I’d bet that every driver alive has, at one point or another, considered which string of characters they’d use for a personalized (or “vanity”) licence plate — and that’s including those of us who think it’s stupid to spend more than $300 on something that would let anyone instantly identify our vehicles, at any time, wherever they may be.
Love or hate the idea of vanity plates, a really strong one has the power to delight countless masses of people every single day, from the proctologist-perfect “ASSMAN” of Seinfeld fame to Arrested Development‘s “ANUSTART,” chosen specifically by Tobias Funke to celebrate “a new start.”
The aforementioned plates may be fictional, but they are both surprisingly in line with some of the combinations Ontario residents tried to secure for their own cars in 2022, such as “1PHATASS,” “I.ET.ASS,” “PPPOOPOO,” “SKYDMARK,” and “FAAT.BUM.”
Butt stuff, however, accounted for only a small fraction of the more than 3,300 letter and number combinations rejected by Ontario’s Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery for vanity plates last year, per a new list obtained by blogTO.
A spokesperson for the ministry told us on Monday that personalized licence plate applications “will not be accepted if the combination of letters/numbers selected has already been issued. In addition, requests will not be approved if they are determined to be objectionable under certain criteria.”
These criteria include:
- Sexual references
- Abusive, obscene language and derogatory slang
- Political figures, dignitaries/law enforcement officials
- Violence/criminal activity
- Human rights discrimination
- Clarity and readability for law enforcement officials
- Any combination of graphics and characters that together could be determined to be objectionable under the above criteria or violate the contract with a graphic partner
- Intellectual property (such as trademarks)
All of this makes logical sense, considering the provincial government’s stance on hate speech, violence, human rights, and obeying the law.
What made less sense to me when reading the 30-page-long document of plates rejected between January 1 and December 8, 2022, was why anyone would burn between $310 and $336.40 requesting phrases that are so obviously verboten.
The government makes its criteria for vanity plates crystal clear in application materials, and yet this year’s banned list contains some seriously dumb stuff. The kind of stuff that I can’t even repeat here in the text.
A ministry spokesperson told blogTO on Monday that the provided list was created on December 14, 2022, and that it only includes personalized licence plates (PLPs) ordered between January 1, 2022, and December 8, 2022, that were rejected following review.
“The list is subject to change and plate status may have been edited since the list’s creation/licence plates pending review are not included in the attached list,” said the ministry rep.
“PLPs may undergo a second review as a result of a request for reconsideration. As such, any of the licence plates in the attached list may be approved in the future.”
I somehow have a sneaking feeling that many of those under the categories of “Sexual Meaning and Eliminatory Functions,” “Abusive, Obscene Language and Derogatory Slang,” or “Violence and Criminal Activity” will not win any appeals.
Among the standout submissions found in the latter section that I can actually publish are “DOGFGHTR,” “GANGST3R,” “R3DRUMM,” “PUNNISHR,” “W3AP0N,” “M4CSACRE,” “IBURYYOU,” and “ILLEGALL.”
Nearly full 12 pages worth of plate numbers (more than 1,500 of them) were merely disqualified due to problems with clarity and readability.
This part of the list includes such real but relatively innocent 2022 suggestions as “SIIIIICK,” “WAGWA4N,” “PRYNCES5,” “SSHHHHH,” “UGOTTHI5,” and “YEEEEEET.”
Here are a small selection of others that might give you a laugh and are not overly offensive, curated from the entire list: