Bumper sticker mentalities

I would like to ban bumper stickers. I have many reasons for this, not least of which is that they make your car look crappy. There’s really no such thing as a classy bumper sticker, I don’t care what the message is. You’re still putting a cheap piece of inelegant plasticized schlock on your car. Ick.

A few examples of things that are unnecessarily expressed via vehicular communcation:

“My child is on the Honor Roll at <school>!”
I’m glad your child is smart enough to be on the honor roll, and I applaud the fact that you want to visibly support that child in his/her academic endeavors. But I was on the honor roll, and I forbade my parents from putting those stickers on the car. Because the only thing more nerdy than consistently being on the honor roll is riding around in a car that screams about it to everyone behind you.

“This car climbed Mt. Washington.”
First of all, by all outward appearances, that was 20 years ago. But congrats. Now, can the car accelerate past 42 miles per hour on the highway? Get out of the way.

“Hunt with your kids, not for them.”
I don’t even know what that means. I puzzled over it until my puzzler was sore. I called other people, people who hunt, and asked them. They didn’t know, either. I couldn’t find a supporting foundation or organization that put out this sticker. It’s baffling.

But the biggest reason I want to ban bumper stickers, by far, is because I really didn’t ask for your opinion, and I certainly don’t want to read it while I’m stuck in already irritating traffic.

I don’t mind that you have opinions. Obviously, I have a few, myself. It’s just that I don’t want to know your stand on war, or a given politician, or abortion, or cancer (which universally is believed to suck, so I don’t need your bumper sticker to state the obvious), or mean people (also universally believed to suck), or the United Nations, or whatever.

Why do so many bumper stickers have something to do with politics or religion? There’s ample room for debate on the topics that we slap on our cars, so why are we constantly insulting everyone’s intelligence by implying that it’s really so simple that we can fit it on a sticker? It’s not that simple. In fact, I bet there are a lot of people on this road who know a lot more than you do about the topic your bumper is yelling at me about in all caps. This bumper sticker mentality is, I believe, partly responsible for the circus that is our present political and campaign system. The bumper sticker is the abbreviated form of the soundbite, which is the abbreviated form of an explanation for an actual political concept way too complicated to be boiled down into any of the above things.

I don’t believe people who have these bumper stickers want to “start a national conversation.” I believe they want to argue, gloat, and/or insist they were right all along.

“Don’t blame me – I voted for <Name>.”
Okay, well, I don’t blame you for anything except being a narcissist and a bad driver. And I don’t really care who you voted for. Even if I voted for the same person, I’m annoyed, because I realize I’m now lumped into a category with you.

“I’ll keep my money, my freedom and my guns. You can keep the ‘change.'”
How ’bout you keep moving. Preferably away from me.

“It’s a child, not a choice”/”It is a poverty that a child must die so that you may live the way you wish. ~Mother Teresa”/”Abortion stops a beating heart”, etc.
Okay… deep breath. I happen to agree. But that’s me. And I’m Catholic, so I kind of have to agree with everything Mother Teresa ever said. It’s tough to find a case where she was wrong, because she was just super-nice. But not everyone believes the same things, not everyone understands life in the same way, not everyone has the same life, choices, education, resources, home life, opportunity… Reducing this incredibly sensitive and complex issue down to something that fits on a bumper sticker is just irresponsible and will do nothing to change anyone’s mind. It will only make people angry. Including me, and I agree with you. So take the sticker off your car and mind your own business before I rear-end you on purpose.

“Visualize world peace.”
Visualize your accelerator. Long pedal on the right.

There is, however, one kind of bumper sticker I can appreciate. That, as you might imagine, is the genuinely funny kind.

“Jesus loves you. Everyone else thinks you’re an a$$hole.”
Now that’s the kind of bumper sticker mentality I can get behind.


4 thoughts on “Bumper sticker mentalities

  1. What’s worse than bumper stickers ? Rear window decals with your initials and stick family decals. Why would you publicly display part of your name, age appropriate depictions of your entire family, along with your plate number, and county/state you live in?

  2. Don’t you know that nothing brings a family closer together than killing small animals together?

    As a cat person, I hate the anti-cat bumper stickers (“the other white meat” etc). But I kinda like “Visualize Whirled Peas” and “My Juvenile Delinquent can kick the crap out of your honor student.”

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