Boston's gruff, occasionally coherent mayor-for-life is not normally regarded as a fashion critic. But he knows what he doesn't like. So no doubt TOM MENINO was splinkin' from the heart when he all but demanded that Niketown remove T-shirts he found offensive from the display window of its Newbury Street store.

The T-shirts, according to Boston Herald reporter Jessica Heslam, were "emblazoned with pill bottles" and included the slogans GET HIGH and DOPE. Another, which His Honor and his wife, Angela, reportedly encountered during a weekend stroll, said FUCK GRAVITY, though the "U" and the "C" were hidden by a graphic.

free speech offender mayor tom menino
"What we don't need is a major corporation like Nike, which tries to appeal to the younger generation, out there giving credence to the drug issue," Menino was quoted as saying. "They are promoting drug use."

It would be more accurate to say that Nike is promoting T-shirts. But we wouldn't want to get in the way of a trademark Menino rant.

Nike has refused to comment beyond acknowledging it received a letter from Menino and that the company doesn't condone drug use. A day after Menino's eruption, the Herald found that the T-shirt display was still intact. Good for Nike.

As longtime media observer John Carroll wrote on his blog, Campaign Outsider, "This is not to say that promoting drug use is a good thing. But leave it to the Back Bay Hysterical Society to police Newbury Street retail store windows, Mistah Mayah."

Menino's Muzzle is his third, thus giving him an honored place in our Hall of Shame.

In 1999, he was cited for a variety of offenses against free speech, most prominently his unsuccessful attempt to deny a permit to the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition for its annual rally on Boston Common.

In 2005, Menino won for refusing to repeal the city's archaic regulations making life miserable for street musicians — until, that is, the musicians filed a lawsuit in federal court.

By receiving our lifetime-achievement award, Menino becomes ineligible for future Muzzles.

Unless, of course, we change our minds.

>> READ: "2011 Muzzle Awards: Campus Edition" by Harvey Silverglate <<

Phoenix contributor Dan Kennedy is an assistant professor of journalism at Northeastern University. Follow him on Twitter: @dankennedy_nu.

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