Don’t Mess with Don’t Mess with Texas

Who’s upset about a new romance novel called Don’t Mess with Texas and its “numerous graphic references to sexual acts, states of arousal, etc.”? TxDOT, which owns the trademark for the book’s title, and has now filed a lawsuit seeking a restraining order against Hachette Book Group (the book’s publisher), Barnes & Noble, and Houston’s Christie Craig (its author). The book’s official publication date is today. Rifling through a few pages previewed on Amazon, the Houston Press‘s Richard Connelly finds one of them steamy sex scenes — but no reference to the evils of littering along state highways. A TxDOT spokesperson tells Connelly the state transportation agency has succceeded in a similar lawsuit before. Win or lose, Craig may be hoping the ensuing publicity will help spur sales of her upcoming how-to book, Wild, Wicked and Wanton: 101 Ways to Love Like You Are in a Romance Novel.

4 Comment

  • More than once, a non-Texan has cited “don’t mess with Texas” to me as an example of what they perceive as Texans’ aggressive, arrogant superiority complex.

    I love the sheepish look I get when I tell them, ahem, it’s an anti-littering campaign, and not something we made up to sound like bad-asses….

  • About 8 or 9 years ago we were way up on the Maine coast, near Canada. Someone, seeing our Texas plate on the car, shouted “Don’t Mess with Texas” to us from across the street! They gave us the thumbs up sign so maybe they were from Texas too. Didn’t get to stop and talk.

    And really, if the gal who wrote this book has lived in the state for any length of time, she “has” to know she’d be up against the big boys on this. Unless she’s just dumb. At least her name isn’t Tiffini Tumbleup.

  • When I first visited Texas in 1980, the TxDOT signs said “Drive Friendly”. I thought this was a charming sentiment, so when the opportunity came to move here, I looked forward to “driving friendly” with all the other Texans. Imagine my surprise when I got here, and went looking for those “Drive Friendly” signs, only to find they had been replaced by “Don’t Mess With Texas”…. whoa. OK. My then-new husband told me that just meant that a gunrack gives you the right-of-way.

  • Katk et al – it may have started as a TXDOT anti-littering slogan, but I don’t think anyone can deny that it’s taken on a much larger meaning. Certainly I don’t believe for a second that all the yahoos swaggering around with “Don’t Mess with Texas” t-shirts or hats or bumper stickers are deeply concerned about littering… it’s clearly been adopted (for good or ego) as a slogan of pro-Texas pride.

    As such, it seems to have become pretty genericized, and so I don’t think should be something for which TXDOT can prevent fair use.