I guess Joe Armstrong must have found this satirical box of Obama Disappoint-Mints objectionable under the “personal offense” clause of the First Amendment. You know, the one in which Republicans get scolded and silenced for their violent rhetoric while Democrats call them “terrorists” and “jihadis” with “suicide vests” (via Instapundit):
Breath mints packaged in a tin can poking fun at President Barack Obama have been pulled from the shelves at the University of Tennessee bookstore after local legislator Joe Armstrong told store officials he was offended by the mints.
Armstrong, D-Knoxville, said he got a call from a student who had seen the satirical mints in the bookstore and was bothered by the depiction of the president.
The tin can reads: “This is change? Disappointmints.”
Armstrong followed up Tuesday with a visit to the bookstore, located in the basement of the University Center, where he talked to director David Kent.
“I explained to him that I felt those mints were politically specific products that had no educational value,” Armstrong said.
“If it was a book or something of that nature, fine, but that’s sort of a discretionary product they have there. It wasn’t viewpoint neutral. It was very specifically insulting to the president.”
Had this been a private citizen complaining to a private-sector business owner, there would be nothing wrong with it. In the private sector, customers complaints require attention if a business owner wants to keep his business open for very long. Even a boycott is a perfectly rational private-sector response to a private-sector issue, even if most boycotts are demonstrations of impotence and usually misguided.
However, that’s a far cry from a legislator telling a state facility to take something off the shelves because it offends his partisan leanings. Armstrong apparently didn’t have any problem when the same bookstore sold mints skewering George W. Bush a few years ago; at the very least, no one demanded an end to that satire. In fact, The Anchoress has a picture of those mints, which went a great deal further than “disappointment” in its satire:
The Anchoress quotes Instapundit and adds a few thoughts of her own:
Reynolds also points out at his site that these very Obama mints are sold by The Nation.
Methinks the Democrats had better buck up and try to develop a sense of humor — at least enough of one to let satire slide — otherwise there is no way they’ll have the fortitude to endure the sort of genuine rage, earned distrust and outright mockery they’re going to be encountering out there on the campaign trail, this time.
And the mockery…oh, the mockery is going to sting.
For the record, although Joe Armstrong could not handle a little tin of disappointmints, I think Barack Obama would take the things in stride. After all, if Jesus can handle it, why shouldn’t Obama?
Be sure to check out the Messiah Mints at The Anchoress’ post, as well as one last jibe at Obama’s first-class — well, I’ll send you there for the punchline.