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I saw an airplane flying a “Jesus Sucks” banner over the harbour

Dear Urban Decoder: I saw an airplane flying a “Jesus Sucks” banner over the harbour. What was that about, and does it break any rules?—Rainey Howard, Swansea

The airborne banner that had us scratching our upturned heads this summer was hired by Kenneth Hotz, one half of the inane but compulsively watchable TV duo Kenny and Spenny. On their show, the two compete to out-imbecile each other. In this instance, they were battling to see who could piss off the largest number of people. Kenny clearly won. Aerial banners, though eco-dubious nowadays, remain a popular form of advertising. For around $750 an hour, just about anyone can take their message to the skies. Though the banners are subject to standard advertising laws, almost everything else is subject to the discretion of the charter company and the edicts of good taste. Hotz originally asked for “Heil Hitler” and was flatly refused. In 2002, an anti-abortion group flew banners depicting a 100-foot-long aborted fetus over crowded U.S. cities, proving that the skies are navigated by the right wing as often as the left.

Wondering about the waterfront? Curious about construction? Perplexed by politics? Ask the Urban Decoder a question here.

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