Pants-on-Fire, Kerry T-shirt ban and a silent dugout protest


Geraldine Sealey
July 22, 2004 12:00AM (UTC)

Clearly unbowed by Whoopi Goldberg and Linda Ronstadt's recent experiences with public expression, Ben & Jerry's Ben Cohen is carting around a 12-foot-tall effigy of George W. Bush with <a target= "new" href="flames shooting out of its pants.

From the AP: "The 'PantsOnFire-Mobile' is a trailer pulled behind a car. The Bush character wears a flight suit with the words 'Mission Accomplished' emblazoned on the back, a reference to the president's declaration aboard the deck of an aircraft carrier that major hostilities had ended in Iraq. An electronic ticker on the front displays what Cohen says are Bush's lies."

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"The head is a rotating cylinder with various Bush facial expressions. White House spokesman Ken Lisaius said most people in America support Bush's policies, and that the president supports free speech. 'The president welcomes the fact that we live in a democracy and that people in this country are free to make their own opinions known,' Lisaius said."

A local Wisconsin official had a close encounter with Bush's approach to free speech when he was ejected from a Bush campaign event because of "inappropriate attire" -- he was wearing a John Kerry T-shirt under his buttoned-down shirt.

"I have no idea how they knew I was wearing it," he said ... Whether betrayed by a Republican informant or by a dash of Kerry green above the buttons, Nelson found himself plucked from the line and ordered to shed his outer shirt. 'I don't know if it was because of the way I was dressed,' he said. 'I work construction so I wasnt as dressed up like some of the other people.'"

Also from the freedom of speech files, the New York Times' William Rhoden asked Toronto Blue Jay Carlos Delgado about his choice to stay in the dugout during the seventh inning stretch rather than stand for the playing of God Bless America -- his own personal, subtle anti-war protest.

"I'm not trying to get anyone mad," [Delgado] said Monday in Oakland, where the Blue Jays were playing the Athletics. "This is my personal feeling. I don't want to draw attention to myself or go out of my way to protest. If I make the last out of the seventh inning, I'll stand there. But I'd rather be in the dugout."


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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