Discover more from Understandably by Bill Murphy Jr.
Toys, games, and playthings
Things I would not have predicted about modern war. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
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If anyone’s going to do it…
Once in a while, you come across a detail that shows how much the world has changed. The most creative science fiction writer would have had a hard time coming up with it just a few years back.
Today’s example comes from the website of the European Union Intellectual Property Office. I stumbled across it thanks to a social media post by Josh Gerben, who is a Washington lawyer I’ve talked with recently on other stories.
It’s a trademark application for the phrase: “RUSSIAN WARSHIP, GO F**K YOURSELF”.
We all remember this phrase, right? It goes back to the start of the invasion of Ukraine, when a Russian navy ship ordered border guards on Ukraine’s Snake Island to surrender.
The badly outgunned guards refused. Over the radio, one of them replied with the “RWGFY” taunt. It became a rallying cry in Ukraine, and probably one of the first notes of defiance from the war to go viral around the world.
So, back to the trademark application. It’s not an opportunistic intellectual property squatter or an entrepreneurial company or even the Ukrainian government applying.
Instead, it’s literally the border guard himself: Roman Hrybov, 32, who was feared dead, but who was later found to have been captured by Russians after they seized the island.
Hrybov and about a dozen other prisoners were exchanged for Russian POWs a week or two back. They say they were treated brutally.
The trademark application contemplates things like (in part):
Navigation, guidance, tracking, targeting and map making devices;
Downloadable multimedia files … relating to the Russia military aggression against Ukraine authenticated by non-fungible token (NFTs).
Key rings and key chains, and charms … Collectible coins
Bags and articles for packaging … Disposable napkins; Paper hand towels…
Umbrellas and parasols … Clothing; Footwear; Headgear
Sporting and physical exercise equipment; Toys, games, and playthings.
Granted, I suspect those descriptions are probably legal boilerplate, pulled together by Hrybov’s lawyer in Brussels.
Still, this is how things should go; if it was Hrybov who defiantly said that to the Russians and went viral, then it’s Hrybov (if anyone) who should own the trademark and profit from it.
But, like I say: Brave new world.
Can you imagine the Marines on Iwo Jima trademarking their iconic image? Neil Armstrong getting for intellectual property protection on “One small step for [a] man”? Ronald Reagan filing with the USPTO for “Honey, I forgot to duck”?
Actually, Reagan was quoting boxer Jack Dempsey. But the point remains.
I did not have “In six weeks, Ukrainian war hero goes from ‘presumed dead’ to thinking about selling umbrellas and parasols with his catch phrase” on my list of 2022 predictions.
I have some more cool insights from the Reader Happiness Survey coming; in fact I’d wanted to include them today but I couldn’t quite get it done in time. Just wanted to let you all know I appreciate you taking the time and I haven’t forgotten!
7 other things worth knowing today
The Senate confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson, 51, to the Supreme Court on Thursday, securing her place as the first Black female justice and letting President Joe Biden fulfill a key campaign promise. All Democrats voted for her along with three Republicans. (AP)
Back to reality about war. From the Wall Street Journal’s reporters on the ground in Bucha: “Horrors of Ukraine’s Bucha Laid Bare on Yablunska Street (Russian soldiers were polite at first, but as their losses mounted they turned on the civilian population) (WSJ)
“The remarkable brain of a carpet cleaner who speaks 24 languages.” What a great article. It’s behind a paywall but I used my account to gift it here. (WashPost)
Walmart says it’s raising pay for its first-year CDL truck drivers to $110,000. This is basically twice the national average. (CBS News)
Canada’s new budget will ban most foreigners from buying real estate for two years, in an effort to reduce demand and rising home prices. (CTV)
NBC’s reporters are reportedly dismayed that their parent company intends, apparently, to hire White House press secretary Jen Psaki to host a show. (CNN)
If you are my age you will totally understand why I had to share this. (Twitter)
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Thanks for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay. Want to see all my mistakes? Click here.