Jack wrote this in September 2006. Something to offend everyone, so if you’re sensitive, skip it. I included a couple of comments at the end.
Just got back from town, where I noticed again something that’s changed without me noting it.
Time was when Americans used bumper stickers to tell everything about themselves worth knowing. It was a means of self-expression, definition. People in the US used bumper stickers to describe the depth and breadth of their thought processes, their tastes in literature and philosophy, everything important about themselves.
“Pro- Choice” was a telegraphic way to say, “I don’t have a fetus inside me, but if you are unlucky enough to have one I’m rabidly enthusiastic about your right to kill it and flush it down the toilet.”
“Right to Life” – translates: “I think abortion’s a bad choice and I’d like to kill, or imprison anyone who believes differently. Knitting needles in the bathtub were good enough for grandma and they’re good enough for you.”
“Support the Right to Keep and Bear Arms” Translates: “I like guns a bit overmuch. I’ve got them and, while I’m a patriot, probably a flag waver and mindless supporter of any unconstitutional war our prez gets us into, I don’t want them taking away muh guns.”
Ban (Firearms)(Handguns) Translates- “I am an idiot and don’t know it, but I want you to know it.”
“Support Your Local Police” Translates: “I’m either a cop, or I drive 75mph through school zones and figure anything might help. Either way, don’t trust me.”
“Save the Whales” Translates: “I’ve never seen a whale, but I’m hoping this bumper-sticker will help me meet people who have seen them. Or meet females who haven’t seen whales, either, but who would like to talk about saving them over drinks and maybe have sex afterward.”
“Proud to be an American” Translates: “I’m glad I was lucky enough to be born in a country where everyone’s fat, has MasterCard, and can talk in English about what team won the game last night. I’m most especially proud not to have been born somewhere full of non-English-speaking poor people who are hungry and get the bejesus bombed out of them all the time by us.”
GAY (Pride)(Marriage)(Rights) Translates: “I want to tell you what me (the owner of the bumper-sticker – not, ‘me’, jack) and my friends do with our genitals. I’m in your face about it because otherwise you mightn’t care.”
Anyway, that’s all over with. Bumper-stickers are dying in favor of the less-literary, shorter-attention-span next-generation.
The brave new world has little magnetic ribbon icons made in China of all different colors. Each color makes a pronouncement about what the car owner thinks will interest other Americans. Yellow means support the war (as though a person could pay taxes but not support the troops and the war). Etc etc etc.
I saw one today, a brown one of those ribbons turned upside-down so the ends stuck out like ears.
“Support Bambi” was printed in the center decorated with two doe-eyes with long lashes..
I’m sorry bumper-stickers went away before I got to see one saying, “You can take my pit-bull when you pry my cold, dead fingers from his snout.”
I forgot to mention my favorite bumper-sticker:
“WHITEY WILL PAY”
Brings to mind Lyndon Johnson’s comment on a portrait he’d hired done, “The ugliest thing in the world.”
Lyndon gave himself in that and many other ways, more credit than he deserved, though not by much.
I love your translations! Original? You are a riot, Jack!
My favorite ones are Florida specific. “Florida, where your vote counts and counts and counts” A more recent one “Leaving Florida? Take a Developer With You” “Welcome To Florida, Now Go Home!” Now that the clearcoat is peeling off the bumper I was going to put “Proud Blue Voter Living in a Red State” but I need my car in one piece. One cracked me up the other day..wish I could remember it.
People oughtn’t leave Florida. Especially not developers. Most particularly they shouldn’t leave it figuring on going where it’s dry and the water runs both directions to reach the ocean.
Time for a bumper sticker renaissance. Let’s start with your car. Reminds me that in college we put snuff and chewing tobacco bumper stickers on other people’s cars. Hey, the stickers were free. Who could resist?