May 1, 2007

Stick It

Brokow @ Psst, Over Here is tired of reading car butts: "I'm just so over this political bitchfest. Yeah, contratulations, you've spent 10 minutes and $4.95, now you've got some Cool Opinions!  And you want the world to know all about it."


He's both Right and right. Here in Seattle the infestation of stickers on the backs of cars is at epidemic proportions. They skew mostly from the mildly liberal ("I just forgot to take the Carter for President off my recumbent bike seat.") to the frothingly insane proclamations of death camps for liberals being put together in Nevada right this very instant.


The impeach stuff is also selling out at about the same rate as refrigerator magnets calling for the hanging of Dick Cheney. (Helps give you kids an important lesson in political tolerance with their morning Kasha.) Bumper strips touting this or that concept that underscores the driver is a member of the secular elite proliferate here in direct proportion to how cheap a rust bucket the driver is pushing along the streets feeling deep ecological pain with ever drop of gas that burns. The only exception seems to be the booming number of Prius' tooling about, but then that entire car is a bumper strip. In either case, to paraphrase Milton, the image is always of "Flatulence Visible."


As with all things redolent of bad craziness, it's a safety in numbers situation here in Seattle. A car festooned with moral high ground messages gives off the same scent at a polecat in heat and attracts breeding hopefuls. You don't usually see W stickers even if the stories of cars with pro-Republican stickers being keyed and trashed are legion. (There seems to be a slight less risky scenario when you pair a "W" sticker with one that says, "I reload for liberals." But that's probably apocryphal as well.)


Ah well, so it goes in the happy world. In a way a host of loony bumper strips on the back of an auto are just God's way of telling you the driver will never be someone from whom you will have to take orders. From my unscientific street survey they also signal a car driven by a person who is stunningly unattractive as well.

A friend of mine in Seattle has such an aversion to these stickers that she has been noted to wish she had a gun.... just to shoot out the tires, of course. But that's too much trouble really. The best thing to do is just to pull out to the left, gun the engine, and hood fake them into the nearest tree. With any luck they'll hit the trunk right on the "Use One Sheet of TP to Save the Redwoods" sticker.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 1, 2007 3:31 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I remember the last bumper sticker I put on a car. It said, "This is a MAD bumper sticker". And yes, it was my parents' car.

Posted by: Harry at May 1, 2007 6:07 PM

There are few others places in America where the liberal temptation to preen oneself publicly via bumper stickers is so widely indulged. The California granola belt certainly, and Minneapolis, Mad City Wisconsin, the two Portlands, the more pretentious parts of the Bos-Wash corridor, Denver, and Austin Texas. That's really about it. Sad thing, too. The looneys are adorably predictable in their delusional thinking.

It's a wonderful source of entertainment that the bumper sticker ratio corresponds so closely to the age and dilapidation of the car and the sheer in-your-face ugliness of the usually lesbian and/or manhating female driver.

When the driver is a male, he is without exception a too-thin and too-earthtoned college professor or wannabee who's terrified that someday he'll leave the seat up and his better half will chuck him into the recycle bin. Notable only for his complete lack of testosterone, he bends over any available barrel to accept blame for everything from slavery to fluffernut sandwiches.

If Seattle were not ringed about with aircraft assembly towns, fishing and farming areas and suburbs full of pickup trucks, wolf-hybrid dogs and ski-doos, it would blow away in a pink fog on the prevailing pacific westerlies.

And the bumper sticker crowd would love it.

Posted by: askmom at May 1, 2007 9:24 PM

I've always wanted to put this on a bumper sticker:


But I can't even get jazzed enough to bother printing that one up.

Posted by: Mumblix Grumph at May 2, 2007 3:29 AM

I just don't know how to appraise these people any more. There is a certain level of rationality, an ability to see things for what they are, rather than what you wish they were, that is really lacking in our world today. And no matter what your politics, that is not a good thing.

Posted by: Jeff Brokaw at May 2, 2007 7:53 AM

I remember the original version of the first bumper sticker you showed. It read, "Nuke A Gay Whale For Jesus". I was 15, maybe 16 when I first saw it.

Then there's the ever popular "I (club) Baby Seals" and "I (spade) My Dog" (with the words in parentheses replaced by the card suit). (I read the first for the first time in the window of the car of a man who wears orange on Saint Patrick's Day. Just to be different. (He a doctrinaire dissident.))

Though I must confess some favorable bias for the bumper sticker that reads, "The Meek Will Inherit the Earth, The Rest of Us Are Going to the Stars"

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at May 2, 2007 8:16 AM

I actually saw the one about the whales on the road but it went one better. "Nuke a gay whale for Jesus".

My all time favorite was one I saw in DC: "Keep honking, I'm reloading"

Most curious pairing: Toyota Prius with Bush/Cheney '04.

Posted by: Duffy at May 2, 2007 10:59 AM

I always thought that if your philosophy of life could be summed up on a bumper sticker, well, it could only be very shallow. Or it may be the usual 'Look at me!' narcissistic tendencies of modern life.

Posted by: Robohobo at May 2, 2007 10:08 PM

Gee, and I always thought it was "Nuke The Gay Whales For Christ" -- !

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at May 3, 2007 2:12 PM

That last one is more fun when it's "Can't sleep, clowns will eat me."

We have a comment about "how many bumper stickers crazy" somebody is. If you can say it in one, that's okay. If it's "My child is an honor student at — ", that's annoying, but okay. I'm sure it makes the kid happy anyway. Band stickers are also pretty safe.

But beyond those freebies, bumper stickers are a good gauge of how rabid somebody is. Once you get past three you're getting into billboard fanatic territory.

Posted by: B. Durbin at May 13, 2007 6:54 PM

I have to give credit for originality, however, to people who subtly alter their bumper stickers in ways that completely change the message - it gives one a far more clear picture of their individual mentality.

By way of example, I recently saw a truck bearing one of those "COEXIST" stickers that Mark Steyn has fulminated so admirably about; it had been defaced with a Dymotape labeler so that it read, if you got close enough to see it: "[HOW CAN WE] COEXIST [WITH PEOPLE WHO] [WANT TO *KILL* US?!]"

Posted by: Michael Andreyakovich at May 18, 2007 11:45 AM