Curiously Armstrong

Rep. Joe Armstrong just learned it probably isn’t wise to pick a fight with somebody who buys breath-mints by the barrel.

Earlier this week the Knoxville News-Sentinel reported that Armstrong recently leaned on the University of Tennessee Bookstore manager to stop selling small novelty tins of “Disappoint Mints” that poke fun at the progress of President Obama’s “Change” agenda. The Knoxville Democrat indicated he believes taxpayer-supported universities ought to be places of solemn learning, not laughter at the expense of Leader-of-the-Free-World types who by coincidence happen to share Armstrong’s party affiliation.

Armstrong declared that “politically specific products” which aren’t “viewpoint neutral” and have “no educational value” shouldn’t be sold in a public university setting — especially a “discretionary product” so “very specifically insulting to the president.”

The marketer of the offending mints, The Unemployed Philosophers Guild, quickly perceived a teachable moment on the folly of what they saw as campus free-speech suppression. The remedy to be applied is more mints, the company determined. In a matter of hours they unveiled a zesty new line, “Joe Armstrong’s Strong Arm Censored Mints.”

In addition to the cool, refreshing satisfaction of lampooning yet another Tennessee lawmaker with a curious faculty for attracting national mockery, the Brooklyn-based company seems to be laughing all the way to the bank — or at least with mint lodged firmly in cheek.

“It’s official – we have SOLD OUT of Disappointmints thanks to Tennessee State Representative Joe Armstrong causing all that ruckus,” according to the company Facebook page. “In his honor, we present these new mints!”

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