Bruce Wright of the Conservation Science Institute sent us an amusing story. For six years, his wife has had a vanity plate on her car: XONSUX. She was surprised that the DMW let it past, but after six years she thought she was safe.

Not so! Not in Alaska. Apparently someone complained, and the DMV sent her a stern letter (PDF), instructing her to turn in her plates. It says, and I quote, “As the plate ‘XONSUX’ is or may be interpreted by persons viewing the plate as ethnically offensive or obscene we must revoke the registration and recall this plate.”

The saga was written up in the Anchorage Daily News. Quel scandal!

Wright’s wife has filed an amusing appeal (Word doc). I quote:

How can this plate be construed as “racially or ethnically offensive”? Preliminary results of a non-random sample of Alaskans, to assess the potential of the letters N, O, S, U and X to create a racially or ethnically offensive sentiment, indicate limited probability. However, I do believe that additional research of a qualitative and quantitative nature would produce similar if not the same results. I would be happy pursue this avenue of discovery if you think it will be productive and enlightening.

Anyway, this is clearly an outrage. Darryl Hannah must go to Alaska and sit in a tree until this unjust decision is reversed!