Internet Culture Makes Formerly Fine License Plate Obscene

from the way-to-go,-internet dept

For many years, of course, it’s been common for internet users to make use of various shortcuts or acronyms to make common phrases much faster to type. While this “txt” speak may not harm anyone’s grammar skills it has certainly introduced some new “words” into every day use. As submitted by Jon, it seems that’s a problem for the 74-year-old woman in Ohio who had the vanity license plate: NWTF. To her, it meant “NorthWood Tree Farm,” the business she owns. Apparently the youngsters at the motor vehicle bureau identified it more closely with internet usage of “wtf,” usually meaning “what the f***.” The N presents a bit of a problem, as it doesn’t appear that many people use “nwtf,” so the motor vehicle bureau just tacked on a “now” before the wtf — and then rejected her renewal application for the license plate she’s had for about a decade, telling her it broke the rules for obscenity on vanity plates. Of course, the folks at the National Wild Turkey Federation may have a thing or two to say about that.

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Comments on “Internet Culture Makes Formerly Fine License Plate Obscene”

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Lay Person says:


Who cares!

Vanity plates are a stupid idea anyway!

-often they are too personal that no one can even understand their meaning.

-If you can understand them, they are just stupid.

-If you break the law, you are too easy to identify with vanity plates.

-Vanity plates are more often than not associated with being vain.

So what is the point of vanity plates other than more funds to be misappropriate!

Gem says:


Funny this, over here in down under land, this has been happening for ages.

For instance, BKDFKP. None of you know what it means, to us car modifiers, its Back The F** Up, its not offensive to general public because they dont know what it means. However they were taken away because of FK.

Another one, RAC15T. Race 1st… Taken away because its “Racist” or so they think.

All in all, nothing new, governments owned an old lady… business as usual to them!

Anonymous Coward says:

i saw some weird ones locally here

i saw a random one that had WTF as the last 3 letters

another random one that had XXX as the last three

and one that had WTH as the last three

as a computer guy i also notice ones that have

DSL, PHP, ASP, and probably half a dozen other computer acronyms i cant remember atm

oh ya ATM 🙂

Tracer says:

Literacy and Comprehension

It is true that language is evolving. Because of the desire for real-time communication, we are constantly searching for shorter, faster ways to say things. These acronyms are a natural product of that change. Unfortunately, when things are not spelled out, misunderstandings become much more likely, as we saw in this case.

However, my friend and I have made a game of using letters we see on license plates and making words and phrases (some innocent, some not). This proves the point that anything can be viewed as obscene or inflammatory, regardless of the intention of its creator.

In my opinion, since that plate has not been disputed in the 10 years that she has had it, there should be enough precedent to keep it.

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