb on a regular basis. But you must know your audience. I don't say it in front of children or my Mother! Must be a slow news day for this to get as much attention as it's getting!

  • (Show?)

    1.) Southwest Airlines can remove anyone they want.

    That's not exactly true. They can't, for instance, remove someone based on the color of their skin. Could they remove someone with a T-shirt that had religious, though inoffensive, content? What about a t-shirt that had content critical of religion, but not obscene? In private spaces you don't enjoy the same freedoms as in public, but as long as you're flying over the US, you do retain your constitutional rights. The civil rights movement made clear some of these points.

    As a legal matter, I think airplanes may--may be in a different category than, say, a restaurant. The options to fly are limited to private carriers, which put the airlines in a unique position. My guess is that there are precedents related to private "utilities"--like Ma Bell used to be--where rights extend beyond those available with standard private businesses.

    But I ain't no lawyer.

  • (Show?)

    "Meet the Fuckers" - according to some: vulgar, crude, etc. and not worthy of a place on a plane.

    "Meet the Fockers" - aired on the plane as the official movie.

    Does changing one vowel really make any difference? Is there anyone who - hearing "Meet the Fockers" - doesn't get the joke; thus thinking the forbidden word?

    No.... methinks it was a political judgment by SWA staff. Perhaps their ire was increased by the curse words, but it was the juxtaposition of the F-bomb with the pic of the president.

    Incidentally, I suspect there are folks at SWA World HQ who are using the F-bomb themselves regarding these rogue staff - as in "Stupid F**ckers". Probably time for some customer relations training on how to de-escalate a tense situation, rather than escalating it.

  • Deb (unverified)
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    If it is the vulgarity that is the issue, then naming a show "Meet the Fockers" is equally vulgar. The play on words is clear.

    Although it is "only a T-Shirt"...the big deal arises from the fact that the fuckers in question have been putting free speech and civil rights directly into the shitter for far too long.

    Impeach Bush. And if we can't impeach him....then Buy Blue and smoke the fuckers out.

    www.buyblue.org

  • pdxer (unverified)
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    portland tribune has the story this morning:

    http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=32068

  • Becky (unverified)
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    An interesting and relevant case here is Cohen v. California 403 U.S. 15 (1971). In that case, a man had worn a jacket bearing an anti-war message that contained offensive language, and he was ultimately sentenced to 30 days in prison. Upon review of the case, the US Supreme Court said it is “often true that one man’ vulgarity is another’s lyric”. Mr. Cohen’s conviction was overturned, in a rejection of the state’s role as “guardians of public morality.” Whether the airline has a right to police speech on its planes is a legal question I can't answer, but in principle, the Supreme Court frowns on this big brother attitude toward speech.

  • Caelan MacTavish (unverified)
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    I was on a plane this summer, and the stewardess announced before takeoff that we had some identically dressed trained killers on board. Everyone applauded. I was offended, but I don't think my feelings would have been enough to boot off the twelve National Guard troops from the plane. So why is someone else's feeling of being offended at an anti-Bush T-shirt more valid? Everything offends somebody. Can we really use this arbitrary emotion as a justification for expulsion and censorship?

  • Ken (unverified)
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    I agree that the woman should have been tossed off the plane. The problem is she shouldn't have been allowed on in the first place. SW has a right and responsibility to set standards for conduct of their passengers. Civil order is a very important consideration on an airplane, and anything which threatens that should be avoided. A commercial airliner is not the place to test the envelope of free speech. There are limitless venues for the expression of speech. It's not unreasonable to supress speech in certain situations, such as at 30,000 feet.

  • djk (unverified)
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    According to the Tribune article, Heasley said Southwest promised to refund their money for the ticket, which was why she and her husband left the plane, and Southwest now refuses to give her a refund.

    I'm a lot less inclined to fly Southwest after hearing about this. Kicking a passenger off half-way through a flight because of a t-shirt? Failing to honor a promise of a refund after she gave up her flight? I'm not into wearing political t-shirts, but this sort of thing offends me a lot more than anyone's political expression.

    There's a simple way to deal with these situations. Don't like the t-shirt? Don't look at it!. Unless Southwest has some really unconventional seating arrangements, the only way you'll be able to easily see another passenger's t-shirt anyway is if she's sitting on the aisle and you're walking past her heading toward the rear of the plane.

    Personally, I'd rather sit next to someone wearing a t-shirt covered with obscenities than someone who carries on an obscenity-peppered conversation with their seatmate. Has any airline ever forced someone off a flight halfway through the trip for using offensive language in their conversation? (I'm not talking abusive language directed at cabin crew here; just stuff like "I can't believe that stupid fucking prick pulled that kind of shit with me. That's just totally fucked up, man.")

    I can close my eyes easier than my ears.

  • Jon (unverified)
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    Jeff- Could they remove someone with a T-shirt that had religious, though inoffensive, content? What about a t-shirt that had content critical of religion, but not obscene?

    From what I can tell of the responses here, it really depends on a definition of "obcene" and "innoffensive" doesnt it? Thats where the problem arises.

    Someone here said a "Bush/Cheney04" shirt was offensive to them...

    One of the street kids in downtown Portland asked me for money while wearing a t-shirt that said "Will not work for anything." I actually found that shirt kind of offensive.

    But I really think this problem came from the "f-bomb" on the shirt, not who was on the shirt with it. C'mon people.

  • Don (unverified)
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    Southwest's Customer Contract of Carriage states that: "Persons whose conduct is or has been known to be disorderly, abusive, offensive, threatening, intimidating, or violent, or whose clothing is lewd, obscene, or patently offensive" may be denied boarding.

    She wasn't removed from the plane for making a political statement. She was removed from the plane for refusing to honor her obligations in her contract of carriage. If a passenger violates the contract, an airline has the right (and perhaps a responsibility) to remove that passenger.

  • yasagoo (unverified)
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    I googled this news, and not so many major U.S. news sites came out. They try to avoid talking about this story on purpose??? Or they think it is too small to talk about? (Or my searching skill is not good enough?) If they think so, it might be the proof of the end of free speech.

  • JD (unverified)
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    My young daughter could have been on the flight. I don't find it appropriate. If you used that word in my daughter's presence you'd find it was a big mistake. Why was the t-shirt any different?

    Are you retarded?

  • pokerchip (unverified)
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    What if the pictures were of Ted Kennedy and Al Gore? Think of the outrage.

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    Jon, I was actually trying to identify the legal--not ethical--line. Southwest can chuck someone with a tee-shirt that says f*ckers but not someone who's black (or white or Arab or whatever). So there's a line there. Where is it?

  • Jon (unverified)
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    Jeff-

    Seriously, I dont know where the line is for anything any more.

    Personally, I think the shirt was somewhat funny, but I wouldnt wear it in public.

    I was thinking though, how would people here (who think its all about WHO is on the shirt) feel about the same phrase on the shirt, but with pictures of Louis Farrakhan & Jesse Jackson? Or Kerry & Kennedy? Would you complain to the flight attendant to get the person booted?

  • sten (unverified)
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    I saw a shirt that said Opie and Anthony are cockeaters.

  • Brian (unverified)
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    If you walked onto a SWA flight tonight and started using the F-bomb in every sentence, in a way that was audible to those around you, the airline likely would ask you to stop using that kind of language. If you refuse, than you are likely to be booted.

    In fact, given that she violated the request to cover up the offending language one could say that she was defying the direct order of a member of the flight crew. That is actually a violation of Federal law. You can go to prison, be fined, etc. for not following the direct order of a flight crew.

    And, while other people may have worn offensive shirts on other flights, it isn't an issue until passengers start complaining to the flight attendants. The flight attendants asked the woman to cover it up. She did, but she couldn't keep it covered. Therefore they asked her to leave the flight.

    As to seating on SWA. It may be cattle-call style, BUT it's almost impossible to change seats once you've sat down. If you were in boarding group A and the woman shows up in boarding group C you're toast. If you're in boarding group C and the only seat left is next to this woman, you're screwed. I mean, C is for Center. It means Center seat and it means you get the left over seats ... next to this woman. Moving probably isn't an option, especially on Southwest's notoriously overbooked flights.

  • Scooter Libby (unverified)
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    This is about the suspension of individual conscience, and probably consciousness, for the contagion of the crowd, for that euphoria that comes with patriotism to George W Bush. The tragedy is that kind of rabid attack (having her thrown off the plane) comes racism and intolerance and a dehumanization of the other. What makes it so scary, it was this kind of love for their leader that brought the likes of Hitler to power. The individuals that did the complaining about the t-shirt had more to do with slam on Bush, something they could not tolerate, just like a Hitler supporters. After reading some of the post it seems most people have no idea where the word came from, it's not profanity. Fuck stands for 'for uncarnal knowledge.' it was used as a code back in the early days by police who would arrest peeping toms or pervs. after the police would arrest them, they would write down F.U.C.K. in the books cos they didn't feel like writing that whole thing.

    Buy your t-shirt here, I bought two, one for the kid;) http://www.cafepress.com/shop/politics/browse/store/rnastore.30735993

    If you can't say Fuck the government then why even have the word. Some people just need to grow up and get over it that George W is not God and God does not talk to George W.

  • Marshall (unverified)
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    From what I read she did cover it. My guess is with a blanket or coat and when she was sleeping the cover shifted and people who were boarding at the layover in Reno were able to see it and according to her were not complaining about the shirt being "vulgar" or "obscene" but instead were complaining that it was "unpatriotic" and "disrespectful to the President" it was after these complaints that she was told that if she didn't change or turn her shirt inside out that she needed to leave the plane. Its a tough call. It feels politically motivated but SW does have the proper policy in place to be able to play it off as it was the F-bomb and not the politics that go her kicked off. My personal opinion- that there are still lots of people that are intimidated by the "if your not with bush your not a patriot" BS....

  • Scooter Libby (unverified)
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    Marshall you hit the nail on the head. These neo-cons are intimidated when their Furor is denounced.

  • Billy Bobb (unverified)
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    The primary problem has gone unreported. She has awful boobs. Droopy, banana shaped, hanging way too low for her age. Braless, too. She's lucky they landed before kicking her off the flight.

    A healthy babe with a W43 shirt rides for free with me.

  • Thomas Neubauer (unverified)
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    Quote from above......

    "Moreover, if a neo-nazi was booted off a plane for wearing an SS uniform, would Lorrie Heasley feel his rights were violated?

    I think not."

    This is just in poor taste. Freedom of speech does cover this and allow it. Anyone with a brain would know why people would be offended by this uniform. Besides... The True, Real, SS was disolved long before the loser wearing this uniform was born. Chances are very slim that any member of his family ever served in the German SS. This does have a comical anotation that is a bit like a crazy person wearing a "Napolean" General uniform and pretending to be Napolean himself. Strutting around barking orders.

    I think it might be time to call the guys in the white coats. Someone needs a basket weaving class and morphine.

    And for Mr Robert Harris. All bent out of shape about a t-shirt. Why are we not bent out of shape about the content of the TV programs Americans blindly raise thier children with? Massive corporate sponsorships that fuel TV programing. Who raises your kids? Corporate America does! Make them consumers and they will become puppets. Puppets become soldiers for illegal wars.

    Support our troops BRING THEM HOME - Or - Pretend like everything is ok.

    People these are the same big corporate sponsors that brought us an ILLEGAL war. Save the world and your familys lives and just unplug the damn TV. By pulling one cord you can change your life and your spending. If we all unplugged out TVs and did not have a decided time to plug them back in, big corporate america would panick. What dirty trick would they use to lure us back?

    Maybe start another war.......Ahhhhhhh... thats how this all started?

    And making one choice over another airline because of the willingness to censor a passenger is the very thing The Big Corporate machine wants from you. Puppet man. By using you as a tool they can create leverage through your intolerance to affect those who must endure your presense.

    Where will this stupidity goto next?

    We could start out with people with blonde hair... they offend me so lets kick them off the plane. Oh yea, those other people who have hair at all, or are bald, blind, short, tall, cripled/handicapped (OHHH I cant stand to look at them, so offesive), you breathe too loud so get of my plane!! Wait!!! I offend myself so I guess I will get off to.

    Looky Looky.....

    The plane is empty.... Just like all the Southwest Airlines planes should be.

    This whole thing is so childish. It reminds me of the South Park Christmas special. The one where no matter what it is in the school play, if it offended someone it was out. JUST STUPID.

    Why does our government have such a hold that they can take people (the poor and ill-educated) who hate the rich (silver spoon in mouth)guys and make them share an intolerance so the poor will kill for the rich and make the rich richer and thier own situation worse?

    Yep that rich guy in the three piece suit getting fat on the work of others, likes you confederate (also disolved long ago) flag waving guys to go to some place far way and kill people at random just because you are told to do so.

    If we were trully Patriotic, we would start a revolution rather than be weak, blind, mindless, sheep. Funny when you think of it all. The eagle the symbol of our esteemed nation is both a scavenger and an oportunist. How appropiate........

    Some things never change.. That is why they rule you.

    Now hurry up and get mad, pretend to be offended and spew out some of that pre-programed crap that they have filled your head with and fire back at me. This will prove me right......

  • LokiVA (unverified)
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    Southwest Airlines, as do too many businesses, has contract terms which are arbitrary, subjective, rightfully void for vagueness, and in conflict with themselves and other law.

    The fact that Lorrie Heasley's shirt was OK at LAX, but not so with SWA staff in Reno, shows just how lacking in uniform or rational basis that airline's operations are.

    Soutwest's contract (in multiple parts) is here:

    http://www.southwest.com/about_swa/customer_service_commitment/customer_service_commitment.html

    http://www.southwest.com/travel_center/contract.html

    http://www.southwest.com/about_swa/customer_service_commitment/customer.pdf

    They reserve the right to not transport, among others:

    (1) Persons whose conduct is or has been known to be disorderly, abusive, offensive, threatening, intimidating, or violent, or whose clothing is lewd, obscene, or patently offensive; NOTE: Carrier will not refuse to provide transportation to a qualified individual with a disability solely because the individual’s disability results in appearance or involuntary behavior that may offend, annoy, or inconvenience crew members or other passengers.

    (8) Persons who have an offensive odor, except where such condition is the result of a disability;

    That shows they as a Federally regulated carrier, using public air corridors subject to special government privilege, do recognize some legal limits on their right to act arbitrarily. Further, that same contract includes non-specific references to more of those limits:

    1. Compliance with Law and Governmental Regulations (Issued Mar. 13, 2000;Effective Mar. 13, 2000) All transportation is sold and all carriage is performed subject to compliance with all applicable laws and governmental regulations, including those of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Transportation Security Administration, many of which are not specified herein but are nonetheless binding on Carrier and all passengers.

    That includes general non-discrimination criteria, where bias to favor certain political or religious positions, or impose the religious prejudices of some customers or staff upon others, is not legal for them to do. That is exactly what

    "The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit."

    "Foremost, we want you to know that it is never our wish to inconvenience our valued Customers."

    "The Employees of Southwest Airlines understand our mission, and we are happy to share it, and the following information, with you, our valued Customer. Our Customer Service Commitment was designed and written in such a way as to clarify many of the most commonly questioned terms and conditions of our Contract of Carriage and provide you with insight into some of our policies and procedures. For that reason, it only made sense to make it a part of our Contract of Carriage."

    Going back to the three clothing criteria, and ignoring the religious prejudices about speech on which it's about as legal for Southwest to discriminate as it would be to kick blacks off their planes, calling Bush, Cheney, and Rice "fuckers" is more like calling them clusterfucking predatory assholes, and in that case amounts to the most highly protected political speech, with nothing lewd about it. As to obscenity, there is no clothing of "flat speech" which is obscene under a reasonable interpretation of Miller v. CA, and so it's an absurdity to use that term in the contract. A shirt cannot constitute a scat or snuff video, or give someone a golden shower, whereas non-legal colloquial uses of the word "obscene" are irrelevant to the contract, even if dimwit stewardesses or customers have rabid religious right indoctrination, but less than a clue about law. Likewise, "patently offensive" could easily describe Bush and every member of his regime, of war criminals and civil rights oppressors. It could arguably include his supporters, and so it's reasonable to treat those who complained about the Fuckers shirt and the Southwest staff supporting them as patently offensive, and expel them. However, all that other law which would apply even if not referenced in Southwest's contract applies, and "patently offensive" is a term used by the Supreme Court with very narrow meaning. A political t-shirt is not that.

    However, if one views the Southwest "Customer Service Commitment", doesn't the shape of their logo look a bit like a large dildo, with a couple of funny shaped balls off the sides, and a big tip ahead of an unusually small ridge? Is Southwest's own logo lewd, or offensive to some? What if someone asked they remove it from the plane, and all paperwork inside? http://www.southwest.com/images/swa_logo313x110.gif

    The airline is pretending the enforce an FAA dress code, but in reality they merely file their carrier contract as a legal document with the FAA, as do all such regulated quasi-government corporations.

    "Allen Lichtenstein, lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union in Nevada, said Heasley's T-shirt is "protected" political speech under the Constitution. The real issue, he said, is that the airline allowed her to wear the shirt onboard and then objected only when people complained."

    "That they changed rules in the middle of a flight simply because someone didn't like it and it might be problematic," he said.

    "FAA spokesman Donn Walker said no federal rules exist on the subject."

    U.S. Supreme Court

    COHEN v. CALIFORNIA, 403 U.S. 15 (1971) Appellant was convicted of violating that part of Cal. Penal Code 415 which prohibits "maliciously and willfully disturb[ing] the peace or quiet of any neighborhood or person . . . by . . . offensive conduct," for wearing a jacket bearing the words "Fuck the Draft" in a corridor of the Los Angeles Courthouse. The Court of Appeal held that "offensive conduct" means "behavior which has a tendency to provoke others to acts of violence or to in turn disturb the peace," and affirmed the conviction. Held: Absent a more particularized and compelling reason for its actions, the State may not, consistently with the First and Fourteenth Amendments, make the simple public display of this single four-letter expletive a criminal offense. Pp. 22-26. 1 Cal. App. 3d 94, 81 Cal. Rptr. 503, reversed.

    HESS v. INDIANA, 414 U.S. 105 (1973) Appellant, who was arrested during an antiwar demonstration on a college campus for loudly stating, "We'll take the fucking street later (or again) ," was subsequently convicted for violating the Indiana disorderly conduct statute. The State Supreme Court affirmed, relying primarily on the trial court's finding that the statement "was intended to incite further lawless action on the part of the crowd in the vicinity of appellant and was likely to produce such action." Held: Appellant's language did not fall within any of the "narrowly limited classes of speech" that the States may punish without violating the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and since the evidence showed that the words he used were not directed to any person or group and there was no evidence that they were intended and likely to produce imminent disorder, application of the statute to appellant violated his rights of free speech. reversed.

    Flat speech, a passive display on a shirt, is very close to Paul Robert Cohen's jacket. It's far less intrusive than Gregory Hess' words at a rally, where the entire conduct of the rally would be disruptive inside a plane or restaurant. Neither are "fighting words" or direct targeted active instigation, but rather convey a passive message subject to essentially the same tests as wearing a pentacle for legal review. There's almost no difference between someone complaining about a shirt which holds religious right predators in government out to be rejects, and someone complaining about someone else's religious jewelry. Looking more often to school cases, how many incidents of banned xtian crosses or rosary beads have we seen? That's not true for Baptist principals engaging in the fraud to pretend common pagan symbols somehow represent banned gangs and not the protected religious expression they generally are, when the truth is that crosses are far more often used with that meaning.

    This case isn't about active or disruptive conduct, and therefore it cannot be disorderly or disruptive. People who engage in passive speech, whether via a shirt, jacket, pentacle, bumper sticker, or other means, are not exempt from others reacting with facial expressions, body postures, or in forums where not disruptive, reply comments. They are entitled to be free from assaults, being rammed by other cars, violent criminals keying paint, or other actions of immature jerks perpetrating crimes rather than deal with the underlying issues of the speech like mature adults. They are entitled to be free of discrimination by common carriers, public accommodations (eg, restaurants and hotels), and employers over issues of personal religious or political viewpoint. Southwest is not allowed to rule an anti-Bush passive symbolic comment banned, while they tolerate equivalent speech of alternate content.

    The fact that Ms. Heasley was apparently trying to nap at a layover in Reno, on a flight where the same shirt was OK to the airline in LA, and was chosen for a likely positive reception in Portland, speaks volumes to how other of Southwest's customers are hateful bigots, promoting censorship. Censorship is a cowardly and insidious form of hate speech, as it attempts to undercut the values and ideals expressed by others, making them vanish as if the other person is a second class citizen if that, while denying the person censored or others equal standing to challenge that hate speech.

    What if the nice little bible thumpers who complained in Reno had asked the stewardess to get the fucking nigger off the plane, as no niggers are good niggers? Whose actions would be patently offensive, those of the alleged nigger (or anti-Bush regime target), or those making the complaint, of employees with such perverted ethics and legal awareness as to eject the alleged nigger?

    I think Southwest owes Lorrie Heasley far more than the value of her ticket, plus rental car and hotel costs. They owe her a large enough punitive damage settlement to hurt their share value and dividends. They owe her the names of the complaining passengers, and stewardesses who wrongly evicted her. They owe her a promise that those patently offensive workers and passengers will never again fly Southwest, as the Contract of Carriage asserts that as a remedy for people whose conduct is so extremely disruptive and obnoxious as theirs was.

    Parents should have to explain to kids why certain obnoxious or abusive public figures are ridiculed, defamed, and otherwise subjected to far less harsh criticism than their actions often merit. The parents who might least like doing so are the ones whose kids may most need that exposure, where the parents have tried to indoctrinate kids to be so shielded from worldly issues as to need their eyes opened or risk being less than able to think responsibly as they progress towards young adulthood. Cohen and Hess established precedents where highly protected speech is a right in public, and not allegedly of such harm to children, or women (tender property of males they historically were under law), as to need or deserve to be shielded from speech important to protect in the open. More important than Southwest being taught that lesson via financial pain, as a nation we fail when voters and jurors are so detached from any sense of ethics and legal reality as to fail to understand and act responsibly, relative to the fundamental rights and Constitutional standards on which this nation is based.

    "We understand the importance of freedom," says one music on hold promotion, and "Southwest Airlines, a symbol of Freedom" says another, as one waits for a customer service supervisor to ask exactly how they interpret these absurd and arbitrary policies. Really?

    Southwest does not accept comments or complaints via email or an online form. They only accept snail or phone calls, 8 am-5pm central time, to 214-792-4223 customer relations - Corporate HQ

    RON RICKS - Senior Vice President - Law, Airports and Public Affairs

    JIM RUPPEL - Vice President - Customer Relations and Rapid Rewards

  • bridgette (unverified)
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    I can't believe they made her get off! I don't care if that offends people, people have the right to free expression and free speech! If someone wore a shirt that said "I am against same sex marirage" on their shirt that would defnitly offend me but they have a right to wear it. Profanity is just words people, lets get over it. Seeing the word FUCK, shit danm, and go to hell is not going to corrupt the world. Taking away free speech will.

  • tom civiletti (unverified)
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    I don't use vulgar language in most public settings in order to avoid offending others, but to argue that one has the right to protection from vulgarity in public places is patently ridiculous. Further more, vulgarity printed on a shirt can be avoided simply by not looking at the shirt, and so is substantially less intrusive than someone lacing her speech with spicy words.

    My wife Jane sometimes wears a small lapel button that reads "FUCK BUSH", and I am proud of her for doing so. If some protective father gets on her case because his children may see the word in print, I will surely get on his case for threatening Jane's right to free speech and political expression. Such a confrontation would be much more damaging to all involved than any four letter word, wouldn't it?

  • enginneer (unverified)
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    To those posters who think this is about the political views of the T-shirt wearer and not the fact that many people find the "f" word offensive; you say that the only reason the passenger was asked to leave was because the SW found the political message objectionable. That being the case, one has to assume the management of SW is pro-Bush. The implication therefore is that had the t-shirt used the F-word in the context of Clinton/Gore, then SW management wouldnt have done anything since presumably they would be sympathetic to that message? You think SW would just have ignored passenger complaints? To paraphrase a former president "It's the word, stupid"

  • LokiVA (unverified)
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    It's stupid people, not the word, that results in a Bush Chimp having control of real Weapons of Mass Destruction, and not only that, using them where kids will suffer for years.

    Anyone follow the latest Nobel Peace Prize? (hint.... It went to someone far more honest than Bush, whereas depleted Uranium dust from large AP rounds our military has used en masse are WMD's by UN definitions.)

    It's malicious people who gain power because of stupid people, who cluelessly support unethical and illegal actions of leaders, and don't get it there's something wrong with that. What if we changed the qualifications for voting, such that one had to be able to profer an outline of the US Constitution, and explain basic perspectives on its interpretation and major issues of jurisprudence, before being allowed to be an elected official, voter, or control weapons systems?

    How many people would fail there, if for no other reason because they cannot distinguish between an "originalist" as a psychotic (Antonin Scalia), and "original intent" as a difficult legal doctrine when Founding Fathers cut political deals where there were conflicting intents among them? Why is Oliver Wendell Holmes important to the 14th Amendment, an element of the Constitution the Rehnquist court repeatedly tried to trample? Why were Smith v OR Emp Div or Boerne v Flores legitimate decisions (or were they?), if the Civil Rights Act of 1873 remains valid (42 USC 1983 et al).

    How many people who bitch as if everyone should have anal-retentive doctrinal Paulist humanist (not real Christian) prejudices, or wished the Burning Times were revived with faggots for all (the sticks used to burn people at the stake), could so much as pass a basic literacy test based on the following grammatic forms of just one word?

    ===

    Perhaps one of the most interesting and colorful words in the English language today is the word "fuck." It is the one magical word which, just by its sound, can describe pain, pleasure, love, and hate. language, "fuck" falls into many grammatical categories. It can be used a verb, both transitive (John fucked Mary) and intransitive (Mary was fucked by John). It can be an action verb (John really gives a fuck), a passive verb (Mary really doesn't give a fuck), an adverb (Mary is fuck interested in John), or as a noun (John is a terrific fuck). It can also be used as an adjective (Mary is fucking beautiful) or an interjection (Fuck! I'm late for my date with John).It can even be used as a conjunction (Mary is easy, fuck she's also stupid). As you can see, the are very few words with the overall versatility of the word "fuck."

    Aside from its sexual connotations, this incredible word can be to describe many situations:

    1. Greetings "How the fuck are ya?"
    2. Fraud "I got fucked by the car dealer."
    3. Resignation "Oh, fuck it!"
    4. Trouble "I guess I'm fucked now."
    5. Aggression "FUCK YOU!"
    6. Disgust "Fuck me."
    7. Confusion "What the fuck...?"
    8. Difficulty "I don't understand this fucking business!"
    9. Despair "Fucked again...."
    10. Pleasure "I fucking couldn't be happier."
    11. Displeasure "What the fuck is going on here?"
    12. Lost "Where the fuck are we?"
    13. Disbelief "UNFUCKINGBELIEVABLE!"
    14. Retaliation "Up your fucking ass!"
    15. Denial "I didn't fucking do it."
    16. Perplexity "I know fuck all about it."
    17. Apathy "Who really gives a fuck, anyhow?"
    18. Greetings "How the fuck are ya?"
    19. Suspicion "Who the fuck are you?"
    20. Panic "Let's get the fuck out of here."
    21. Directions "Fuck off."

    22. Disbelief "How the fuck did you do that?"

    -- adapted from D. Scruggs

    In ancient England a person could not have sex unless you had consent of the King (unless you were in the Royal Family). When anyone wanted to have a baby, they got consent of the King & the King gave them a placard that they hung on their door while they were having sex. The placard had F.U.C.K. (Fornication Under Consent of the King) on it.

    -- anonymous

    Gimme an F!

    http://countryjoe.com/

  • D. (unverified)
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    One of the things that we must keep in mind is that we cannot expect simple answers from a complex government. I have owned a "Meet the Fuckers" T-shirt for nearly a year now. Mine is a girlie T made by the company don't panic- dont panic This T-shirt has caused me many an argument primarily because of the "f" word...My thoughts on the topic: If we are going to argue for free speech than there must be the openness for ALL speech. "Offensive" can be a very loose term. What offends one person may be simply a word to another. As long as we do our best not to harm (yet another ambiguous term) “free speech” means not only having the ability to speak freely, but also that the “other guy” has the right to speak his/her mind as well…That’s the way the cookie crumbles… As to the arguments “oh, what about the children…” guess what folks, no matter how much you raise your little angels to say “please” and “thank you” and “yes, ma’am”, and “no, sir” chances are, if they are old enough to read my shirt and understand it’s meaning, than they have heard and/or (Goddess forbid) spoken that dirty little word… As a side note, I am flying Southwest Airlines on 6 flights over the next 3 weeks. I wanted to cancel my flights an re-book with another carrier, but my company would not foot the bill for my little protest and since I can’t afford to foot the bill for my company travel, my protest will be in wearing my “Meet the Fuckers” T shirt on each of these flights…After this trip, I will go out of my way NOT to fly their airline… I will be purchasing another shirt in case the one I currently own gets worn out---It’s funny- a shirt that started out as a joke for my Republican friends’ (yes, I still speak to them…) has now become my new favorite T shirt….

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Perhaps we should consider this a matter of taste or etiquette. Many of us have worked alongside (mostly male) colleagues where profanity has been used freely, but they would have used discretion in other areas, such as if they were introduced to your daughter, wife, mother or grandmother. To put it another way, what is appropriate or acceptable in one arena is not necessarily so in another. In some parts of this world you can get yourself killed for doing what you can get away with around your loutish friends. I recall a Navy CPO who tried to make out with a woman in Perth, Australia. He used a line that might have worked wonders in San Diego, but in Perth he got his butt whipped so badly he wound up in hospital for the entire port stay.

    We might ask another question. Why do so many people (mostly on the left and the fringes of society) feel a need to use what a preponderance of people would consider offensive or crude language? In some cases, this is most likely attributable to an abyssmal education and what used to be referred to as a lack of breeding; in other cases, it is probably the consequence of dysfunctional behavior patterns. But I'll leave the latter to someone more qualified in psychology than I. However, those of us that would like to persuade Middle America to progressive causes should consider that rude, uncouth and offensive language and behaviour will be almost surefire guarantees to turn them off.

    LokiVa above thought f*#k was the right word in some circumstances, and I have to admit to feeling that way on occasions, but he/she might consider this alternative for item 19 if he/she is not feeling insecure, "How are you?" It looks like his/her favorite word is really redundant in most of the examples he/she cited.

    Here is another way of looking at this. Do you find it offensive when religious people get in your face with their ideas or insist in reciting "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance but you think it is okay to go in other people's faces with profanity that most people don't really approve?

  • Nojam75 (unverified)
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    Kari Chisholm: "Of course, from a legal standpoint, Southwest can probably throw anyone off their plane they want. But, should they?"

    Yes, they should if that passenger is offensive to their other customers. I know, it's a slippery slope as to what is or isn't offensive. But, I'm pretty certain that "fuck" is offensive regardless of the context ("Fuck Bush", "Fuck Clinton", "Fuck bin Laden", etc.)

    I'm a gay, liberal, progressive Democrat who probably uses "fuck" too often, but I support SWA's actions in this context. Based on the available information, it seems Southwest acted reasonably and went out of its way to avoid a confrontation with Heasley. Southwest made a reasonable request of the passenger, Lorrie Heasley, and even gave her a second chance to comply when her sweatshirt supposedly slipped off the offensive word.

    Heasley's freedom of speech argument is silly. SWA has the right and responsibility to govern the conduct on its properties. It has no constitutional obligation to protect freedom of speech. If SWA was biased against certain political speech, then there would be cause for protest/boycott. But so far, there have been no allegations I've found regarding political bias in its customer relations.

  • Sabra (unverified)
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    I am disgusted by Southwest Airlines. This is not the first instance of discrimination on their part. Take a look at the SWA "Passengers of Size" guidelines.

    If people are worried about their children seeing the word FUCK, they should put blindfolds on them. You can't and shouldn't control other people’s dressing habits. What if Lorrie Heasley had been walking down the street? Besides there are much worse things to worry about your children seeing. For instance,among hundreds of other things including your own discrimination against people who have different views than yourseslf, caravans of big box trucks with billboards of aborted fetuses. Look at this site: The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform www.cbrinfo.org. Nice.

    Well, I wrote a letter to the SWA President and Vice President of Customer Relations. I will no longer be flying Southwest. I urge others to join me in this BOYCOTT and to WRITE LETTERS. Here's mine:

    Colleen C. Barret /President Corporate Headquarters Southwest Airlines Co. 2702 Love Field Drive P.O. Bos 36611 Dallas, Texas 75235-1647

    Dear Ms. Barret:

    I write regarding your stance on passenger “comfort”; specifically in the instance of a passenger, Lorrie Heasley, being denied transport on your airline because of what she was wearing; an anti-Bush tee-shirt. Your representative, Beth Harbin, stated (on Oct 6, 2005, 11:42 AM on KRNV channel 4 news in Reno, CA), "We do get it occasionally. What someone is wearing, what someone is reading, what someone might be saying and it's very much a judgment call. But when other customers become concerned we do have to become involved in that and see what we can do to make everyone as comfortable as we can." Lorrie Heasley certainly was not “comfortable” when she had to rent a car, mid-trip from Los Angeles, California, and drive the rest of the way home to Portland, Oregon from Reno. The decision to kick Ms. Heasley off of the flight was as Ms. Harbin said, “a judgment call.” This was very poor judgment indeed.

    I would also like to point out that freedom of speech and expression of political and religious beliefs are protected under the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. Why would Southwest Airlines support the suppression of these rights of some of their passengers for the “comfort” of other passengers? There are many people with whom I disagree and who cause me discomfort. This discomfort is often signified by their physicality; be it what they are wearing, reading, saying, etc. However, I would not presume to feel justified in ever denying anyone public transport solely based on their clothing or their apparent beliefs or sense of humor. My only exception; would be, in the wake of September 11th, the possibility that lives, including my own, appeared to be at risk. This was clearly not the case on October 6th.

    The fact is, is that this is highly offensive to me as a passenger of Southwest Airlines. I no longer feel “comfortable”, as I have previously, flying with your Airline. I will encourage everyone I know not to fly with you either, unless you make a public apology to Lorrie Heasley, as well as your other passengers, who may or may not agree with her views, but do, at the very least, believe in the first amendment. Trying to force Ms. Heasley to change her clothing in order to fly on your plane is clearly discrimination. Some White people feel uncomfortable flying with Black people. Does this mean you would kick a Black person off of a flight to make some, or even all of, the other passengers “comfortable”? I could use several other examples; an obviously gay man, maybe wearing a pink shirt for example, etc., etc., etc. You get my point?

    This is very disappointing and calls into question the political agenda of Southwest Airlines. I sincerely hope this was an error in judgment, rather than a policy of discrimination. I do not expect a response. However, I would very much appreciate one.

    Sincerely,

    Cc: Jim Ruppel/Vice President Customer relations and Rapid Rewards

    P.S. In response to comment(s) about neo-nazis, KKK, etc., These groups have a long history of violence including murder, unlike people who wear silly political tee-shirts. Being an obvious member of a dangerous gang of any ethnic group is often a bit more complicated than free speech. I wouldn't want to fly with someone who is likely to be violent, but I wouldn't complain about a passenger wearing a fundamentalist Christian tee-shirt no matter how much it may disgust me.

  • scooter (unverified)
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    Sabra, I think you're making a big assumption that it was the anti-bush message and not the vulgarity that got her kicked off. Seems more likely that it was the latter, and the fact that she disobeyed a request from an airline representative...not a good thing post 9/11. Sure, she has a right to free speech. The airlines have a right to enforce reasonable decorum too.

    I'm with SWA on this one.

    If she got kicked off because the pictures were of Clinton and Gore, would you be as upset? I doubt it.

  • Scooter Libby (unverified)
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    The above "SCOOTER" is a Bushite and also an idiot.

  • Ben Waiting (unverified)
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    Freedom

    You have The Right to say what ever you want! I will support that too! They have The Right to say you can’t fly on their plane. You have The Right to bitch because of your use of the F* word on a shirt! Yes you do have that right! to wear it and say it! I also have The right to say "Lay down by your dish pooch, there are way bigger-important issues to complain about" You exercised your right! Yes you choose to wear the potty mouth offending language tee-shirt.

    Now feel the repercussion because they exercised their right to fly who and where! They gave you a chance. You declined! Now walk! pretty simple ..., not wanting to be mean ...its just plain and simple ...Do I support you wearing a "filthy mouth shirt"?... No! Can you wear it?.... Yes! Can they make you get off the plane ?....Yes!.... Heck its their plane! .....whhhaaaaaa!?!

    Free speech may mean you might have to walk or use different means “Now go lay down" Do you like what I say ?...No ? so what... I can say it? ........You are the one who had to walk ......because you choose to be wearing your potty mouth tee-shirt! Not everyone likes the F word either. I use it, A lot of people do, but selectively or we may have to pay the price of our words. today in this blog I say F word instead of the actual word(see that was an example of deciding when and where to use that word!)

    I actually hate the Bush Crime Family myself ...but you got to be willing to pay if ya want to play and choose your words when and where when they are bold and challenging .....Free speech ...you bet! I’m not a bushite either ….its just that this event is lame in its importance of relativity to the politics going on today.

  • C. Conover (unverified)
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    I bet Mrs. Heasley wouldnt wear the shirt to church. Southwest Airlines is a private company,not public transportation. I am a frequent flyer of all airlines and I have NEVER seen any passenger with a shirt that says f on it. I am a democrat and consider myself liberal but her shirt would have to fing go.

  • Sabra (unverified)
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    This event is not lame. It looks small, but these small events add up to oppression. Do your homework. Nazi Germany gained power with thousands of these “little” gestures. They lead to bigger gestures. They cause people to be afraid to speak. First it’s “bad “ words like fuck, and then the list expands to other words then to people you can and cannot criticize…then later maybe book banning, etc., etc. Maybe soon we’ll be required to hang a picture of President George W. Bush in our living rooms. If that’s what you want, why not move to a country where they have a communist dictatorship?

    Plus if this event is so “lame,” as you say, in the scheme of things, then why does swearing matter? Who cares? Being prudish wins over a political statement emphasized by the word fuck?

    I wonder if these people who are so concerned about what there children see, have any idea what they and/or there children are watching on T.V. and in the movies. Don’t try to tell me they aren’t watching this crap. The corporate entertainment industry makes billions of dollars pumping out this shit. I don’t watch it, nor do most of the people I know. So, who does?

    Ben Waiting, you say, “They have The Right to say you can’t fly on their plane. You have The Right to bitch because of your use of the F* word on a shirt! Yes you do have that right! to wear it and say it!” Yes, they have the right to SAY you can’t fly on there plane. Denying a person; a paying customer (mid-trip I might add) transportation, is not saying, it’s doing. They can also charge fat people, whom they call, “passengers of size”, for two seats. Of course, we all know fat people are the reason most of the airlines are failing. Well, Ben, I am exercising the rights I still have to express my feelings as a now former customer of Southwest Airlines. And I am doing; I am no longer going to give them my money and support their worsening policies of discrimination and oppression.

    In response to this comment by Scooter [#1],”If she got kicked off because the pictures were of Clinton and Gore, would you be as upset? I doubt it.” Touché. You are probably right I might not be as upset. However, you probably would and you would be correct to be angry and I would agree with you.

    In conclusion, I just think that both Ben Waiting and Scooter [#1] are most likely very young, uninformed about history and politics and are motivated by anger rather than focused political discourse and action. Yes, there are unspeakably horrible things going on in the world today. Many of these things have been created and encouraged by the Bush administration. People are being tortured, dying, starving, etc. One of the terrible things that are going on in this country is that we are being hypnotized by corporate media. Another is that there is a growing movement to do away with freedom of expression. If you swear then why does this bother you so much that fuck would be printed on someone’s tee-shirt? Are you hypocrites? Do you honestly think this woman’s tee-shirt was going to cause anyone any real damage? Get real.

    Sabra

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    I only fly about once a year, and I have seen shirts with the f-word on them more than once.

    I've seen plenty of those stupid "Johnson" t-shirts that are often demeaning towards women, and cause a lot more questions from little kids than a word.

  • LokiVA (unverified)
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    Southwest, like other classes of businesses with special privileges from government and using public facilities or resources, does NOT have a right to discriminate in choosing who they fly, as a fully private person might in a private place or car. If Southwest wants to be free of those constraints, it's free to cease and desist using the air traffic control system with privileges granted commercial regulated carriers, and it's free to stop using the system of airports and terminals which are part of the public air transport infrastructure.

    In other words, Southwest is free to go out of business, just as some restaurants, hotels, realtors, and other such businesses or licensed professionals, or owners of FCC licensed broadcasters granted special conditional privileges to use public resources, have been put out of those businesses with prejudice, and sometimes criminal penalties, for violating the laws regulating those persons and industries.

    All speech content censorship based around concepts like indecency, profanity, sexuality, and the like are inherently of religious origin. The main differences are whether the complainant is acting from consciously malicious prejudices, institutionalized bigotry he's too clueless to understand, or predatory economic motivations with little concern for the underlying issues that motivate personal prejudices.

    This wasn't a sexual speech comment, but lots of people are indoctrinated to assume otherwise, by inherently pathological religious or social mechanisms. There is nothing inherently either profane or offensive about the word fuck, or any other example from a classic Ed Albee play immortalized in a misleading Carlin monologue transcribed in full by Federal employees into the appendix of the most noted round of years of wrangling between the FCC and Pacifica arts or public affairs oriented broadcasters between San Francisco and NYC. The fact that censorship flies in the face of US law makes it severely profane from many religious and ethical viewpoints. The fact that suppression of sexuality as indoctrinated by many Abrahamic sects is pathological from a spiritual or psychology perspective results in those religious artifacts being forms of abuse, all the more reason to block their coercive imposition on others, whether by government, quasi-government corporations like Southwest, or parents under a more mature interpretation of long standing criteria for evaluating when parental and religious rights are trumped by seriousness of child abuse.

    Nojam, you're wrong in assuming "fuck" is universally offensive. Among mature, aware religious people, it can be a regular part of serious discussions of spiritual practices within churches whose leaders are intelligent people.

    Bill B, do you know how to tell off a construction foreman who does something that puts other's lives at risk, with such intense language that an entire crew stops to watch in awe for 20 minutes? That's done by avoiding the noted terms from that Carlin monologue, but being far more precise, vivid, and graphic leaving a deeply felt perception of how one might receive a few spare assholes in unnatural locations. OTOH, fuck is a useful intensive in many other cases, because of the power so many people in this culture give it. That's why Paul Cohen (SCOTUS case cited above) used it protesting the Nam "police action", and why violent criminal Bush and gang merit similar protests, as well as legal protections for that explicitly protected class of speech. It's also why a "fucking for peace" rally would be good in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where there's a 1960's illegal speech and dress code overdue to be challenged.

    This case is in no way similar to the tampered pledge of allegiance issues, for several reasons, but one exception. That tampered pledge, and prejudices against words rabid fundie bigots protest, are driven by malicious supremacist hate cult dogma, which is a danger to Constitutional government against which we need to defend. Private political protest, by individuals or groups, is an explicit 1st Amendment right beyond generic speech rights. It was illegal for Congress to team up with a Catholic group to officially add religious content to the pledge. It is illegal by the 14th Amendment extension of the 1st to states for schools to force recitation of that pledge, or lead or organize same even if not coerced. The pledge itself, as is any loyalty oath, is unpatriotic whether in original or tampered form, as loyalty oaths of that sort run contrary to beliefs of many religions, some of them christian sects, some not.

    It's offensive to some to witness others blindly reciting that pledge. It would be within Southwest's rights to restrict some psychotic from attempting to disrupt a flight by attempting to lead passengers in a pledge. It would not be within their rights to restrict "flat speech" containing that pledge, which class of speech a passive t-shirt graphic is. One is active conduct, the other is a non-disruptive passive presence of an idea others are free to notice or ignore. It would be illegal for Southwest to require passengers to recite a loyalty oath or religious pledge as a condition of flying, just as it would be for the government to do so.

    This last thought may be foreign to some here. Some of us consciously train ourselves when using expletives (which that shirt was not) to favor fuck or other words which are considered objectionable by rabid fundies. It's not for lack of literacy in other word options, but because of awareness of memetic framing, psychology, law, and our personal religious or ethical frameworks.

    That form of speech, such as reacting to the pain or an unexpected injury, is a normal human response. It's also one most people are socially or religiously indoctrinated to shape in various ways. To someone who sees corporate predator bible thumpers as conspirators with violent criminals (and sometimes over that line themselves), the suggestion to use words related to select Abrahamic theology as expletives is obnoxious. That's a common enough prejudice in this society, that coupled with the awareness that sexuality repression is pathological and culturally destructive, some of us consciously try to use language that repeatedly breaks down those biases and sick religious and related practices.

    In that regard, fuck has many and varied uses. Generally speaking, those uses are far more respectful than people who think everyone should view a graphic depiction of gruesome, bloody execution, as a desirable figure to teach kids to worship. Would Southwest Airlines dare to ban a crucifix, whether as jewelry, statuary, "Velvet Elvis" style art, or flat speech on clothing? If not, beyond any legal similarities of issues, Southwest has management and staff who need to grow the fuck up, and pull their heads out of their flaming assholes.

    As to middle Amerikans who think their bigotry qualifies for imposition on others at gunpoint, to the extent this flies in the face of some values systems, there is a choice. Respect the civil rights we mutually agree to protect, in whatever form they take based on art, religion, cultures, or politics of others, of feel free to pick between suicide and leaving the country. I hear several places in the Pacific rim and Mideast welcome those with preferences for Sharia or similarly strict religious law.

  • LokiVA (unverified)
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    C. Conover..... If I wore that Fuck Bush shirt to church, I'd have far more people giving me a thumb's up than complaining.

    The few who'd complain would be objecting to the impression newcomers who might not understand the range of religious values any socially progressive church (eg, Unitarian-Universalist, United Church of Christ, some Episcopal, some Methodist, some Metropolitan Community Churches, some pagan or humanist groups (but others craniorectal inverted), and others less known) incorporates into its core values. They'd also already know, because these are topics I proactively raise and discuss, that I wasn't doing it to offend anyone as some might, but that I had sincere, deeply held both political and religious beliefs, as well as rational psychology and sociology perspectives on sick versus healthy human functions and needs for this society to grow up. That might well mean I was challenging their personal values, but in a manner they'd respect while also finding uncomfortable, as people indoctrinated into "norms" of a sick society have a tricky challenge to sort out how to adapt or try to live different personal values in daily life.

    I also know that I am welcome in the homes of both those who'd express pleasure and dismay seeing such a shirt's artwork, as I tend to associate with spiritual people who are mature enough to deal with their differences ethically.

    That's not true of millions of Americans. The ones who lash out as in this incident, the tactical whores who organize behind the scenes to use politics to compromise rights of neighbors, and the cowardly bigots who conspire to smear neighbors without openly discussing important issues, are a serious danger to our Democratic Republic.

  • Ben Waiting (unverified)
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    Free Speech = I’m with you 100% Foul Language in/at a private business = Can you please leave or shut-up?

    Upsetting customers in a private industry? compared to In a public space – Big Difference

    Asked politely to cover or leave Wouldn’t comply = you now got to leave the private property

    Compared to just a shirt about Bush or various political opinions with one with Foul Language and vulgar words on it

    this equals a big difference!

    The fact that this use of vulgar words is not anywhere near like as in Hitler’s day of Nazi Germany and the gestures reference. It is more as in these modern days when typically we have to hear the vulgar word all too often And in respect to the more important news that is much more worthy of protesting and making a stink over, that to be waving flags about this is one is ONE small potato! It’s not about anything more than the right to ask that no profanity be used while on the plane and some one is now complaining about it. zzzzzz

    If I say "I Don’t like it" so do as I say or *F off ????? How rude that would be? to revolve into using that kind of language? Can I say it ?...ya I can. Does it show my intelligence?.......not anymore than refusing to change the dumb tee-shirt has shown to be.

    *by the way without any research (I think) Southwest is one of the more worker friendly / customer friendly /socially responsible / fair wages / type of airlines so......as we pick our protest battles. I say this with only vague remembrances from what I read from a politician whom I respect, claiming that "he respected that airlines above all the other ones a lot". I mention this because as apples and oranges are sometime sorted out it may be a small issue to bitch about a clothing policy than some more political correct decisions this company may be making that way overwhelm what is considered morally right or wrong. My anger is not with anybody other than unabridged violations to my liberty and freedom that the Federal Government takes from us all like through the Patriot Acts and similar decisions, not a foul mouth tee-shirt issue. I have bigger fish to fry This tee-shirt issue would typically fit right in to a FOX evening Dinner Time Spoon Fed Spin Story Ya know that “corporate media waste of time stuff.

    This is poppycock issues or dress codes nothing more …oh maybe it could be considered a waste of time…..

  • Ben (unverified)
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    I fly Southwest Airlines all the time and love the airline for their quick and efficent service and low fares. the fact that they decided to make a passanger deplane for wearing a shirt and states a truth is something to be looked at closer. But when it really comes down to the facts she should have just put on her sweater she was carrying and let us all move on witht he rest of our lives. As a democrate I like the shirt but I would never wear it in closed enviroment 30 thousand feet above ground.

  • Sabra (unverified)
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    I am, frankly, getting sick and tired of those of you who keep insisting that this incident isn’t a big deal and you have better, more important things to do and think about; “bigger fish to fry,” as put by Ben Waiting. That is rich, since YOU are the very people who think wearing a tee-shirt that says “fuck” on it is important enough to deny someone their right to public transport. YOU think it’s a big deal. If you didn’t, we wouldn’t even be talking about it. Southwest is a Private company, however, as posted by LokiVA “Southwest, like other classes of businesses with special privileges from government and using public facilities or resources, does NOT have a right to discriminate in choosing who they fly, as a fully private person might in a private place or car. If Southwest wants to be free of those constraints, it's free to cease and desist using the air traffic control system with privileges granted commercial regulated carriers, and it's free to stop using the system of airports and terminals which are part of the public air transport infrastructure.” How do they receive these special privileges? With OUR tax dollars. This is more complicated than a local restaurant, etc. Do you guys even think about the posts after you read them? You are keeping the level of discourse very low. Many of you sound like right wing hecklers or possibly SWA shills. Personally if I don’t start hearing some intelligent responses from you, I’ll just start skipping your posts.

  • paul (unverified)
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    From the back of any plane ticket. Please read it the next time your board. No, they cannot discriminate against you on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion (which is why the attempts to compare this to race discrimination fall flat). Posters here are presuming that common carriage requirements extend beyond the categories explicitly protected in the Constitution. They do not.

    "American may refuse to transport you, or may remove you from your flight at any point, for one or several reasons, including, but not limited to the following:

    a) Have an offensive odor not caused by a disability or illness.

    b) Are clothed in a manner that would cause discomfort or offense to other passengers."

    Translation: this is NOT a free speech or censorship issue. The First Amendment does NOT protect your right to say anything at any time in any place.

    ==

    Please. "Meet the Fuckers" is just a lame, sophomoric attempt to be funny. Yes, it is political speech, but of the crudest and most thoughtless kind. I'll still defend someone's right to say "Fuck Bush" in a public forum (as I argued above, an airline does not count--there are many limits placed on your behavior and speech in an airplane).

    But I also reserve the right to call them an asshole.

  • tom civiletti (unverified)
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    Paul,

    You are going to be pushed around a lot if you accept what is printed on the back of a ticket as the limit of your rights.

    Get up, stand up....

  • Scooter P. (unverified)
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    Sabra, and others

    I'm definitely not a Bushite, if I was I probably wouldn't be a regular reader of this blog. And I wouldn't approve of the shirt saying Meet the Fuckers with pictures of Clinton and Gore either. As a father, I don't want to have to explain to my child why someone is wearing a profanity on their shirt in a public confined space.

    Sabra, thanks for the compliment, my kids don't think that in my mid 40s I'm "young"

    Scooter Libby, sorry if anyone confuses me with you; I'll use my initial P to differentiate. Sorry you feel motivated to call me an idiot for voicing my opinion; you certainly are falling into the right-wing's hands by resorting to name calling in the place of discourse. That kind of childish response is what gives the left a bad name. Did you see Carville's comments the other day? You're proving his point.

  • Ben Waiting (unverified)
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    Oh make me cry! You are gonna skip my post? Didn't I say the f* word enough for you, to want be engaged in a dialog about how ridicules fighting for a right to be rude on the airlines is, while portraying to know all about my age and interest or my anger or my being a shill or blah blah, and basically not reading any of the logic that people are writing (example like Paul just stated about on the back of the ticket) while you chastise those who engage in a response back to your trumped up spin which is more of a “real news diversion” I would expect to see on FOX for the “High Light of Today’s ” By you getting pretty much getting pissy because you want to go on a vendetta against SWA over the right to wear a shirt with vulgar print doesn’t interest me . And Sabra, the reason this is important once again was...?

    Ya I’m Waiting all right ...Been Waiting for some logic to seep in on a worthwhile issue to rant about beside Airware. This reminds me of a PTA meeting about why a child can’t wear a Budweiser shirt to the 7th grade dance.

  • Sabra (unverified)
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    Paul, You say, "... [the airlines] cannot discriminate against you on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion (which is why the attempts to compare this to race discrimination fall flat). Posters here are presuming that common carriage requirements extend beyond the categories explicitly protected in the Constitution. They do not." Have you read my last post or several others that state that airlines receive public monies, use public space, etc? If they want to make there own rules about freedom of speech how about NO MORE PUBLIC MONEY. The ONLY reason they don't discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, disability or sexual orientation is because it is a clearly stated law. Otherwise I'm willing to bet they would discriminate against people more (What do you think about the fact that they charge fat people, whom they call "passengers of size", for two seats? Ripping them off while at the same time, pathetically, trying not to offend them. Is that discrimination?)The ONLY reason we can expect the airlines not to discriminate against the aforementioned groups is because of hard fought battles for civil rights. Not because SWA feels a moral responsibility to serve these groups regardless of the "comfort" of other passengers. They are forced not to discriminate against these groups, as they should be forced to abide by the first amendment if they want to continue as US Airline Carriers. Calling someone or an organization an asshole on a BLOG is not very effective. It is certainly less politically active than wearing a "Meet the Fuckers" tee-shirt to show what you think of our current administration. Whether the shirt is silly or not is neither here nor there. This IS a free speech and censorship issue as long as SWA continues to receive even a penny of our tax money. It is an issue of action SWA was wrong to take this action and anyone who believes that should take action to put a stop to such nonsense. As I stated in my first post, I have written to the Pres. of SWA, I will not be flying SWA anymore and I will encourage everyone I know not to either.

    Scooter P, I'm glad you're not a right wing heckler. However, I'm not sure why you and many others who think that their kids are going to be more damaged by the word fuck or any other "bad" words than the fact that your rights can be dictated on public transport.” Meet the Fuckers" - according to some: vulgar, crude, etc. and not worthy of a place on a plane. Several very good points have been made by, among others, Kari Chisholm:

    ""Meet the Fockers" - aired on the plane as the official movie.

    Does changing one vowel really make any difference? Is there anyone who - hearing "Meet the Fockers" - doesn't get the joke; thus thinking the forbidden word?

    No.... methinks it was a political judgment by SWA staff. Perhaps their ire was increased by the curse words, but it was the juxtaposition of the F-bomb with the pic of the president."

    "Robert, you wrote, " the passenger sitting right next to Ms. Heasley the couldn't very well avoid her or get up and leave."

    Not true. On Southwest, it's cattle-car seating. Sit where you want."

    "Incidentally, can we talk about this business of "exposing kids to profanity"?

    Either they've heard the F word before and know what it means - and so seeing it again doesn't harm them --- or they've never seen it before, and they wouldn't have any idea what it means.

    Sounds to me like the problem is with the parents' exposure, not the kids'."

    LokiVA: "Southwest, like other classes of businesses with special privileges from government and using public facilities or resources, does NOT have a right to discriminate in choosing who they fly, as a fully private person might in a private place or car. If Southwest wants to be free of those constraints, it's free to cease and desist using the air traffic control system with privileges granted commercial regulated carriers, and it's free to stop using the system of airports and terminals which are part of the public air transport infrastructure." Why do none of you address the issues raised here? Public monies, what your kids have probably already seen (on TV, at school or elsewhere), that it is likely for political reasons rather than "vulgarity" that Ms. Heasley was kicked off of her flight. That Fockers is equal to Fuckers. Don't your kids ask you what a focker is? I'm just missing the discourse here. I'm not hearing any facts or good points from your side of the argument. Just "vugarity", "rudeness", f*word. Are we that delicate? This is the first posting experience I've ever had and it is becoming disappointing. A lot of posting and not very much rumination.

    Good luck to you all. I need to spend my time getting stuff done. Sabra

  • LokiVA (unverified)
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    Anyone who thinks profanity should be restricted clearly needs to understand what is profane. The new rules are that all passengers must either be nude, with minor exceptions for sandals or glasses, or wearing full pirate regalia. Anyone not able to pass suitable spiritual devotion and philosophical knowledge tests to match does not qualify for air transport.

    Those rules could either support a variety of religions where airclad lifestyles or skyclad practices are symbolic of spiritual purity, or those of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and his many tentacles of faith, including those which regulate global warming.

    http://www.venganza.org/ (a serious weird religion)

    They're also far more serious concepts of how to avoid profane conduct that most people protesting kids seeing "fuck bush".

    Since censorship of speech content is highly offensive, that voids any rational basis for supposed needs for censorship to avoid offense. So does the impossibility of selecting speech content without religious, political, or ethnic cultural discrimination, which is the basis for the Supreme Court precedents previously summarized and cited.

    Profanity is an even more problematic concept, for reasons politicians and rabid religious right con artists market fraudulent notions of it. It requires identifying my specified gods, and what might offend them. Your religion or non-religion, and its false gods or lack of gods, are defective, as are you as a supposed human for thinking any other deity concepts exist. Why would such subhuman scum with the wrong notion of how to avoid acting profane be allowed to breath, never mind fly?

    Are there over 5 people here who seriously get why that is the reason this type of speech censorship is illegal?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    To all of you that are so supportive of Ms. Heasley wearing her T-Shirt with the expletive applied to Bush on a Southwest flight, you must surely also despise Condoleeza Rice. She is black and nothing is more offensive to black people than the word "nigger." Now what do you think about wearing a shirt on Southwest or any other airline that says, "Condi Rice is a nigger?" How about on a bus driving through Oakland? Not the one on I-5 in Oregon but the one across the Bay from San Francisco. I believe you have a First Amendment right to do that but I doubt that would offer much protection along East 14th Street. The only thing that would save your dumb ass would be a recognition on the part of offended black people that you must be the dumbest ass#$%@ in town and they showed you pity no one ever showed to them.

  • Sabra help I can't stop (unverified)
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    What is BlueOregon? BlueOregon is a place for progressive Oregonians to gather 'round the water cooler and share news, commentary, and gossip

    A definition of Progressive pro•gres•sive (pr -gr s v) adj. 1. Moving forward; advancing. 2. Proceeding in steps; continuing steadily by increments: progressive change. 3. Promoting or favoring progress toward better conditions or new policies, ideas, or methods: a progressive politician; progressive business leadership. 4. Progressive Of or relating to a Progressive Party: the Progressive platform of 1924. 5. Of or relating to progressive education: a progressive school. 6. Increasing in rate as the taxable amount increases: a progressive income tax. 7. Pathology Tending to become more severe or wider in scope: progressive paralysis. 8. Grammar Designating a verb form that expresses an action or condition in progress. n. 1. A person who actively favors or strives for progress toward better conditions, as in society or government. 2. Progressive A member or supporter of a Progressive Party. 3. Grammar A progressive verb form. pro•gres•sive (pr -gr s v) adj. 1. Moving forward; advancing. 2. Proceeding in steps; continuing steadily by increments: progressive change. 3. Promoting or favoring progress toward better conditions or new policies, ideas, or methods: a progressive politician; progressive business leadership. 4. Progressive Of or relating to a Progressive Party: the Progressive platform of 1924. 5. Of or relating to progressive education: a progressive school. 6. Increasing in rate as the taxable amount increases: a progressive income tax. 7. Pathology Tending to become more severe or wider in scope: progressive paralysis. 8. Grammar Designating a verb form that expresses an action or condition in progress. n. 1. A person who actively favors or strives for progress toward better conditions, as in society or government. 2. Progressive A member or supporter of a Progressive Party. 3. Grammar A progressive verb form. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2003. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

    The worry and concern over “profanity” in public or otherwise is, as I see it, part of religious belief. Are not most of you who are upset by "profanity" a word closely related to "blasphemy" - "blasphemous language (expressing disrespect for God or for something sacred)" Christians of some denomination? Or, at the very least, adhering to the status quo in a predominately Christian Country and State?

    Being of Jewish decent, but non-practicing and believing that my spiritual beliefs are my own and my business only, I don't care about "bad" words. To be against the use of "bad" words in public is, I believe an assertion of religious beliefs and is the status quo. This flies in the face of politically progressive politics. This is not to say I think people should necessarily change their beliefs, but they ought not to expect others to adhere to them either.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Sabra sums up his long-winded screed with "To be against the use of "bad" words in public is, I believe an assertion of religious beliefs and is the status quo." which is utter nonsense. The preponderance of people opposed to profanity in public places are offended not because of religious dogma but because of social standards that have been handed down to them by responsible parents and they have chosen freely to accept as their own. Most of my friends are atheists and agnostics and they would find indiscriminate profanity in public places to be odious and a sign of poor social standards and education; although, they would agree that the First Amendment means people have the right to use profanity. But they are well educated and would only use profanity with considerable discretion. They would be very much offended if people used gratuitous profanity in the presence of their wives and children. The degree to which one uses profanity suggests one's class - or lack thereof. Just because people have a right to do something doesn't mean it is right to do any time they feel like it.

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    Seems to me that the bottom line is that many posters are confused regarding the definition of public and private spaces.

    Airlines are private corporations and they have the right to require plaid skirts and bobbysox on all female passengers if they so desire. If you don't like their rules, don't patronize them.

    Strip bars are also private entities that should be able to promote any behavior or expression among consenting patrons or employees.

    Pioneer Courthouse Square is a public space and no government entity whether municipal, regional, or state, may require any code of dress, conduct, or speech that conflicts with the free expression guarantees set out in the Oregon and federal constitutions.

    It doesn't seem that tough to me.

  • Sabra (unverified)
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    Bill Boden, First of all, I am a woman. I think you missed the part where I said Oregon is a Christian State and the USA is a predominately Christian Country; This effects how people think whether they are Christian or not. It is the status quo. My crowd is well educated as well (probaly why they can understand the concept of a dominant cultural bent)and they don't really care about swearing. As to your comment about class, I think the middle and working classes may opposed to profanity, but the very low and the very upper classes often feel free to use “profanity” in public or otherwise. That’s my experience. My idea of poor social standards is lack of good public transportation, lack of basic human needs being met, lack of public toilets, etc. I think France,Paris in particular, has a much better grasp on what is important in the public arena. Why not focus on human needs and rights, then we can quibble about "profanity" in public.

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    Sabra,

    No, I think you have not read my post. I took that statement right off a ticket. You may want to argue that airlines are some sort of quasi-public entity because they use some public monies, but the legal facts simply aren't with you.

    Many entities receive public monies but can still assert private rights. A college campus is a good example. The ability of a private college to restrict speech on its campus is much greater than a public college.

    Don't worry, Tom, I don't feel particularly limited by the back of a ticket. If I want to wear a "Meet the Fuckers" t-shirt, I'll do so. But I won't whine "censorship" if an airline asks me to cover it, either.

    All of this is based on a Court's interpretation of what is a reasonable restriction and what constitutes community standards.

    Lokiva's counter examples are all excessively silly. No court would sustain a requirement that you dress in the nude or that you wear pirate gear (ARGH!). But they have and will sustain a requirement that you not board in bra and panties or in a bathing suit.

    Do you think this is unreasonable? Great-take them to court. The party mentioned here has every right to sue Southwest, claiming that her rights were violated. Personally, as a proud progressive non-religious father of five, I think they were not.

    And I find the claims that true progressives need to defend the ability to say "FUCK" all the time (or else we're not true progressives or we must be Bushites or religious fanatics) sadly reflective of the values gap that so harms progressives in the national political dialogue.

    Lokiva, Pat Ryan sums up the constitutional status of political speech most clearly. I can't add more.

  • aj (unverified)
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    "Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way... that is not easy." -- Aristotle.

    Above all, I think the saddest part of this whole issue is that there are people who chose to be offended so easily.

    Second to that is that so many people resort to ad hominem attacks in order to persuade everyone else that they are right.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Sabra:

    You misunderstand my point about class which has nothing to do with economics. By chance I was just watching a documentary about the Oregon Trail which mentioned that there came a point when some people had to lighten the loads on their wagons. Some people destroyed what they discarded so that no one else could use it; others left their discarded items with a note telling whoever found the stuff they were welcome to use it and wishing them well. The latter type of people had class - the former none. A younger person on a crowded bus surrenders his or her seat to an older person. That is class. The young jerk who remains seated while the older person has to stand has no class. I also believe you are over-rating the influence of Christianity especially when it has so many different meanings to so many different people. This nation was influenced to a great extent by the Founding Fathers and their wives and many of them were secular.

  • Sabra (unverified)
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    I remember when I was eleven years old a couple of friends from school went to Disneyland. They went to one of the Disneyland concert venues and were dancing together. They were told they could not do that (these are two eleven year old girls I’m talking about). When they returned home we were all disgusted and talked about how it was wrong. A couple of years later the same thing happened to a gay couple dancing together at Disneyland. The gay couple sued and won. Disneyland is a very private company/corporation, whatever they are. This was in the late seventies. I believe Disney felt justified in this act and probably had many supporters. My point is first amendment rights should be enforced on aircraft. Other non-discriminatory policies are enforced. If you don’t like to see the word fuck in public and you believe that is reason enough to kick someone off of a flight, why bother talking about it. Things are going your way. I do not believe that this is in any way okay and I believe political action is important. That’s how things change

  • Sabra (unverified)
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    Bill Boden, Well, honestly I wasn't sure of your meaning of class, so I guessed. Still, I think of class in either social or economic terms. What you seem to be calling class is what I would call being considerate. I agree with your examples completely. Where we differ is that I believe that not trying to control people around you when it is unnecessary. If you don’t want to see something as small as a T-shirt, don’t look. This is also way of being considerate. I grew up in a place where people are always butting their noses in where they don’t belong and I don’t think that’s considerate or classy. I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree about that as well as whether this is a Christian country or not. I’m not a Christian, but I can tell you, if I were in a Muslim or Communist country, I’m sure I would recognize some Judeo-Christian values I have absorbed just by virtue of being an American. Some absorb more than others.

  • Andy (unverified)
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    On NW Air, I saw a guy wearing one of those red shirts with Stalin on it, and I wanted to beat his ass.

    He thinks he is being cute and counterculture, but if one of the family members of the 100 million people that asswipe butchered were on that plane, its a damn shame I wouldnt have a nail file to hand to them to carve his pathetic throat out.

    Oh, the venue? He was in DC to protest Bush's inauguration and was on his way back to Portland.

  • Rebel O'Leary, Jr. (unverified)
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    Charlie writes: "So the F-word is okay in public? Is that what you all are saying? What about a t-shirt with graphic descriptions of lewd sex acts? Is that okay?

    Somebody tell me where to draw the line. Honestly, this lady is tasteless and deserves what she got. There are better ways to protest than making yourself look like an idiot."

    <hr/>

    I'm with you Charlie. Personally, I have no problem with the word "Fuck". I hear it constantly; at work, in movies, in conversation. However, ...I still that it's not appropriate in many cases & places. I think a person should have the right to walk down the street with it on their shirt if they want. But I also think that businesses should also be allowed to prohibit people from wearing it on their property, especially if it offends other customers or themselves.

  • Rebel O'Leary, Jr. (unverified)
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    LokiVA wrote: "Aside from its sexual connotations, this incredible word can be used to describe many situations:

    1. Greetings "How the fuck are ya?"
    2. Fraud "I got fucked by the car dealer."
    3. Resignation "Oh, fuck it!"
    4. Trouble "I guess I'm fucked now."
    5. Aggression "FUCK YOU!"
    6. Disgust "Fuck me."
    7. Confusion "What the fuck...?"
    8. Difficulty "I don't understand this fucking business!"
    9. Despair "Fucked again...."
    10. Pleasure "I fucking couldn't be happier."
    11. Displeasure "What the fuck is going on here?"
    12. Lost "Where the fuck are we?"
    13. Disbelief "UNFUCKINGBELIEVABLE!"
    14. Retaliation "Up your fucking ass!"
    15. Denial "I didn't fucking do it."
    16. Perplexity "I know fuck all about it."
    17. Apathy "Who really gives a fuck, anyhow?"
    18. Greetings "How the fuck are ya?"
    19. Suspicion "Who the fuck are you?"
    20. Panic "Let's get the fuck out of here."
    21. Directions "Fuck off."
    22. Disbelief "How the fuck did you do that?" "
    <hr/>

    Now THAT would make a pretty cool fuckin' t-shirt!!! ...well, ...unless you're flying on Southwest Airlines. (grin)

    I for one don't think the MEET THE FUCKERS person that got kicked off the flight had anything to do with Bush or politics, I think it just had to do with not having enough sense to know that certain things simply are not appropriate in all areas of the public.

    I'm not against most porn by and large, but on the other hand, if the same person that wore the MEET THE FUCKERS t-shirt decided instead to put on a t-shirt with a color photo of a jizz covered woman getting gang-banged and anally fisted, ...well, I'd have a problem with that.

    It's one thing to wear a shirt like that to certain bars, clubs and such, but I wouldn't want to have to look at it while eating lunch somewhere, whether I had kids with me or not.

    To make this discussion even more interesting, how about if instead of the word "Fuck", the t-shirt had had a nazi swastika emblem on it? Or maybe a Confederate flag? Or maybe a Pro Osama Bin Laden logo? How would everyone feel about it then? eh?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Has anyone noticed clips of stand-up comics who seem to use an expletive for every second or third word during their act but never use profanity on Oprah, Larry King, Letterman, etc? The reason is that they have enough sense to know when and where profanity is acceptable or not.

    Last year about this time several Democrats were on television running for president. Off camera they probably used profanity on occasions, but did anyone hear them utter so much as a mild profanity in public? Do you think the audience that stood up and cheered Al Sharpton at the convention would have done the same thing if he sprinkled a selection of cuss words throughout his speech? That's called discretion and being judicious. Using gratuitous profanity to shock people because it feels good is called immaturity or dumb or a lack of class.

    The above debate, however, has been educational. From here on I'll think twice before I tell others I'm politically progressive. Can you imagine a progressive politician having some of the pro-profanity people above working on his campaign? With friends like them, who needs enemies?

  • scott (unverified)
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    She wore the shirt for attention. She got on the first flight because she agreed to cover it up. She un-covered it for attention. She says it fell off, she is full of shit. She refused to cover it up on the second leg for attention. She is suing for attention. She should have to pay Southwests legal fees after she loses the case. What a joke.

  • Ben Waiting (unverified)
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    Thanks Scott.......Thats what I have Been Waiting to hear!

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    There is a tendency among people claiming to be supporters of freedom of speech that anything goes except for shouting "Fire" in a crowded theater. To the contrary there are many proscriptions against people saying what they might want to say that meet the overwhelming approval of society. There are the laws against libel and slander. Without parliamentary rules of order that limit speech government and other organizations managed by committees would be in chaos. Debating rules ensure that all participants get a fair share of time and deny them the opportunity to say anything and everything they might want to. Humankind has progressed from barbarism towards more civilized societies using codes of ethics and good social etiquette that restrict what people might want to say. Unfortunately, we now have some people that have infiltrated the progressive movement to advocate regressive behavior in any and all public spaces. If they don't grow up and learn to use discretion in the way they express themselves, real progressives seeking to remedy the ills of our society - poverty; discrimination against others because of sexual orientation, race, ethnic origin or other superficial factors; war; torture and other abuses of human rights; etc. - will be fighting an endless campaign with supposed allies undermining whatever efforts they undertake.

  • tom civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Bill,

    It is difficult for me to get concerned about a vulgar word on a tee shirt pointing out the transgressors in the current administration. Their regression from civilized behavior is exponentially more damaging than wearing that shirt on an airline. Frankly, I am more concerned about alienating folks who get their politics essentially right than alienating folks whose panties gets knotted over vulgar words.

    When there are millions of people blissfully ignorant of the heinous crimes of the Shrubbery, yelling "wake the fuck up!" is more than appropriate, it is vital.

  • Jenny (unverified)
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    I have been a Flight Attendant for Southwest Airlines for the past 14 years. I have read (and some re-read) the messages that have been posted here and have to say I have never laughed harder. The fact that this has turned into a political issue over a moral issue would give anyone a good laugh. Ms. Heasley was asked, more than once, to change her shirt because of the vulgarity, period. She would not comply, THAT is the reason for her removal from one of our aircrafts, NOT because of who was on the flight, but WHAT IT SAID.

    To those like Sabra who choose to boycott Southwest, that is your choice. I encourage you to go fly American or another carrier where you will pay more for your ticket, receive less service and encounter un-happy employees.

    Sabra, Thanks for the letter you wrote to the President of my company. I encourage those who support Southwest's decision to also write in, I know I will.

  • Sabra (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Tom, I completely agree with your last post.

    Jenny, I'm glad to know that you are a happy employee. And, I agree with your point that the airline industry is not that appealing in general, but we're kind of stuck aren't we? I have actually been unhappy with SWA since they instituted the "Passengers of Size" policy (no, I am not fat).I also do not think that the word fuck on a t-shirt really matters in the scheme of things and obviously this is political(excluding the fact that there are pictures of the pres. and members of his admin.on the t-shirt). So, paying more or suffering some other discomfort is worth it to me.I don't want to support these kinds of policies. Thank you as well for recognizing that I am taking real action and for encouraging others to do the same. People should take a stand for what they think is right.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Tom and Sabra:

    You have apparently missed my main point that expressing a political opinion in a crude and profane way will turn off people that might be on the fence and send them over to the people we oppose. No matter how right that political opinion may be. I belong to a group that may very well be more opposed to the Bush regime and probably felt this way long before Ms. Heasley, but I doubt they would want to be associated with her style of protest. Most of us have probably had similar thoughts to that expressed on Ms. Heasley's T-shirt, but we realize using statements like that in public would do our cause more harm than good. There are loads of voters out there that can't make a responsible judgment on the facts and are influenced by style. If they are told Bush, Cheney and their cohorts are ripping off the U.S. Treasury and started a war for no reason that has cost thousands of lives, they probably don't care as long as Bush talks about God and they have a job and it isn't their kids that are being killed. They might, however, be persuaded to vote for a more honest alternative that is opposed to war, but not by people that get in their faces with antics they find offensive. If you don't agree with that, the next time you learn of a politician running for office, give him or her a call saying you will attend in support with signs saying something like, "[email protected]#$ the Republicans" or "(name of opponent) go [email protected]#$ yourself". I'll give you good odds if the politician wants to win and knows how the system works, he/she will decline your offer in a heartbeat.

  • LokiVA (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Progressive action to tear apart institutionalized bigotry isn't about any particular words, but ending patterns of systemic oppression many people don't recognize for the abuse it is. Of course that involves tackling issues that many people resist changing. This is very little different than desegregating bathrooms, water fountains, buses, or schools, or extending the vote to all white males (rather than exclusion of blacks and females in a "neutral" manner by basing the vote on property ownership, which was in turn regulated). BTW, how many people realize that the same voting laws known to a sadly small fraction of Americans as denying suffrage did in fact also disenfranchise many white males?

    As to desgregation, when will that be completed, such as segregated bathrooms? How disgusting is that discrimination, which presumes males rape females on sight, which females are property of fathers or spouses, and that g/l/b/p/t/etc's don't exist? Who else here has worked with transgenders told by government officials that they perhaps simply shouldn't use bathrooms at a university, because it bothers other students if they use either sex segregated set of facilities? Of course politicians are rushing to proactively, openly, and honestly tackle such issues, which require changing both building codes as used to require black and white, male and female restrooms in Southern states, and discrimination law loopholes.

    Because institutionalized bigotry is for many people subconscious, and for others based on malicious, predatory bigotry, political action alone isn't likely to advance causes where justice delayed is justice denied, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. These are issues where it's important to prevent theocratic courts as Bush has promised, as litigation, and sometimes civil disobedience or revolution, are needed to shorten the duration of problems which were overdue to change before most of us were born.

    It's harmful to minors to be shielded from exactly the speech hate cults like the American Assholes Association (ei, AFA, "award winning professional asshole Don Wildmon's "family" abuse group, where that depiction of Wildmon is quite literally true based on his work and awards he's won for it) decry. Anyone who trusts Rev Dr. James Dobson as a former child psychologist prior to founding cash cow Focus on the Family might consider what NARTH is, and how corrupt and pathological that faction of the APA is for their hateful denial of aspects of humanity their bigotry trumps.

    High levels of cognitive dissonance or dysphoria can be unhealthy for kids. In a diverse society which mutually contracts via civil rights law to protect a wide range of minorities, neighbors exercising civil rights cannot rightfully be blamed for those consequences, when some parents or tax privileged hate cults indoctrinate values at odds with the nature of diverse society, or actively without teaching kids skills needed to cope well in a diverse culture. The arrogant supremacist hate cults which now dominate the GOP rightfully enable and promote child abuse, were long standing Supreme Court precedents defining limits to parental and religious rights seriously enforced in a neutral and honest manner.

    Protecting a "Fuck Bush" shirt isn't just about that one shirt, or an obnoxious airline which hires dimwit bigots as seen here displaying both gross ignorance of her or her employer's religious and cultural prejudices, and malicious support for illegal discrimination. It's about drawing into the open serious underlying issues, where the word fuck has come to be a focal point for that larger and very serious set of civil rights and child rearing issues.

    To the extent politicians cannot or will not tackle such tough issues head on, we need to use other means to see that they're addressed. That can include litigation, education, IN YOUR MOTHERFUCKING FACE OUT OF THE CLOSET AND INTO THE STREET style protests, and publication of scholarly or research works in psychology, sociology, theology, and other related fields which serve as evidence in ongoing litigation over parenting issues. Also important are employment suits and litigation over biases in many child protective agencies, which tend to hire unqualified personnel with strong religious prejudices, and hostile work environments towards atheists, pagans, and people who demand they do their jobs honestly rather than view it as if normal to use work to indirectly coerce xtian hate cult notions on marginalized parents.

    Money and education also are part of these issues. People from schools with 30-40% dropout rates, and little money to travel or study diverse religions and subcultures, tend to not comprehend much about civil rights, other than one set of facts too many white upper middle class types typically strongly deny. Almost all cops are rightfully violent felons, who lie under oath, and threaten gunpoint force while regularly assaulting victims of what in most cases are rightfully unConstitutional laws, due to the blatant intent and effect of US drug policies and sex codes based on religion, even if also supported by economic factions. The economic factions corrolate with the same prejudices that limit politicians' willingness to confront these issues. It's difficult to sell a major life change to violent or obnoxious predators whose lives are overdue to be brought in line with equal protections of law and civil rights boundaries. If economic or political marketing don't work towards that need, it's a question of how else it can be done, not whether or not it's overdue.

  • LokiVA (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Progressive action to tear apart institutionalized bigotry isn't about any particular words, but ending patterns of systemic oppression many people don't recognize for the abuse it is. Of course that involves tackling issues that many people resist changing. This is very little different than desegregating bathrooms, water fountains, buses, or schools, or extending the vote to all white males (rather than exclusion of blacks and females in a "neutral" manner by basing the vote on property ownership, which was in turn regulated). BTW, how many people realize that the same voting laws known to a sadly small fraction of Americans as denying suffrage did in fact also disenfranchise many white males?

    As to desgregation, when will that be completed, such as segregated bathrooms? How disgusting is that discrimination, which presumes males rape females on sight, which females are property of fathers or spouses, and that g/l/b/p/t/etc's don't exist? Who else here has worked with transgenders told by government officials that they perhaps simply shouldn't use bathrooms at a university, because it bothers other students if they use either sex segregated set of facilities? Of course politicians are rushing to proactively, openly, and honestly tackle such issues, which require changing both building codes as used to require black and white, male and female restrooms in Southern states, and discrimination law loopholes.

    Because institutionalized bigotry is for many people subconscious, and for others based on malicious, predatory bigotry, political action alone isn't likely to advance causes where justice delayed is justice denied, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. These are issues where it's important to prevent theocratic courts as Bush has promised, as litigation, and sometimes civil disobedience or revolution, are needed to shorten the duration of problems which were overdue to change before most of us were born.

    It's harmful to minors to be shielded from exactly the speech hate cults like the American Assholes Association (ei, AFA, "award winning professional asshole Don Wildmon's "family" abuse group, where that depiction of Wildmon is quite literally true based on his work and awards he's won for it) decry. Anyone who trusts Rev Dr. James Dobson as a former child psychologist prior to founding cash cow Focus on the Family might consider what NARTH is, and how corrupt and pathological that faction of the APA is for their hateful denial of aspects of humanity their bigotry trumps.

    High levels of cognitive dissonance or dysphoria can be unhealthy for kids. In a diverse society which mutually contracts via civil rights law to protect a wide range of minorities, neighbors exercising civil rights cannot rightfully be blamed for those consequences, when some parents or tax privileged hate cults indoctrinate values at odds with the nature of diverse society, or actively without teaching kids skills needed to cope well in a diverse culture. The arrogant supremacist hate cults which now dominate the GOP rightfully enable and promote child abuse, were long standing Supreme Court precedents defining limits to parental and religious rights seriously enforced in a neutral and honest manner.

    Protecting a "Fuck Bush" shirt isn't just about that one shirt, or an obnoxious airline which hires dimwit bigots as seen here displaying both gross ignorance of her or her employer's religious and cultural prejudices, and malicious support for illegal discrimination. It's about drawing into the open serious underlying issues, where the word fuck has come to be a focal point for that larger and very serious set of civil rights and child rearing issues.

    To the extent politicians cannot or will not tackle such tough issues head on, we need to use other means to see that they're addressed. That can include litigation, education, IN YOUR MOTHERFUCKING FACE OUT OF THE CLOSET AND INTO THE STREET style protests, and publication of scholarly or research works in psychology, sociology, theology, and other related fields which serve as evidence in ongoing litigation over parenting issues. Also important are employment suits and litigation over biases in many child protective agencies, which tend to hire unqualified personnel with strong religious prejudices, and hostile work environments towards atheists, pagans, and people who demand they do their jobs honestly rather than view it as if normal to use work to indirectly coerce xtian hate cult notions on marginalized parents.

    Money and education also are part of these issues. People from schools with 30-40% dropout rates, and little money to travel or study diverse religions and subcultures, tend to not comprehend much about civil rights, other than one set of facts too many white upper middle class types typically strongly deny. Almost all cops are rightfully violent felons, who lie under oath, and threaten gunpoint force while regularly assaulting victims of what in most cases are rightfully unConstitutional laws, due to the blatant intent and effect of US drug policies and sex codes based on religion, even if also supported by economic factions. The economic factions corrolate with the same prejudices that limit politicians' willingness to confront these issues. It's difficult to sell a major life change to violent or obnoxious predators whose lives are overdue to be brought in line with equal protections of law and civil rights boundaries. If economic or political marketing don't work towards that need, it's a question of how else it can be done, not whether or not it's overdue.

  • Ken (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I wonder what direction this thread would have taken if a riot had broken out on the flight? I suspect that the same voices who cry and wail for free speech and against oppression would be raised in a higher pitch denouncing SW for not taking action before the riot occured. They would wail that SW doesn't care about their passengers and doesn't take security seriously, especially post 911 when security should be at the top of any airlines agenda.

    lokiVA seems to suffer from the misguided belief that anti-establishment thought has an inherently higher moral purpose. I feel sorry for people like him/her who go through life as professional dissenters.

    I wonder if the idea of personal responsibility has occured to those of you who use the consititution like a club to beat other people over the head with speech. With every right comes equal responsibility. This most basic aspect of human existance and civilized society is often ignored by those who demand their rights without expending any effort to develop the self-discipline required to exist among others peacfully.

    You have the right to use any kind of rude, ogressive or hateful speech that you wish. If you exercise that right with a blatant disregard to the equal rights of others, then you shouldn't be suprised when you are marginalized and then ignored. You may have a voice here, or at other little blogs, but you will never have a seat at the table that matters until you learn to play nice. A good example of that occured yesterday when Louis Farrakhan and his followers re-itterated their lunatic paranoid theories about New Orleans and the twin towers. It's remarkable how he can come so close to delivering a worthwhile message, but then add to it a lunatic accusation which has the effect of invalidating the entire thing.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Bill,

    You are right that vulgarity can turn off some people to a political message. It can also turn some people on to a political message. It depends. I don't think a tee shirt offers much opportunity for reasoned advocacy. It is a good place to display a zinger, as the shirt in question did. Most folks who would see the shirt would get only a glimce of it. Vulgarity is a good way to attract attention in such a situation. I personally would be unlikely to wear that shirt on a plane, but I would be glad to see someone else wearing it.

  • Ed (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I been around long enough to see all the personal rights that have occurred in the last 40 years or so and they make me want to throwup. Yes, he has the right to own the T-shirt and wear it among his friends. In public other people have rights also!!! I congratulate Southwest for respecting those rights (if only from a business standpoint). The right of the majority has long been ignored in this country to appease the minorities. Now every individual seems to be able to do as he pleases and the hell with everyoone else. Three cheers for Southwest I hope some of our courts had their backbone!

  • Bill (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Self expression! Bull! Just plain disgusting. Way to go Southwest, this should never be condoned in public. Not everyone is of this person's opinion and shouldn't be forced to have to put up with his expressions and beliefs. After all a rapist is only expressing themselves are we to condone their behavior also???

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The last two posts illustrate why civil liberties need diligent protection. There will always be folks who contend that their right to not hear trumps another's right to speak, that folks should not "have to put up with" expression with which they disagree, that displaying a political statement that includes a vulgarity is someone comparable to rape.

    There will always be those who clamor for enforced conformity. Sometimes they censor tee shirts, sometimes they demand fealty to the dominant religion, and sometimes they attack those who dare criticize the fearless leader. Their concept of society is that of the ant hill.

  • jj (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I am disappointed by the misguided posters who are making this issue a mountain out of a molehill.

    It is obvious that the people who are defending this woman with poor taste and judgement either do not have children or do not care what their children hear or see.

    Despite the fact that it exists all around us, vulgarity is not acceptable and I do not want to expose my children to it. F*ck is a vulgar word and that is why it still has shock value.

    What if these "defenders of free speech" had small children and one of their teachers started to pour out expletives as part of his or her "lesson plan" for the day? Would that be acceptable?

    There are methods or political protests that do not involve vulgarity. Are there vulgar words in the Declaration of Independence? Did Rosa Parks tell the bus driver in Montgomery to f*ck off?

    I am no fan of the Bush administration, and this lady can own her T-shirt. But if she had sat next to me and my children, I would have complained to the flight attendants.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    jj,

    One of my daughters is a physician. The other is an architectural student. I cared what both of them saw and heard when they were young, but seeing the word "fuck" on a tee shirt was not one of my concerns. I am glad that they are shocked, instead, at the media making a video game of dropping bombs on people and the lack of healthcare access in the world's most powerful nation. Now there are some real vugarities.

    Neither one has a particularly foul mouth as a result of my relaxed attitude, and neither one has a particularly libertine attitude toward sex. Neither one is a shrinking lilly or a shrill moralizer either. I think they turned out just fine.

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