Once upon a time, Paris Hilton spent a lot of court time defending her right to the phrase, “That’s hot,” leading to discussions about if and how everyday catch-phrases and gestures could be owned. The New York Jets Tim Tebow has furthered such ventures, successfully trademarking, as of Oct.9, “Tebowing.”
The back up quarter back is known for the gesture in which he gets down on one knee, similar to Catholics at pew entrance, and clenches his fist against his forehead, praying for the game. But it’s not the presumption that God, in his cosmic responsibilities for starving men, women, and children, the sick, the poor, would want to hear and answer prayers about petty football games that is surprising; it’s the presumption that a man could own not only the name, “Tebowing,” but the very gesture of prayer, that surprises us.
Drop to one knee and put your fist to your forehead, and Tebow has the right to take you to court. If such rudimentary gestures as this are “owned,” what about other religious gestures, with Christianity and their hand-folding, Islam with their bowing towards Mecca, and Hinduism with their highly lucrative Yoga techniques?
Tebow, for his part, claims that he did not trademark the basic gestures to gain money, but “to just control how it’s used, make sure its used in the right way.” So if you don’t pray to God in a way Tebow approves, watch out!