two people on the street wearing condom costumesYes, you read that right -- a German entrepreneur with a highly warped sense of fashion ethics wants to use images of the Freedom Tower, built on ground zero, to promote his 9/11-themed condoms. In a move that's sure to draw some of the hate mail away from Bernie Madoff, Torsten Blueher has already applied for a federal trademark to use the tower on his new line of prophylactics featuring the words "Freedom Tower Make Love Not War."

Quite obviously, families of the victims are horribly offended, pressuring the building's owner -- the NY Port Authority -- to shut this condom thing down. But can they? If the patent office awards Blueher a trademark, it seems that they will be powerless to stop it. The father of a firefighter killed in the attacks had this to say:
"I find it very offensive. The idea that anyone would use something associated with 9/11 to promote any product is upsetting. But to promote condoms, that goes a step beyond."
Without speculating too deeply about the statement the condom entrepreneur is trying to make, or whether any part of the crazy marketing scheme -- apart from the controversy and media attention -- really makes any sense, the major question seems to be: are Americans really ready to buy condoms that commercialize the 9/11 attacks in such a direct and crude way?

September 11th Fashions

Flag and Eagle TeeConspiracy Theory FashionBall CapAmerican Flag Condom KeychainPolish Soccer Fan Condoms

We're really having a conundrum here. Could it be that the condoms are meant as a kind of perverted tribute? Sure, the guy could be the biggest jerk in the world, but it could also be quasi-sincere. Plenty of people cashed in on 9/11 with "Never Forget" bumper stickers and t-shirts. Are condoms really any different? After all, wouldn't these disrespectful rubbers just be one more tasteless product on the market? What do you think?

[via BlackBook]