Ethics and the Right to Truck Nutz


The provocative T-shirt issue? Kid’s stuff. If you like your public civility quandaries straight and not watered down by such matters as political speech, get ready for the Great Truck Nutz Controversy.

Truck Nutz (also known as “Bull Balls”) are a…decoration?… favored by people whose sense of humor runs to farts, loud burps and titty-twisters, whose favorite films are the “Jackass” series and Farrelly brothers movies, whose idea of the perfect woman is Kim Kardashian, and whose idea of a genius is Howard Stern. They are large, usually red, approximations of male testicles that are hung (well-hung, you would have to say) on the back of trucks. They say, “I’ve got a big, scary, motherfucking truck here!”

Or, if you prefer, “I am a moron.”

A South Carolina woman named Virginia Tice was given a $445 ticket for displaying Truck Nutz on her truck, and she’s going to trial to protest the ticket. Blogger Ellie Mystal of “Above the Law,” which brought the adornment  to my attention and which I will never forgive for doing so, commented,

“So, for those playing along at home, South Carolina will defend to the death your right to display the Confederate Flag, the symbol of a regime committed to slavery and racial oppression, but plastic testicles is a bridge too far.”

Cute, but beside the point. The blogosphere, using the same sense of logic and proportion that characterized so many of the lawyers’ comments about the constitutional right to tease police dogs, are arguing over whether a law that punishes Truck Nutz is unconstitutional. It probably is. I couldn’t care less. [If you are interested in this First Amendment issue, you should check in here.] Let’s stipulate that there is no law that can be crafted making Truck Nutz illegal that some court wouldn’t find, probably correctly, too broad and an infringement of free speech. Thus hanging big plastic, swinging balls in a big red plastic scrotum on the back of your truck for all to see is an American right, like the freedom to worship as one chooses, the right to bear arms, and thousands of varieties of gross, inconsiderate, crass, stupid, rude and ugly behavior.

We can use the First Amendment, as so many thinkers, philosophers, patriots, activists, writers, journalists, and artists have and do, to enrich the culture and life of this country, or we can use it to make the nation coarser, cruder, and dumb. There is no honor or achievement in the latter. Truck Nutz are legal, but they are not civil, tasteful, polite or appropriate for public display, and as a consequence those who use the precious freedom of U.S. citizenship to force other users of the roadways to look at their poor excuse for wit are unethical. They, and that means you too, Virginia, are also inconsiderate jerks.

We can’t stop people from being jerks. All we can do is let them know what they are. Usually, they don’t care.

That’s what makes them jerks.

19 thoughts on “Ethics and the Right to Truck Nutz

  1. Someone’s proud of PLASTIC truck nuts? I wouldn’t even bother using them unless they were pewter or bronze. Even noble tin would be better! But plastic? Feh.

    I’ll go out and say that it’s probably constitutional to mount truck nuts, but it’s definitely an immodest thing to do. What actually goes through their mind? “Heh, this thing I bought represents my testes pretty well.” I don’t get it.

  2. Hmmm…I wonder how the reaction would be to plastic…nevermind. I suppose if the the community was really put out about it they could in some way make the moron’s life miserable until he removed his pair. Legally of course. I would leave that to them as to what they might do.

    • Truthfully, if you’re going to display a relatively realistic scrotum, you may as well add the penis right along with it. It’s like showing the entire breast except the areola; it doesn’t make it any less of a naked breast.

  3. This is just one more example of the slobbification of America. The way people speak to others — and each other — in public, the clothing they wear in public places, the bumper stickers and other “decor” on trucks and other vehicles… all of this denotes a growing absence of any kind of civility and elegance that once was found in relative abundance in this country.

    I have tried to teach my son that being a “gentleman” has nothing to do with socioeconomics, and that it is not a prissy term. Being a “gentleman” means simply that one knows how to behave, what language to use, and what clothing is APPROPRIATE FOR THE VENUE YOU FIND YOURSELF IN AND THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU. Everyone (or most everyone) curses, farts, or walks around in their underwear in the privacy of their own home. Some may also like to hang plastic scrotums around the house for fun. But what one does is one’s own home is not always appropriate when the other people are subjected to it, and one should understand this. My son has learned that lesson. And it’s not hypocrisy: it’s simply being civilized.

    Fewer and fewer are, I think, and it’s depressing. Sure hanging a plastic scrotum on the back of your 16-wheeler may be legal, but it’s offensive, uncivil, and to me, shows more than bad taste: If one believes a person has to be tough to drive a 16-wheeler, shouldn’t the simple fact that he/she is in fact driving one impressive enough? What insecurity does the driver have if he/she feels compelled to scream this attitude in the crudest way possible?

  4. I see those all the time here in Houston, only I’ve never seen red plastic ones, only chrome nuts. Funny story, first time I ever encountered a pair I was driving with my 60 year old mother. I was looking at the back of the truck and couldn’t make out what the things were and dear old mom said, “Yes, I believe that’s a scrotum.”

    I guess the only thing you could come close to arguing is that they violate Virginia’s obscenity law, but I frankly find it a stupid thing to waste time on.

  5. Thank you for explaining what those things (that I’d once before seen hanging on a truck), really are!! I didn’t want to believe what I thought I’d seen – so I thought it was just a fluke that some odd object (which happened to look like a pair of men’s balls in a swinging sling), had inadvertantly attached itself to the hitch – or whatever it’s called – without the knowledge of the driver. But I DID also think it could be a perverse and purposeful object placed there by the truck owner to express the values he believes in. For a while, I surveyed the rear hitches of many a truck because I was curious to know if it really was such an artifact. I never saw another one. Thankfully, i will never have to wonder again – it’s clear to me it represents yet more proof that the dumbing down of America continues on.

      • I would expect women to be the primary targets of such grossness, or at least to feel like they are. It is strange that the legal case involves a woman—I have to wonder about any woman who would voluntarily hang those things. I don’t need to wonder about a male who would—I know the type, and had to endure them in high school locker rooms.

        They also light farts.

          • I’d actually expect that the majority of trucks with nuts hanging off the back to be owned / driven by women. I’d be fascinated to know what the breakdown actually is.

            I know that what Jack says about the degradation of society is true to a certain extent, but when I see something like this, I can only think about what a great country we live in.

            Now, if I see a truck like this on the side of the road with flashing lights on behind, I’ll always wonder if the country has launched it’s first round of “Morality Police”.

            Heil Islam?

  6. It was a bit abstract but I saw a truck with two, six inch NUTS, as in nuts and bolts nuts, hung by quarter inch welded chain.

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