Prairie State Keene Act bans costumed heroes, leaves citizens defenseless

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mattressman.gif

Say a prayer for Mattressman, seen here waving goodbye to his supporters in the Chicago suburb of McHenry. Russ A. Dewey sends in the sad news that the local city council has voted to reclassify "walking signs" like Verlo Mattress Factory's mascot here, as well as a giant Lady Liberty who pounds the pavement in support of Liberty Tax Service. The costumed mascots are now regulated as roadside nuisances, along with neon and video screens. Local politicians cite a host of protection-from-self concerns, including the possibility of drivers becoming distracted, honking horns from appreciative motorists, and even worries that the high school students who take jobs wearing the foam rubber costumes may become uncomfortable on hot days. Mascots must now stay off the streets.

The issue has the potential (as yet unrealized) to open up a battle between safety regulations and free expression concerns. Reports the Chicago Tribune:

"We think it's a distraction to drivers," said Joseph Napolitano, McHenry director of community development.

But that wave with a giant foam hand, that little dance, may just be protected under the constitutional guarantee of free speech, some experts say.

It might be appropriate to regulate the size and type of signs that businesses use for aesthetic reasons, said DePaul University professor Rodney Blackman, who teaches a 1st Amendment seminar.

"But here we're not talking about aesthetics," he said. "We're talking about expression."

Whole story here.

So keep your latticed ass out of Illinois, Mr. Peanut.

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  1. The Keene Act. Was that the anti-supers law from Watchmen, or the anti-mutie bill from X-Men?

    Yes, I’m a huge nerd, but I have a bad memory.

  2. I am a lot more likely to be distracted by an attractive woman than by some dumbass dressed as a mattress. I hope they do not ban women from appearing in public.

  3. Keene Act

    Holy shit Tim actually found a comic book referance without a corisponding wikipedia page…I think that gets some sort of award or something.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=Keene+Act&go=Go

  4. It is from Watchmen. Oh wikipedia, is there anything you can’t do?

  5. “I am a lot more likely to be distracted by an attractive woman than by some dumbass dressed as a mattress. I hope they do not ban women from appearing in public.”

    Just this past weekend I was gawking at some bikini-clad high-school age girls trying to get me into a parking lot so for $4 they would….wash my car? Maybe it should be illegal.

  6. Sen. Kelly was the senator sponsoring the Mutant Control Act in the “Days Of Future Past” storyline…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Days_of_Future_Past_%28X-men%29

    I’ll go kill myself now…

  7. Is nudity a costume?
    What say ye, Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

    Guess who will write the dissenting opinion that, nudity notwithstanding, pubic hair is a costume?

  8. Why do I think, while banning a walking mattress, they still got streetwalkers plyin the trade. Wouldnt combining the two be that “synergy” I keep hearing about??

  9. At the Pizza Hut nearby they have an employee stand outside in his uniform all day with a sign. They don’t even put him in a chicken suit or given him a sombrero or anything. It’s kind of depressing. I thought I’d made some ill-advised career choices. Put him in some kind of novelty get-up pronto.

    I’ve almost had a couple wrecks with the high school girls and their car washes. I’d think the authorities would do something. Probably park nearby to monitor the situation closely.

    (I don’t remember high school girls looking like that when I was in high school. Hormones in the food maybe?)

  10. Never!

  11. I’ve almost had a couple wrecks with the high school girls and their car washes. I’d think the authorities would do something. Probably park nearby to monitor the situation closely.

    Jeez, I’ve never seen these gals, and I’ve never seen Mattressman either. All I ever see are the Liberty Tax gals around tax time.

    Alas, no more.

  12. Is nudity a costume?
    What say ye, Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

    Are we not our true selves when naked? In a sense, no. The word naked was originally a past participle; the naked man was the man who had undergone a process of naking, that is, of stripping or peeling (you used the verb of nuts and fruit). Time out of mind the naked man has seemed to our ancestors not the natural but the abnormal man; not the man who has abstained from dressing but the man who has been for some reason undressed. And it is a simple fact–anyone can observe it at a men’s bathing place-that nudity emphasises common humanity and soft-pedals what is individual. In that way we are “more ourselves” when clothed. By nudity the lovers cease to be solely John and Mary; the universal He and She are emphasised. You could almost say they put on nakedness as a ceremonial robe–or as the costume for a charade. ~ C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

  13. This court ruling on billboards goes the other way. That gives me some hope that the FIBs can fight this.

    Kevin

  14. If mattress costumes are outlawed, only outlaws will dress up as mattresses.

  15. like the Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Kramer get into an accident because Elaine’s friend/ nemesis, the well-endowed heiress to the Oh! Henry candy bar fortune Sue Ellen Mishke was walking down the sidewalk wearing only a bra and an open jacket (no shirt)

    I also nearly caused an accident gawking at a precocious girl on a (even worse) middle-school cheerleading squad advertising for car washes. there’s reason she was one of the advertisers, not one of the car washers

  16. This is my favorite part of the article:

    In McHenry, the owner of Liberty Tax Service said the new law would seriously damage her business.

    Angie ZXUH–she uses all capital letters in her last name–said a survey found that 77 percent of her 421 new customers last year came into her office on Elm Street because of her Statue of Liberty mascot.

    Lady Liberty stands outside during the January-to-April tax season and waves to passersby. The “wavers” earn $9 an hour. The new law cost them their jobs, ZXUH said.

    “It’s more effective than direct mail,” ZXUH said, checking out the retired foam head of Lady Liberty, part of a costume that stands about 8 feet tall when someone is wearing it.

    “It’s more effective than advertising. It’s really quite strange, if you think about it,” she said.

    Yes, it’s really quite strange, said the woman who insists her unpronounceable name be spelled in all capital letters.

  17. What about my superhero personna? When I don my cape and mask, and right the wrongs of the world? How can that be a nusiance?

    And writing about near accidents, once I swerved so hard to avoid a child, I fell off the sofa!

  18. You don’t think they are trying to make Eddie Eagle? an endangered species?

  19. Damn.

    Now I’ll never get to see the Marvellous Merkin Co. mascot. And probably not the Maidenform Bra mascot, either.

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