Minimum Gauge: The Slants score First Amendment victory with Supreme Court case

Supreme Court sides with Asian-American rockers The Slants; JAY-Z brings back the hyphen and goes ALL CAPS; Gene Simmons wants to own this: \m/

Jun 21, 2017 at 11:52 am

click to enlarge The Slants - Photo: Gage Skidmore - CC BY-SA 3.0
Photo: Gage Skidmore - CC BY-SA 3.0
The Slants

HOT: Naming Rights

Though much of the coverage of the Supreme Court’s ruling that not granting a trademark for something that is deemed offensive is unconstitutional focused on the Washington Redskins’ ability to now trademark its name, the case SCOTUS was actually reviewing was brought by an independent Rock band from Oregon called The Slants. For several years, the Asian-American group has fought for the right to trademark its name, which was intended as a reclamation of the offensive term. The band’s frontman, Simon Tam, told The New York Times that the victory was a “win for marginalized groups,” and offered to share his mounting legal bills with the millionaire owner of the football team that will benefit greatly from all of Tam’s hard work.

They're a good band, too!

WARM: Return of the Hyphen

For some reason, JAY-Z is again trying to make life harder for the copy editors of the world. A few years ago, it was noted that the rapper (and recent Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee) had dropped the hyphen from his stage name; he later said it was because the punctuation was “not useful anymore.” But with his imminent new album, the hyphen (which, of course, has its own Twitter account now) is apparently useful once again, as are capital letters — the MC’s name is now to be stylized in all caps.

Wait, or is it "JAY:Z"?!

COLD: ’Mark of a Beast

Noted asshole and KISS bassist Gene Simmons is attempting to claim legal ownership of the “devil horns” hand gesture popular among Heavy Metal lovers. Simmons applied for a trademark of the gesture, saying he invented it in 1974 and that others using it (“either in the identical form or in such near resemblance”) are confusing or deceiving consumers. Many doubt the trademark will be granted due to its “generic” nature, given its widespread use and varied meanings (it’s sign language for “I love you” and John Lennon was photographed flashing the sign in the ’60s). Besides, there’s a different hand signal (one involving a single finger) more appropriate for Simmons.