Freedom of expression is again in the news.

Simon Tam has won his case before the US Supreme Court, allowing him to trademark the name of his all-Asian rock band, the Slants. But this ruling opens the door to people who want to trademark other offensive names — or hold on to existing ones. Is that okay? How do we distinguish between reclamation and vilification?

Linguist Daniel Midgley talks it over with Simon Tam on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Episode 294: Trademarks and Slurs

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Show notes

Abraham Lincoln’s Bixby Letter Mystery Finally Solved After 150 Years
http://www.newsweek.com/abraham-lincoln-bixby-letter-john-hay-jk-rowling-639788

Abe Lincoln mystery ‘almost certainly’ solved using technique that unmasked JK Rowling
https://phys.org/news/2017-07-abe-lincoln-mystery-technique-unmasked.html

Joe Nickell’s analysis
Google Books link

Great slides from Andrea Nini
https://niniandrea.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/lss_bixby.pdf

Paper: Attributing the Bixby Letter using n-gram tracing
https://www.dropbox.com/s/yifszl1aes2ovqx/BIXBY_FINAL.pdf?dl=0

The Slants’ Simon Tam Wins Supreme Court Case to Trademark Offensive Band Name
https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/06/the-slants-win-lawsuit-to-keep-offensive-name.html

Supreme Court: Rejecting trademarks that ‘disparage’ others violates the First Amendment
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-rejecting-trademarks-that-disparage-others-violates-the-first-amendment/2017/06/19/26a33ffa-23b3-11e7-a1b3-faff0034e2de_story.html

An indie rock band just cleared the way for the Washington Redskins to keep their racist name
https://qz.com/1009567/the-washington-redskins-could-keep-their-racist-name-thanks-to-a-supreme-court-ruling-over-an-asian-american-rock-band/

Rock band The Slants’ victory in court secures your rights
http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/19/opinions/free-speech-scotus-randazza-opinion/index.html

Listen to The Slants: The Band Who Must Not Be Named
http://www.theslants.com/album/the-band-who-must-not-be-named/

Seattle band Thunderpussy awaits Supreme Court ruling on controversial names
http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/northwest/thunderpussy-disparaging-or-empowering-seattle-band-awaits-us-supreme-court-ruling-on-controversial-names/

Facebook community standards under scrutiny as out and proud ‘dykes’ banned
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-06/facebook-banning-algorithims-block-lesbians-from-using-dyke/8676284

Richard Dawkins deplatformed at a book talk in Berkeley for “abusive speech” about Islam on Twitter
https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2017/07/21/richard-dawkins-deplatformed-at-a-book-talk-berkeley-for-abusive-speech-about-islam-on-twitter/

Richard Dawkins’ Open Letter to the People Who Canceled His Event
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2017/07/21/richard-dawkins-open-letter-to-the-people-who-canceled-his-event/

Organizations have the right to not invite Richard Dawkins — or me — to speak
https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2017/07/22/organizations-have-the-right-to-not-invite-richard-dawkins-or-me-to-speak/#ixzz4nnYh6vCg

‘Disinvite’ or ‘Uninvite’?
https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/disinvite-vs-uninvite


Show tunes

Find the tracks we play on the RTRFM webpage for this episode.

Image credit: Simon Tam