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My jaw about dropped when I read Jason Clayworth’s piece yesterday in The Des Moines Register that discussed Secretary of State Matt Schultz’ desire to be able to reject offensive business names that are submitted to the Secretary of State’s office.  He wrote:

“Squirrel Piss LLC” is causing a warm stream of controversy at the Capitol.

Some say the proposed business name is offensive as are others that have successfully incorporated, such as “Fat Bastard Enterprises” and “Fartless.”

Now, Secretary of State Matt Schultz — a man who has a picture of Jesus Christ hanging from his office wall at the Capitol — wants lawmakers to give him the right to turn down potentially offensive names.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s up to the Legislature. We just want to get the conversation started and let people know that these kinds of things come to our office,” Schultz said. (emphasis mine)

The only reason I can think of as to why Clayworth would even mention the art that is supposed to be representative of Christ is that he thinks it is just as offensive as “Squirrel Piss LLC”  (I’m not a fan of such art for reasons better suited for discussion on Caffeinated Theology).  I want to be crystal clear on this.  I’m not defending such legislation, while I believe it is unseemly I’m not sure that the state needs have the power to reject or decline such names.  Such power could end up being misused or the tables could be turned if somebody like Clayworth were the Secretary of State.  So I agree with State Senator Jeff Danielson (D-Cedar Falls) who believes that the evolution of the free market will weed out company names like that.

What disturbs me is that Clayworth’s article is being passed off as actual hard news.  It was a snarky comment that was inherently biased and it had no place in the article.  If he were writing an opinion piece that would be quite different, but that wasn’t what he was trying to do.

I give a “thistle” to Clayworth and to his editor for letting it stand.

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1 comment
  1. Fair paraphrase: proposed rule is dumb, announcing that the guy has a picture on his wall is even dumber?

    (Barring it being a picture of, say, some Soviet that was involved in one of those erase-from-the-picture things…and then it probably wouldn’t be mentioned.)

    It fits their narrative, though, so of course they had it.

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