Earlier this year, journalists and anti-Trumpers just about wet their pants at the mention of the infamous “piss tape,” an alleged recording of two sex workers—hired by Donald Trump—urinating on the bed of the Moscow Ritz-Carlton Presidential Suite as an insult to Barack and Michelle Obama, who had recently stayed in the room. It was contained in an unverified report from a former British intelligence official, so the question of whether or not it actually exists has been hovering in the ether ever since, a dim, light-yellow specter of hope glowing beyond the stink lines currently emanating from the White House.
With our president crying “fake news” at any story that’s even remotely critical of his policies, the hope for the reveal of this “piss tape” perseveres because its undeniable depravity would serve to not only humiliate Trump but also to deliver a sizable blow to a political party that coasts on an unearned, hypocritical sense of moral superiority. It would also just serve as the cherry on top of the dumpster fire that is contemporary American politics and, hey, schadenfreude is one of the few things keeping us going these days.
According to a new piece from The Verge, talk of the piss tape isn’t stopping anytime soon. They report that on June 30th of this year, someone applied for a trademark of “The Piss Tape Is Real,” which they hope to plaster all over “hats, hoodies, shirts, even ’footwear,’ ’dresses,’ and ’non-jewelry wristbands.’”
In the past, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had the power to reject applications for trademarks they found offensive or scandalous, though the lack of consistency and specificity in regards to what they were rejecting has created enough arguments to fundamentally change this. A recent lawsuit has caused the USPTO to acknowledge “that it’s likely that any refusal over scandalousness is probably unconstitutional.”
The Verge spoke to the man looking to trademark the phrase, who said he’s doing it with the aim of making Donald Trump’s presidency “as short and as politically painful as possible.” Wearing apparel and hats emblazoned with “The Piss Tape Is Real” is, according to this man, “a form of direct action and political protest.”
Should we be reacting to our president’s vitriol with similarly cruel invective? Or, is this, as The Verge believes, simply another sign of “mainstream political discourse” swirling ever deeper into the toilet? More importantly, where exactly would one wear a shirt with “The Piss Tape Is Real” written on it?