Sunday, September 11, 2005

Bumper sticker pulpit


I came across this bumper sticker as I strolled through Seattle's downtown core. I snapped this picture not five minutes after I saw a Hummer sporting the following vanity plate: RSKTAKR. I wonder if the owners of these two vehicles have ever met.

This got me thinking about the whole bumper sticker ethos that pervades the nation. Have you ever wondered why bumper stickers...
  1. ...are more likely found on dilapidated old cars? (To wit, check the condition of the bumper in this photo. The rest of the car was even worse.)
  2. ...always seem to follow similar themes: abortion stance (pro/con), religious conviction, anti-consumerist, stupid humor, spousal perspectives, etc.?
  3. ...seem to look ten years-old a mere three days after being applied to the vehicle?
  4. ...haven't been banned because they distract everyone who sees them?
As you can see, I'm not a fan of bumper-based media. The irony of the "Baby on Board" sticker has always struck me as somewhat sad: as if a car without such a sticker would make a better target for the rest of us.

Your turn: Do you do bumper stickers? Why/why not? What's your take on them?

23 comments:

yellojkt said...

I refuse to risk my trade-in value with bumper stickers. A few observations:

The more stickers, the more liberal the driver.
Pick-up trucks are more likely to have right wing stickers.
Funniest sticker: If Rush is right, I want what's left.

Geekwif said...

Here via Michele.

I'm not a huge fan of bumper stickers myself - mostly because they typically spout obnoxious, nauseating tripe. Yesterday my husband and I got stuck driving behind a vehicle sporting five particularly offensive examples, showing off the owner's clear lack of intelligence. We tried not to look, but it was like passing a train wreck. Morbid curiosity got the best of both of us, and we both ended up groaning, "Why, oh why did I read that?"

Tammy said...

No bumper stickers....I do have magnets of ribbons...oh wait...hubby did put a Bush bumper sticker on my van, and it's still there.

Michele sent me...going to see what else you have to say! :)

kenju said...

Carmi, I'm so glad you have a new post!

I absolutely hate bumper stickers!
There are none on my car and there never will be.

Michele sent me for about the 4th time today!

JustLinda said...

No bumper stickers here, though there are a lot of them that make me laugh.

Hi from Michele!

Star said...

No bumper stickers, and no magnets on the fridge either.I prefer to form the wording my opinions for myself and not use pre-fab statements. And, they look sloppy.Michele sent me tonight.

L said...

I do enjoy bumper sticker humor, but I notice far fewer bumper stickers these days... probably because most bumpers these days are painted (?)

tommy said...

Michele sent me. The funny ones are OK but there really aren't very many.

It strikes me as odd that someone thinks they can say something useful in the small space of a bumper sticker, much less whether or not someone will read it. I think maybe it's more like the secret hand shake thing, having the right one makes you a member of the club.

~Cathy~ said...

I *think* I have one on mine that says Support Our Troops.... LOL.... I can't remember if it's still on there or not! Here via Michelle's!

Angela said...

Back from Michele's--glad you updated! I enjoy and completely concur with your take on the bumper sticker craze. I can't even tell you how many vehicles I've seen that basically look as though they're being held together by the stickers. I would never do a bumper sticker--I completely agree with yellojkt's take on the trade in value!

Destiny Anne said...

i kinda like bumper stickers. some r funny and others r cute. the only ones i hate r the ones that say "my kid was an onor student at ______ school". i know as a kid that emberasses me and i don't want it to seem like i'm showing off or anything. since i don't have a car, i can't use a bumper sticker, but if i did have 1, i would use a bumper sticker. here from michele.

scrappintwinmom said...

Hi Carmi!
Here via Michele today. And no, I don't have any bumper stickers. Mostly because all of my cars were leased...now that I own my car, I'm old enough to know better. But I'm finding the ribbon stickers even more annoying. Everyone has to join the ribbon cult.

Thumper said...

Bumper stickers are like t-shirts for cars...though I won't put any on MY car, I love reading other people's stickers. Somehow it seems less intrusive than staring at actual people, trying to read what's on their t-shirts...

One of my fav's from a few years back: Hey, Rush, Your proctologist called. He found your head.

Plain Jane said...

I have a 'support our troops' magnet in the shape of a camoflagued ribbon. I paid $5 for it and the donation was given to my brother's unit (army).

That's about the most support for bumper stickers you'll see coming from me.

No stickers, magnets rule.

[Although I did buy a "I LOVE GAY PORN" magnet to put on my the car of my old boss - she drove around with it for a week before finding it!]

Kathy said...

Although some bumper stickers may help hold my bucket of bolts car together....I've never been a bumper sticker kind of gal. Just looks too....70's to me. Kind of tacky and old-fashioned.

Michelle said...

No stickers for me either. The ribbon bandwagon drives me crazy. Lately, I keep seeing cars with 3 or 4 ribbons on them. Annoying. What kind of statement are you trying to make with that? Cause all I think is "get over it!"

Michael Manning said...

Hello: Fellow journalist myself and came across your site via Deni. Stop by and say hello sometime. I agree about bumperstickers.

Heather said...

No. I have never been a fan of bumper stickers. They just seem tacky to me.

Cylithria™ said...

I had a bumper sticker on my old car....I had to do it, it made me giggle so hard everytime someone read it....

"I don't love you anymore, you ate my dog"

Easy said...

The funniest one I ever saw said-

Republicans for Voldemort

I was impressed enough to google it and find out where to get one.

Sometimes I'll do the bumper stickers, but I apply them to the rear windshield so they can be easily removed.

mg said...

My car has the bumper-stickers that it's previous owner put on. My Grandmother-in-law passed away and left the car to my (then)husband. She was the only person in his family to ever be kind to me, so I left them on the car :) One is a little drawing of a covered bridge, I'm not sure of the signifigance to her... but I like to think that it was something sweet and romantic that made her smile.

mg

colleen said...

Remember "I inhale for Clinton?" I love to read bumper stickers and vanity plates, especially ones that are a challenge to figure out but are worth it when you do. I was always hesitant about having bumper stickers and wouldn't have one, but I went through a period where I tried it. I had a few and I felt like I got more tickets with them on my car. I only have one now. It has to be one I really really like...This one says "When Jesus said love your enemy, he probably meant don't kill them."

Meredith said...

Oh, Carmi. We should get together and talk about bumpers. Or stickers. It is indeed a pulpit. I wish I had thought of that. Well said as usual!