Monday, October 20, 2008
Help Me Howard: Political Sign
When it comes to presidential politics, everyone seems to have an opinion these days. But one South Florida homeowner is raising the stakes in signaling her support, choosing to voice her choice by borrowing from a familiar voice of the past. Here's Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser and this banner Brouhaha.
WSVN -- McCain, Obama, Obama/Biden, McCain/Palin. The political signs are all over South Florida.
Cindy Zirpoli: "I said I want it huge."
And then there is Cindy Zirpoli's sign.
Cindy Zirpoli: "The war is over. If you want it, vote for change. Vote Barack Obama."
Cindy found this 1969 poster of the late Beatle John Lennon and Yoko Ono protesting the Vietnam War.
Brett Taylor: "We just scanned it in and took off the bottom here and put in the message that we wanted to."
Then Brett turned it into a poster protesting the Iraqi war and supporting Barack Obama.
Cindy Zirpoli: "I truly believe that Barack Obama is going to be an amazing president. He is great. When you listen to him speak it is riveting."
Cindy put one of the Obama signs in front of her house. Out back is the eye catcher, a A 5 x 8 foot banner that faces the Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale.
Cindy Zirpoli: "I want it on the water. I want all the boats to go by to see it, so we can get this message out because the little signs are not going to make a difference."
And when Cindy is in her backyard with her friends, it's clearly making a difference. As the boaters come by, some people cheer and clap at her sign and some curse.
Cindy Zirpoli: "I'm going to get bleeped if I say exactly what they said, but to the extent they've called us (expletive) and all that whatever, I would say 90 percent have been claps and pictures and everything. They get the peace sign, and the other people get the other finger."
Some boaters have put their fingers to work and emailed Help Me Howard, asking if the signs violate the law. Cindy doesn't think so.
Cindy Zirpoli: "I do believe there is somewhat of a copyright infringement if I do replicate it and sell it, but, at this point, it's my personal opinion. It is on my personal property, and I can do whatever I want with it."
What she wants, for now, is for people passing by to pay attention to John Lennon and who she thinks he would be endorsing for president if he were alive.
Cindy Zirpoli: "I think he would love this sign, if he was alive right now because the message is there. He would approve. He was very much for giving peace a chance."
But do Cindy's political convictions give her the right to put up campaign signs using Lennon and Ono's image? Howard?
Howard Finkelstein: "Generally, you cannot use someone's likeness without their permission, but under federal law there are exceptions, and in this case, because everyone knows that John Lennon is dead and is not endorsing Barack Obama, Cindy may be able to get away with it. The only person who could stop her would be Yoko Ono."
And while boaters who contacted us were upset by the sign, the neighbors who support John McCain say, "Oh, well."
Bob Moss: "I disagree with their message, but they have the right to express it. The sign that 'War is over' is incorrect. The war is not over. They obviously don't agree with the war, and that is their opinion."
And in Cindy's opinion, anyone who wants her to take it down won't get what they want until the day after the election.
Cindy Zirpoli: "My opinion is they can do whatever they want. They can make complaints, but what they did by making a complaint was they just brought publicity to Barack Obama. They just brought 100 percent publicity. They just put him in everybody's living room, bedroom, whatever, TV."
Now, technically, the sign on the Intracoastal may be too big and violate the city ordinance. Cindy's response: "OK, I'll take it down, after the election." Somebody is determined here.
A banner day becoming a campaign to confound you? That's not a good sign, so elect to come to us. We vote the same way every time: in favor of you.
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