Travis Nichols, who has written for The Stranger and who edited my piece on cowboy poetry a few weeks back, accidentally inspired a New York Times blog post with a Twitter post that was supposed to be funny.

On Tuesday afternoon, amid calls to boycott Arizona — in response to its new law authorizing police officers to ask people suspected of being illegal immigrants to produce their documents — a writer named Travis Nichols posted this thought on Twitter:

I think we should all also boycott Arizona Iced Tea because it is the drink of fascists.

Arizona Iced Tea, of course, is made in New York City. Nichols's Twitter post rocketed around the internet, and he became a conservative punching bag for a little while. About an hour and a half after the original post, the Times updated the original blog post saying that on closer investigation, they believed Nichols could possibly be joking. And then, almost two hours after that update, they posted another update featuring an interview with Nichols who says the joke wasn't even that funny—"As a joke I would give it a C minus"—and, further, he

expressed shock that his comment could spread so far so fast before anyone got in touch with him to confirm that he was not kidding, or even looked closely at his other comments on Twitter. It seemed to him, he said, that people writing on the Web sites of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh simply wanted evidence to support their theory that liberals are idiots and the idea that there was a misguided campaign to boycott Iced Tea was, as they used to say in the news business, too good to check

I have to say, though, that "The Drink of Fascists" is a great slogan.

UPDATE: This HTMLGiant interview with Nichols is not to be missed.