Texas A&M blog The 12th Manchild notes that the University of Texas is suing an Aggie retailer for its "saw 'em off" anti-Longhorn memorabilia.
Penis envy, defined.
The store being sued is Aggieland Outfitters, a College Station based retailer founded by a 1991 Texas A&M graduate. The University of Texas' lawyers allege that the store's popular "saw 'em off" logos violate the University's trademark protections. Browsing the store, it's easy to see why. Virtually every product for sale features an exact image of the University's logo, only caricatured with Bevo's horns sawed off.
There are two issues here worth commenting on. First, the lawsuit itself. On the one hand, the University must, and does, work hard to protect its copyright, or it loses its legal claim on the mark. There is, without question, a compelling legal reason for filing suit.
On the other hand, it's unclear why the University is choosing to sue the outfitter now. As The 12th Manchild points out, the suit was filed just a week after the Longhorns lost to the Aggies on the football field for the first time in seven years. Filing suit now reeks of sour grapes and petty retribution.
More importantly, and this gets to the second issue worth commenting on, filing suit validates the silliness that is the anti-Texas obsession of Texas A&M. For years and years, Longhorn graduates have proudly smirked at the insecurities of Aggies. The entire university culture revolves around being everything the University of Texas is not, a practice I've found endlessly amusing and personally gratifying. Jealousy breeds contempt, and the "saw 'em off" logos are nothing if not contemptuous.
I'm rather peeved with The 12th Manchild right now for bashing BON and Sports Blogs Nation, without explanation, when he found out he'd been nominated for the "Best Big 12 Blog" award. I'm fine with someone, especially an Aggie, slamming BON. We're not all that kind when discussing Texas A&M. But I was the one who nominated Brad to begin with, so I'm not altogether thrilled to be slapped in his post notifying his readers of his nomination.
Still, I agree with Brad on this one. Texas isn't doing itself any favors by suing this Aggie store. The timing reeks. The message is the wrong one. While there are clear and supportable reasons for protecting the University's copyright... this just isn't one of them.