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Leo Paré - Red Deer Advocate

Leo Paré is the News and New Media Editor for the Red Deer Advocate. Contact him at lpare@reddeeradvocate.com

Follow Leo on Twitter — https://twitter.com/LeoPare'

Crude vehicle decals an obscene embarrassment

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Red Deer Advocate

When I encounter vehicles with large, obnoxious slogans emblazoned across the back window or tailgate, I can’t help but make a few assumptions about the owner.

• I assume that person has no regard for common decency.

• I assume that person had poor role models as a child, or is now intent on being a bad role model for children.

• I assume that person has never read anything deeper than Maxim magazine.

• I assume that person abuses small animals for recreation.

Alberta has a reputation as Canada’s rough-and-tough province. There’s a lot of testosterone in the atmosphere and we’ve set a blue-collar standard rivalled only by our fellow Prairie dwellers over in Saskatchewan.

I grew up on a farm outside a small Northern Alberta oil town and I’ve done a little time in the patch, so I speak from experience.

Many young Alberta males have an affinity for raunchy humour. Sex, death, racism, incest and rape are all common fodder for jokes carefully crafted to evoke shock, disgust and uncomfortable laughter.

I too can appreciate the occasional dirty joke as much as the next guy, but putting that kind of material in the back window of your pickup truck crosses a line of public decency.

As an individual, I might chuckle at some of it.

As a parent, I can’t and won’t.

As if the image of Calvin peeing on Ford and Chevy logos wasn’t bad enough, recently, a friend told me about a jacked-up truck he spotted with a window decal that said, ‘Four Doors for More Whores.’

When I took to Twitter to share my disdain for these kind of phrases, someone pointed out a vehicle in Red Deer that boasts a slogan in the window that reads, ‘Dead Girls Never Say No.’

Another Twitter user forwarded me a photo of a truck window with wording too nasty and disgusting to share in this column — let’s just say no loving father would want his young daughter to see it.

And of course we’ve all seen the popular, ‘Dodge the Father. *** the Daughter’ decal — a favourite among many who embrace the usual redneck clichés.

And I’m not even going to start into what I think about TruckNutz. ...

All of these things are a metaphorical middle finger to the world, like a personal billboard that says, “I’m ignorant and proud of it.”

Perhaps its time for legislators to examine what freedom of ‘vehicular expression’ we’re willing to tolerate.

In fact, this issue is loosely addressed in Section 163 of the Canadian Criminal Code, which provides the country’s legal definition of obscenity:

163. (1) Every one commits an offence who

(a) makes, prints, publishes, distributes, circulates, or has in his possession for the purpose of publication, distribution or circulation any obscene written matter, picture, model, phonograph record or other thing whatever; or

(b) makes, prints, publishes, distributes, sells or has in his possession for the purposes of publication, distribution or circulation a crime comic.

Beyond whatever the legalities may be, I simply don’t like the idea of my grandparents or my young children being subject to this kind of filth.

And do we really need tourists returning to their home provinces and countries with tales about all the disgusting, low-brow bumper stickers they saw in Alberta?

It’s a crying shame, but sometimes we must call upon government to legislate good judgment and common sense to the lower end of society's gene pool.

Leo Paré is the Advocate’s online editor. Contact him by email at lpare@reddeeradvocate.com or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LeoPare

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