Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Morons . . . or evil geniuses?

This is not the new Nebraska license plate.

A blob of stylized cow patties would be much less embarrassing than what the state's "contest" gave us. That would be this:

Let it be known that -- for all the uproar from the "design community" over the state turning over license plates to the amateurs -- the above monstrosity is a "professional" product. Says the Omaha World-Herald, "The winning choice was professionally designed by the state’s license plate material vendor."

If that's what "professionals" are capable of, give me some chimpanzees and a box of Crayolas.

I DON'T KNOW about you, but the "winning" license plate is not going to be defacing my automobile. The poor car has enough problems, the biggest of which is whether or not it's going to be orphaned in the near future. (SAVE GM!!!)

And that's when it occurred to me I might have been wrong in believing Gov. Dave Heineman and Department of Motor Vehicles chief Beverly Neth to be morons. In fact, they both may be evil geniuses.

It goes something like this: I know I'm not alone in regarding the chosen design as a steaming pile of organic fertilizer. I think I have plenty of company in my refusal to put the thing on my car. I don't put decals on my car of Bart Simpson lookalikes pissing on a Brand X logo, and I'm not putting state-issued crudities on it, either.

Meantime, the real-estate market is in the crapper right along with the economy, so there's no likelihood we can move across the river to Iowa . . . where the influx of gays seeking to be married will do nothing to harm the state's license-plate aesthetic.

SO I'M STUCK, RIGHT? Not exactly, but it'll cost me.

There is one remaining option for Nebraskans who refuse to put the coming lame-ass 2011 plates on their vehicles. That would be the "Husker Spirit" plate, which celebrates University of Nebraska athletics, looks kind of snazzy . . . and will set you back an extra $70.

You can't pack up and move to Iowa for $70. Genius! The state could make tens of millions of extra dollars -- scores of extra millions if people are desperate enough.

Abso-freakin-lutely brilliant. In a Dr. Evil kind of way.

Almost as brilliant was how Heineman and Neth played it dumb for the media, even going so far as to pretend they weren't the ones behind CollegeHumor.com's attempt to stuff the DMV's electronic ballot box in favor of the ugly-ass plate.

The World-Herald might be so gullible, but not me. I'm from Louisiana. I know shenanigans.
But an unknown number of those votes came from devotees of CollegeHumor.com, a Web site that regularly encourages viewers to "ruin a poll." The site also has an area devoted to "license plate stuff."

CollegeHumor combined the two features May 7, asking people to "Ruin a Nebraska" poll by voting for the black, white and red design.

"Everyone vote design 2 so Nebraskans get boring license plates," the website said. "This poll doesn’t display the current results, but we’ll know we won when all their cars have boring gray license plates."

Jen Rae Hein, the governor’s spokeswoman, said that Beverly Neth, Nebraska’s motor vehicle director, had alerted state officials to CollegeHumor’s attempt to interfere with the vote. Officials were then able to monitor hits coming through the link on that Web site, she said.

Hein said votes through that link were spread evenly among the four designs. She said votes through the CollegeHumor link dropped off this last weekend, when the winning plate pulled ahead in overall voting.


Heineman gave a nod to the controversy that the license plate options stirred up.

"While no single plate will appeal to every driver, they are first and foremost a critical asset for enforcement officers across our state," he said. "It was beneficial to both the state and citizens to have the opportunity to vote for their favorite design and offer feedback."

The governor’s announcement culminates two weeks of online voting — and two weeks of griping and complaining about the four options.

Letters to the editor and calls and e-mails to state officials made it clear that some Nebraskans disliked the choices offered.

A leading Nebraska advertising executive even volunteered the state’s top marketing firms to create different designs at no charge to the state. Jim Lauerman, chief executive officer of Bailey Lauerman of Omaha and Lincoln, called the four designs "embarrassing."
OF COURSE the designs were embarrassing. That was Heineman's and Neth's evil plan. Regular plate sucks; $70 "Husker Spirit" plate doesn't.

Get it?

I know I'll be getting mine. And I'll tip my hat to my gubna's evil genius as I shell out the extra cash.


Husker Mike said...

They redesign the Husker plates at the same time. Which means the creative geniuses who came up with this plate will also be redoing the Husker plate next.

Mavwreck said...

The design community IS speaking, albeit in a silly, creative way:


For those who really want to make waves, go here: