Californians driving against terrorism
September 17, 2003 6:29 PM   Subscribe

I don't know about you guys, but I can't think of any better way for Californians to express their outrage at terrorism than to put a gaudy, flag-draped licence plate on their cars. (And if it includes a bear who just ate the huge head of an eagle, or maybe a group of eagles imitating the Village People, all the better!)
posted by delfuego (55 comments total)
 
a bear who just ate the huge head of an eagle

Heh... for a minute I thought that was a right-wing protest against the 9th Circuit.
posted by PrinceValium at 6:39 PM on September 17, 2003


Yeah, some of it is rather tacky, but the winning designs (two main ones) are rather tasteful, IMO.

But why the heck do we use auto license plates to express so much?
posted by davidmsc at 6:39 PM on September 17, 2003


Just another way to get some extra cash for the state gov't
posted by Wallzatcha at 6:40 PM on September 17, 2003


Hmm, we're missing the ``Like, I'm so against terrorism'' one.
posted by NewBornHippy at 6:45 PM on September 17, 2003


My favorite by far is this:


These surfboards totally don't run dude!
posted by mathowie at 6:47 PM on September 17, 2003


When did the Statue of Liberty become anti-terrorist? I thought it was made by French terrorists or something?
posted by MiG at 6:54 PM on September 17, 2003


Am I misreading something, or did the "best slogan winner" win with the phrase "We will never forget?"
posted by moonbiter at 6:55 PM on September 17, 2003


This is so pathetic, i can't even think of something funny to say about it
posted by efalk at 6:56 PM on September 17, 2003


That'll show those terrorists!
posted by Zonker at 7:01 PM on September 17, 2003


Yes, moonbiter, I figured I'd leave that choice bit for someone else to note. Classic.
posted by delfuego at 7:02 PM on September 17, 2003


It's not pathetic. Taking a stand against terrorism is hard. Like being pro-education or against crime.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:03 PM on September 17, 2003


disgusting -- both the contest and the entries.

IT'S A FUCKING LICENSE PLATE! a piece of metal that identifies your car as being registered with the government. why do we turn it in to propaganda?

that, and we REALLY need to put more money in to the arts in schools.
posted by bhayes82 at 7:13 PM on September 17, 2003


Nothing says "California" to me like the Manhattan skyline.
posted by boredomjockey at 7:16 PM on September 17, 2003


Have you noticed how all the "these colors don't run" bumper stickers have totally faded?
posted by machaus at 7:22 PM on September 17, 2003


Maybe on an "anti-terrorist" plate the edges would be filed sharper than a normal plate, so in case of a terrorist ambush you could leap from your car, rip the plate from its moorings and fling it at the terrorists, boomerang-style, and laugh derisively as it decapitated them.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:26 PM on September 17, 2003


Strong surfborads is definitely what the country needs.
posted by will at 7:28 PM on September 17, 2003


Actually, I live in Oregon and we do have a few plates that are 2-3 times the normal cost, but the additional funds go to (usually) specific funds. For instance, there is a plate with a salmon on it (not an ugly plate) and the funds generated go to restoring/preserving salmon habitat. THAT kind of vanity plate I really don't mind, but these are just sad, sad ways for people to feel like they're doing something in the 'war on terrorism'. I'd like to see a plate with a daisy cutter exploding, or some legless arab children playing with our unexploded ordinance. Of course, there would have to be a flag in the background; you wouldn't want fellow motorists to get the idea you're some crazed unpatriotic commie or something.
posted by efalk at 7:29 PM on September 17, 2003


Dash Samoy's design - the winning one - reminds me of a teenage girls, fan club website.
posted by carfilhiot at 7:40 PM on September 17, 2003


As much as I don't like many of Bill Maher's ill-researched and sometimes poorly delivered quips, I liked this one:

"Put a flag on your car, it's literally the least you can do."
posted by psmealey at 7:41 PM on September 17, 2003


I appreciate a license plate that says "You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! God damn you all to hell!"
posted by soyjoy at 8:11 PM on September 17, 2003


the Oregon plates. The Salmon Licence Plate doesn't give you rights to go fishing, but to preserve runs etc. Usually spotted bolted onto Chevy Suburbans.
posted by marvin at 8:15 PM on September 17, 2003


What if a license plate includes language or an object/picture providing a message that an owner/driver does not want expressed or finds offensive?

I guess that would be a reverse-First Amendment Case --- the government associating unwanted language with a person.

I think I remember there was a case, at one time, brought against New Hampshire for the "Live Free Or Die" slogan on its license plates.
posted by quam at 8:31 PM on September 17, 2003


The "We Will Never Forget" slogan should be followed by (until a bright, shiny object distracts us) or (until the organic process of aging makes us).

Sloganeering never fails to set off my sarcasm mode.
posted by sillygit at 8:38 PM on September 17, 2003


quam, ususally the fuss is more about license plates that include a message that other drivers find offensive, or which deliver a blatantly political message (to the point at which it can be successfully argued that the state itself is delivering that message, which is a 1st amendment violation the other way around).

Exhibit A, of course, is the Choose Life plate promoted by right-to-life organizations in several states.
posted by yhbc at 8:38 PM on September 17, 2003


Information about government compelled or coerced speech: an overview and Wooley v. Maynard, 430 U.S. 705 (1977) ([the state's] interest cannot outweigh an individual's First Amendment right to avoid becoming the courier for the State's ideological message.
posted by quam at 8:39 PM on September 17, 2003


Ah, very nice quam - you found a link that discusses what you were talking about and which includes a link to what I was talking about!

Yes, they are different issues, but ultimately the solution should be the same: leave politics OFF the license plates, dang it!
posted by yhbc at 8:44 PM on September 17, 2003


Hahahahah. Look at the silly, simple people expressing pride and patriotism. Silly, silly jingoists. We are so much more worldly than them. Right, guys? Right.

Good.

Glad we got that out of the way.

Yeah.

Uh-huh.

Yup.
posted by jammer at 9:13 PM on September 17, 2003


Daaaaamn you guys are harsh:

"Rather than having the license plate designed by a professional artist, we thought it would be appropriate and instructive to ask high school students throughout California to help us create the best and most fitting design to ensure that we never forget the victims and the brave heroes of September 11th. "
posted by cohappy at 9:27 PM on September 17, 2003


Without a doubt, the worst license plates ever are from my home state. Not only did they change the winning design which had the slogan "Back Home Again" in a script font instead of the incredibly lame web address it now sports, these things are totally flat (no embossed numbers anymore) and about as thick and strong as an aluminum pie plate. And no one seems to know WTF the barcode is for.
posted by AstroGuy at 9:52 PM on September 17, 2003


Christ almighty, we should really kill every high school student.
posted by xmutex at 10:15 PM on September 17, 2003


kind of sad that our country ranks art and design as the first thing to get cut on the budget -

i can only imagine the work that would have come out of this place had they been given the same design challenge.
posted by specialk420 at 10:42 PM on September 17, 2003


What cohappy said. This is like one of those essay contests where the subject is "Dreams of the Future: What the Washington Monument Means to Me" and they get a prize or something they can put on their college application.

So of course most of 'em are hokey, though I agree with davidmsc, the winners aren't too bad, and that surfboard one rules.
posted by furiousthought at 10:44 PM on September 17, 2003


I'm a Hoosier as well Astroguy but I've been living overseas for a few years. I went home for the first time in July and those butt-ugly new license plates were the first thing I noticed. In addition to the lack of embossing, the colors really don't provide a lot of contrast and you can't read the damn things from more than 10 feet away. They look like cardboard.
posted by web-goddess at 10:47 PM on September 17, 2003


I think the most effective anti-terrorist plates would be ones with slogans praising terrorist values. They'd take one look at them, figure they'd won and stop terrorising us.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:58 PM on September 17, 2003


I've seen plenty of high school students with better design skills than what we see here. (And I teach at an art college, so I see lots of 18 year-old designers. But admittedly they are design majors with probably at least some training in high school.) These are godawful. I wonder if the students who actually submitted good design didn't make the finals -- too edgy, not cheesy enough.
posted by litlnemo at 12:15 AM on September 18, 2003


Hahahahah. Look at the silly, simple people expressing pride and patriotism.

You know, jammer, when I think of patriotism, I think of exercising independent thought, getting informed and keeping an eye out for flag-draped scoundrels.

In the last two years, jingoistic morons have helped the current administration blow a TRILLION of our hard earned dollars on missiles and top-bracket tax cuts, AND undercut the foundations of our civil rights, AND prioritize war over education and health care, AND kill thousands of innocents in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I think we have every right to mock them. Scorn them, even. Wake up, dunderheads, your fascism is ready!
posted by squirrel at 12:25 AM on September 18, 2003


Out of interest, do any countries other than the US stick pictures on number plates?

In the UK they seem to have decided that it's better that you can read the damned number rather than turning them into glorified bumper stickers...
posted by twine42 at 12:53 AM on September 18, 2003


"Christ almighty, we should really kill every high school student." (posted by xmutex at 10:15 PM PST on September 17)

That's not a nice thing to say, xmutex. Why do you hate young people so much?

On a lighter note, I do like the 'surfboard' antiterrorism license plate mathowie noted.
posted by troutfishing at 12:55 AM on September 18, 2003


I apologize in advance for this. It has flag colors, a fireman, Rumsfeld, community pride, and gritty realism. What more can you ask for?


posted by skallas at 1:09 AM on September 18, 2003


skallas - That is nice too. Everyone is smiling.
posted by troutfishing at 1:32 AM on September 18, 2003


or which deliver a blatantly political message (to the point at which it can be successfully argued that the state itself is delivering that message, which is a 1st amendment violation the other way around).

I realize it's not a state, but DC has "Taxation Without Representation" on theirs! :)

As for all of this though, we are a silly culture, no?
posted by LouReedsSon at 1:38 AM on September 18, 2003


A lot of them seem really confrontational or americanocentric. Wouldn't a better anti-terrorism ehm license plate promote tolerance and peace between religions and race?
posted by cx at 1:58 AM on September 18, 2003


skallas -- the title of this page is "Californians driving against terrorism," isn't it?
posted by litlnemo at 2:02 AM on September 18, 2003


cx - Like "God bless everyone"? - That would be a nice license plate.

The so called "patriotic", in-group, hatefull sloganeering in the US is a pitifull shame. US patriotism ideally should be true Christian patriotism, as in "Do onto others", or "Love thy neighbor".....
posted by troutfishing at 2:08 AM on September 18, 2003


Banksy says/grafs it best.

Nice to see Vegas casinos represented on the new plates tho'...altho' I think this homage to CA's genetic engineering industry is a goer:


posted by i_cola at 2:55 AM on September 18, 2003


If you squint, the two badges look a bit like a fish...

...and California is rasta coloured!

Irie!
posted by backOfYourMind at 5:52 AM on September 18, 2003


At least I think it's California, if I squint a little more it looks like a sock, and the fireman's helmet-strap looks like an eel coming in from stage right to take a nibble.

Jeez, I should write this stuff down and see what my shrink makes of it.
posted by backOfYourMind at 5:55 AM on September 18, 2003


Hahahahah. Look at the silly, simple people expressing pride and patriotism.

Honestly, that is totally unfair! Noone's laughing at patriotism, we're laughing at cack-handed teenagers who can't draw.

*disclaimer: I am of course just kidding around, many of the eagles included in the entries were rendered with remarkable accuracy and I'm sure many of those kids are up there with the best in the creation of wavy red and white lines.*
posted by backOfYourMind at 6:00 AM on September 18, 2003


Wake up, dunderheads, your fascism is ready!

I want that on a license plate. Maybe also surfboards.
posted by biscotti at 6:49 AM on September 18, 2003


I like the one that uses stenciled letters the best.
posted by arielmeadow at 7:55 AM on September 18, 2003


I, for one, welcome our new proud, patriotic high school student overlords.
posted by Slothrup at 8:48 AM on September 18, 2003


(for astroguy and web-goddess)
being originally from ky., i'm feeling a bit nostalgic for ye olde fashioned "Wander".
posted by asparagus_berlin at 9:40 AM on September 18, 2003


Without a doubt, the worst license plates ever are from my home state.

Plus, we get to keep these eyesores for five long years. Obviously, we Hoosiers need to buy more of these plates.
posted by moonbiter at 10:17 AM on September 18, 2003


Oops, forgot to cite Astroguy on the first line.
posted by moonbiter at 10:18 AM on September 18, 2003


Nothing says "California" to me like the Manhattan skyline.
posted by Satapher at 1:34 PM on September 18, 2003


« Older Excuse me while I go pass out.   |   Let's fire Rumsfeld! Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments