A view from Dave Trott: Going off half-cocked
A view from Dave Trott

Going off half-cocked

In Texas recently, several people were shot at universities.

So it seemed an insensitive time for Texas to pass a law allowing the carrying of concealed guns on campus.

It certainly seemed insensitive to the students at The University of Texas.

Especially as it became law on the 50th anniversary of 46 people being shot on their campus.

Most of the students don’t want to carry guns, and they don’t want other people carrying guns either.

Nor do the teachers, obviously.

It’s difficult to discipline a student who may have a gun.

You never know when they might decide to use it.

It makes attending university a scary experience.

One student, Jessica Jin, was so outraged she decided to create as much debate as she could around the new gun law.

She knew controversy is always a good way to create publicity.

So what would create as much outrage with the gun lobby as their guns had created with her?

The answer was dildos.

Big, floppy, rubber dildos.

It’s illegal to carry a dildo on a university campus, even though it’s legal to carry a gun.

So she started a movement: COCKS NOT GLOCKS.

She got 5,000 brightly coloured dildos, some weighing several pounds.

And she began giving them out to students who were equally outraged.

The idea was for everyone to carry them around campus, clearly visible, on their backpacks.

Because carrying dildos is illegal while carrying guns is legal, she wanted to make her point in the most controversial way she could.

As she said: "The best way to fight absurdity is with absurdity."

Ten thousand students signed up to COCKS NOT GLOCKS.

And predictably the gun lobby was outraged.

They see carrying concealed guns as a civilised thing to do.

But visibly carrying dildos is a vile threat to public decency.

She received masses of abuse over the internet, for her stance on guns, her stance on sex, her gender, even her race (she’s Asian American).

To these people guns are harmless, but dildos are obscene.

And the controversy she created worked.

In America, COCKS NOT GLOCKS got national publicity: Time, The Washington Post, New York Daily News, USA Today, MTV, The Huffington Post.

It even got international coverage: the BBC, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian.

Because what makes it a great story is controversy.

What makes it controversial is that gun exponents can’t see the irony.

That’s what’s fascinating.

I can see where they might think dildos are distasteful.

I wouldn’t want one on my mantelpiece.

But a soft rubber dildo can’t kill anyone.

Unlike a gun, which is designed for exactly that purpose.

Advertising is publicity.

And Jessica Jin knew the most powerful form of publicity is humour.

Or as ordinary people refer to it, taking the piss.

Dave Trott is the author of Creative Mischief, Predatory Thinking and One Plus One Equals Three