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"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" artist Ralph Steadman outrages entire state of Michigan

The celebrated artist is shocking! and appalling! the powers that be in Michigan with his illustration for Flying Dog Brewery's Raging Bitch beer. Now Flying Dog is suing the state for banning sales of the beer.

Here's an odd story from the world of packaging. Flying Dog brewery is suing the Michigan Liquor Control Commission on First Amendment grounds after its best-selling beer, Raging Bitch, was banned by the state, which claims the label, designed by Ralph Steadman, is "detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of the general public." Steadman, of course, is known for his quite freaky illustrations, including those in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegasand many other works by Hunter S. Thompson. The Raging Bitch label, not surprisingly, features a raging bitch—its eyes bloodshot, mouth bloodstained, standing in an apocalyptic landscape of blood spatters and gray explosions. Partly, it's the word bitch that's the sticking point. "As words go, 'bitch' may be just about as close to the 'n'-word as descriptors for women get," state assistant attorney general Donald McGehee wrote in court records. But the drawing is a problem, too. Nida Samona, chairwoman of the liquor commission, says the board objects to the portrayal of "women as wild animals that need to be tamed."

As a longtime journalist in Southern Nevada, native Las Vegan Andrew Kiraly has served as a reporter covering topics as diverse as health, sports, politics, the gaming industry and conservation. He joined Desert Companion in 2010, where he has helped steward the magazine to become a vibrant monthly publication that has won numerous honors for its journalism, photography and design, including several Maggie Awards.