Monday, 17 May 2004
Hasta la vista, bobble
The governor's goon squad (his film company, actually) filed suit today against Ohio Discount Merchandise, the company that created the collectible Arnold Schwarzenegger bobbing head doll. I have little time to write about this tonight, but I will predict right now that this will be this decade's landmark publicity/free speech case. I just hope Judge Kozinski has a chance to stretch before he goes to the mat.
As a bodybuilder and movie star (i.e., a member of the private sector), Arnold had a strong claim that his persona and likeness were worth millions and protectible. As a governor, however, the First Amendment demands that he relinquish most of the control he used to enjoy. The doll at issue is obviously a parody, and it is part of a series that depicts public figures — from Tom Daschle to Abraham Lincoln to Al Capone to Jesus. This lies somewhere between a Three Stooges T-shirt and Vanna White, circa 2012.