“PINUS” Looks Too Much Like “PENIS” for License Plate
A forest ecologist’s application for a personalized license plate in the state of Michigan has been denied on the grounds that “PINUS” looks and sounds too much like “PENIS.”
Marvin Roberson, who works for the Sierra Club in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, says he applied for the specialized plate out of arborous love for the white pine (pinus strobus in Latin). However, officials denied his request on the grounds that the plate “might carry a connotation offensive to good taste and decency as judged by the Department of State.”
Roberson says adding that the white pine is Michigan’s state tree and pinus strobus is even engraved on a plaque on the Capitol lawn. The ecologist is hoping for an intervention from the Secretary of State who has the authority to overrule the initial denial.
Secretary of State spokesperson, Kelly Chesney, believes that PINUS (pronounced pie-nus) could lead to confusion over the driver’s intent and suggests that he reapply for an alternative plate: WHITEPINE.