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November 24, 2003 8:39 AM   Subscribe

Freewayblogger.com When you put a sign on the freeway people will read it until someone takes it down.
posted by srboisvert (56 comments total)

 
Or until you are arrested for littering, or vandalism, or being a public nuisance, or something.

But I've often thought that there should be a public wall or something that anyone can spray paint or hang a sign on so that there is a legitimate outlet for this sort of thing.
posted by wobh at 8:47 AM on November 24, 2003


Here in the Netherlands we have that. Every town has to have a board of a few square meters (don't recall the exact size) per every 10 000 people. Most cities don't actually have this, but that means if you get fined for putting up posters the judge will basicly say you were indeed violating the regulation but will not have to pay because of the lack of official places for exercising your free speech rights.
posted by fvw at 8:57 AM on November 24, 2003


i wonder how many of those images have been doctored.
posted by thisisdrew at 8:58 AM on November 24, 2003


uhm.. blogging short weblogging? weblogging? freeway? signs? huh? whatever.
posted by xmutex at 8:58 AM on November 24, 2003


I was just thinking how responsible all those people were by hanging signs rather than just painting on the bridge. Here in the UK we are still being urged to 'Pay no poll tax'. This is the only online picture I can find but there are plenty of examples still around. The policy itself finally went tits up in 1993. Other graffiti challenges to the UK political status quo have famously included "M. KHAN IS BENT".
posted by biffa at 9:02 AM on November 24, 2003


freewayblogs: "bring em on"
posted by specialk420 at 9:15 AM on November 24, 2003


"Free Speech is the right to yell 'Theater!' in a crowded fire." -Abbie Hoffman

All these tired statements about how terrible our gov't is and how somebody should do something about it but all these bozos can do is make anonymous signs that are doing what? Either preaching to the choir or inciting the half of the country who actually believe Shrub's lies? Kinda makes "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" look almost appealing. This is getting us nowhere. Posting such comments on the nation's freeways is about as useful as knocking on a neighbor's door and running away. Even if someone figures out how to make a single voice heard again, it's too late for the blood that has already been spilled.

"What's my complaint? Jim's gone to war.
I don't write love songs anymore." - Amy Jo Hylkema

posted by ZachsMind at 9:28 AM on November 24, 2003


Posting such comments on the nation's freeways is about as useful as knocking on a neighbor's door and running away.

sure. whatever you say zachs .... ill put down my paintbrush and go back to watching FOX or listening to clear channel now... thanks for clearing that up.
posted by specialk420 at 10:23 AM on November 24, 2003


You mean that overheated rhetoric screamed at motorists from highway overpasses doesn't have any useful effect?

Say it ain't so.

Political discourse in this country has completely evaporated: one side dishes out nonsense rhetoric and bald-faced lies from the pulpits of FOX "News" and the other screams out goofy overcooked rhetoric that sounds more like really bad lyrics to the songs of some high school 'punk rock' band.

It's all really fucking ridiculous.
posted by xmutex at 10:30 AM on November 24, 2003


There's a group here in Detroit that puts up bedsheets with environmental messages (apparently "confronting car culture"), and links to a "critical mass website.

I might take them more seriously if they could manage just once to put up a sign that didn't have any misspellings on it. Maybe...
posted by greengrl at 10:38 AM on November 24, 2003


If you're going to do something like this, how about you have a message that's actually interesting or insightful?

While all the war and corp bashing is cute, what about the issues of communication between people that cause these things in the first place? Just my two cents.

A simple "Less Killing and Arguing - More fucking" would suffice.
posted by angry modem at 10:38 AM on November 24, 2003


Bumperstickers reach a wider audience.
posted by stbalbach at 10:42 AM on November 24, 2003


See similar signs around election time, burma shave.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:43 AM on November 24, 2003


How exactly does one link from a freeway sign to a site on the Web (i.e. "blog")? How does one view them in reverse chronological order? How does one permalink to them? Blogging isn't just posting pithy comments, you know.
posted by kindall at 10:48 AM on November 24, 2003


http://www.ipodsdirtysecret.com/
posted by specialk420 at 10:53 AM on November 24, 2003


I'd be much more amused if this were an actual attempt to bring the bloggin'style to the freeways. Like some livejournal 400-wordcount blather sprayed across a city's longest bridge with unworkable links about J-Lo's ass, debating the Matrix trilogy against the Lord of The Rings trilogy and asking for someone to please email them a workable link to either the new or the old Paris Hilton video. Topped off at the bottom with a gigantic bouncing scultpture (or rented man in a suit) of a japanese cartoon character bouncing, and the words "current mood - GIDDY HAPPY HAPPY" sprayed next to it

And then there would be a bridge twenty times longer containing bullshit we could give a damn about from this bridge blogger's livejournal friendslist. Mostly about waking up with a hangover and needing to get a haircut.

p.s. (BUSH KNEW)
posted by Peter H at 12:04 PM on November 24, 2003


Posting such comments on the nation's freeways is about as useful as knocking on a neighbor's door and running away.

Gee, does Lamar Advertising and Clear Channel know they're wasting customers advertising dollars with those billboards they own?

I loved the one stating "this is the only sign you will see today that was not made by a corporation.

I now cede the floor to the Defenders of All Things Duhbya so they may freely trash the site as bad, unpatriotic and unseemly.
posted by nofundy at 12:14 PM on November 24, 2003


http://www.nobodydied.com/
posted by grabbingsand at 12:26 PM on November 24, 2003


Gee, does Lamar Advertising and Clear Channel know they're wasting customers advertising dollars with those billboards they own?

If their customers were advertising twaddle like "Nobody died when Clinton lied" then yeah, they'd know they're wasting their customers' advertising dollars. However, the messages their customers actually put on the billboards are far more effective, so they know they're not wasting their customers' advertising dollars.

I loved the one stating "this is the only sign you will see today that was not made by a corporation."

But of course it was made by a corporation. I doubt that yahoo is making his own paper and ink and manufactured his own printing apparatus from raw materials. Even the fonts were made by a corporation.

And even if it wasn't made by a corporation, and even if it was the only sign the viewer saw that day that wasn't made by a corporation -- so what? What's the point?
posted by kindall at 12:28 PM on November 24, 2003


nofundy: We're just saying it's stupid. Which it is. Bush doesn't enter into it.
posted by xmutex at 12:50 PM on November 24, 2003


so what? What's the point?

ummm .. kindall... i'm afraid the creator of that particular sign was probably targeting his message to 6th grade and above -

we'll get big bird to guest star in the next version with a full explanation of the "the point".
posted by specialk420 at 12:53 PM on November 24, 2003


If their customers were advertising twaddle like "Nobody died when Clinton lied" then yeah, they'd know they're wasting their customers' advertising dollars. However, the messages their customers actually put on the billboards are far more effective, so they know they're not wasting their customers' advertising dollars.

Right. After all, truth really should take a back seat to globally significant, nonstupid (right, xmutex!?) memes like "Come to Marlboro Country".

But many of us do find that corporate billboards lose just a bit of their effectiveness after they are neatly leveled with our trusty chainsaws and/or acetylene torches....and many billboards make wonderful bonfires.

My motto: Keep American Beautiful.

And by the way, kindall, you sound like a really wonderful consumer. Really. I mean that.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:56 PM on November 24, 2003


Errr....my motto: Keep America Beautiful.

~heh~
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:57 PM on November 24, 2003


I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with freeway signs (aside from the fact that we have to pay someone to clean them up). As nofundy says, we're bombarded with messages and slogans every time we drive.

That said, I really can't see this being an effective medium of communication. I doubt any person is going to change their mind on a weighty issue like the war in Iraq because someone painted a clever slogan on a bed sheet and hung it over a cyclone fence. Of course, the people who already agree with the slogan will get to enjoy the fleeting thought, "Amen, brother!" as they zip past at 80 miles per hour.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:11 PM on November 24, 2003


"The Medium is the Message"
posted by specialk420 at 1:23 PM on November 24, 2003


It's effective because many people aren't hearing any war protest. The mainstream news media is beginning to report on it, but they're far too busy chasing Michael Jackson. It's creative, which I like. However, I live in a state with no billboards. It's always shocking to me when I visit other states, and see how ugly billboards are.
posted by theora55 at 1:29 PM on November 24, 2003


After all, truth really should take a back seat to globally significant, nonstupid (right, xmutex!?) memes like "Come to Marlboro Country".

Meanwhile, back in the real world... the question was whether billboard companies should tell their customers they were wasting their money. Obviously advertising Marlboro cigarettes is not a waste of money for Marlboro, or they wouldn't do it.

Do try to follow the actual topic at hand, there, foldy.
posted by kindall at 1:31 PM on November 24, 2003


It's effective because many people aren't hearing any war protest.

"Effective" would apply if they changed anyone's mind, which they will not.

This is the problem in a nutshell. The kind of people who'd put up those signs think that the reason people don't agree with them is that they simply haven't heard the message. So obviously the solution is to post more signs. In other words, when the stupid furriners can't understand English, TALK LOUDER!

In reality, we've all heard and rejected the message long ago, and all these folks are doing is annoying us and reducing the impact of the message even further.

ummm .. kindall... i'm afraid the creator of that particular sign was probably targeting his message to 6th grade and above

That would explain why you don't know what it is, I guess. Anybody else care to explain it? I mean, a sign that says "This is the only sign you will see today that was not made by a corporation" is neither strictly true, nor to the extent it is true is it anything we don't already know. So why post a sign to tell us things we already know, but obviously don't care about?
posted by kindall at 1:42 PM on November 24, 2003


. sorry you dont get it kindall.
posted by specialk420 at 1:59 PM on November 24, 2003


It's a funny sort of political message whose proponents care about it so little that don't care to help people who "don't get it." I guess the message isn't that important after all, so I'll just stop worrying about it. Which is convenient, because I was going to do that anyway.
posted by kindall at 2:29 PM on November 24, 2003


i wonder how many of those images have been doctored.

I've seen a few of them (on the 405, around Venice Blvd) and they said what is shown on the site. While I was sitting in traffic, they made me think.
posted by jonah at 2:43 PM on November 24, 2003


And by the way, kindall, you sound like a really wonderful consumer. Really.

And what are you inputting this on? Or did you make your own computer from bark and grass?

What are you wearing? Did you grow it yourself, spin it, make your own cloth, and sew it, all by hand?

Do you grow or kill everything you eat?

Hmm, I didn't think so.
posted by SuzySmith at 3:04 PM on November 24, 2003


"who'll take the coal from the mines?
who'll take the salt from the earth?
who'll take a leaf and grow it to a tree?
don't look now, it ain't you or me
who'll work the field with his hands?
who'll put his back to the plough?
who'll take the mountain and give it to the sea?
don't look now, it ain't you or me
don't look now, someone's done your starvin'
don't look now, someone's done your prayin'
who'll make the shoes for your feet?
who'll make the clothes that you wear?
who'll take the promise
that you don't have to keep?
don't look now, it ain't you or me
who'll take the promise
that you don't have to keep?
don't look now, it ain't you or me"


-john fogerty-creedence clearwater revival
posted by specialk420 at 3:08 PM on November 24, 2003


Kindall, I think the only hope regarding the "sign not made by a corporation" was that you not be so pedantic.

Does freewayblogger blog about things on the freeway or are they out there blogging the freeways? (If one could do such a thing, hyperlink me to central Kansas from the DC suburbs please!)
posted by Dick Paris at 5:12 PM on November 24, 2003


Peter H, that would be a livejournal. An entirely different beast.
posted by keswick at 5:25 PM on November 24, 2003


I call straw man on SuzySmith.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:07 PM on November 24, 2003


Kindall, either you believe that advertising works or you don't. By this, I mean that repeated exposure to ideas changes people's behavior. If you do buy this hypothesis (your statements regarding Phillip Morris products seem that you do believe it), then why would you think that seeing a certain sign, symbol, or slogan repeatedly (and increasingly) would *not* have an effect?
posted by zpousman at 6:40 PM on November 24, 2003


Kindall, either you believe that advertising works or you don't. By this, I mean that repeated exposure to ideas changes people's behavior. If you do buy this hypothesis (your statements regarding Phillip Morris products seem that you do believe it), then why would you think that seeing a certain sign, symbol, or slogan repeatedly (and increasingly) would *not* have an effect?

Well, you're assuming that all advertising is equally proficient, and that all messages are equally interesting to the reader.

See, the Marlboro billboards advertise something that people like. They like it enough to buy it and even die from it. They are also much more visually interesting and compelling than your average "freeway blogger" sign. Dale Carnegie -- you appeal to people by talking about them. A Marlboro billboard appeals to the way men see themselves, or want to. In what way does "This is the only sign you will see today that was not made by a corporation" appeal to the reader, make them interested? The subtext of such a sign is "You are neither as clever nor even half as smug as I am," which lacks a certain broad-based appeal.

To turn it around, if these "freeway bloggers" think their messages are so important, why aren't they willing to pay to have them professionally designed and placed on billboards?

(And, no, I'm not being pedantic. Words mean things, dammit, I'm not going to give people a pass to say things that simply aren't true merely because they have good intentions and can coin a pithy sound bite.)
posted by kindall at 7:30 PM on November 24, 2003


why aren't they willing to pay to have them professionally designed and placed on billboards?

ok. points for following #15
posted by specialk420 at 8:00 PM on November 24, 2003


What do those people think they are going to accomplish?? Sticking their message in a place where thousands of people will see it. Idiot advertisers. Picture of a cowboy with the word "Marlboro" on it. THAT is going to make me buy their cigarettes??? Hey! I don't even smoke fer chrissakes. ;-)
posted by jaronson at 8:28 PM on November 24, 2003


ok. points for following #15 ["ask stupid questions"]

It's not a stupid question. It's a rhetorical question, which means that the answer is obvious: because they know it wouldn't be any more effective than what they're doing now, because nobody wants what they're selling.

I shouldn't have to explain that to someone with a sixth grade education. Or perhaps even higher!
posted by kindall at 8:41 PM on November 24, 2003


i'm guilty of #41
posted by specialk420 at 8:46 PM on November 24, 2003


Kindall, you're not being pedantic, you're being a bit of a tool. The reason that people don't buy advertising space like companies do is because it's very expensive. Duh. These people are working with the tools they have -- nothing -- but they're still trying to engage people. What would have them do -- curl up and die (work for the "man") until they're rich enough to purchase slick ads? Why would you think that makes their speech any more worthy of attention?

I was in Europe recently and I saw a lot of "PACE" (Peace in Italian) flags. I honestly didn't know how widespread the support for pacifist / non-agression positions there were. But merely by putting the flags on their porches, windows, and homes, I believe that Italians were changing the course of the debate. They're obviously not (individually) in a position to purchase TV time, billboards, or documentary films. But they're doing what they can.

I think that this statement of yours is really the kicker though: I'm not going to give people a pass to say things that simply aren't true merely because they have good intentions and can coin a pithy sound bite.

Ah, so now it's about the truth value of their statements. Which is weird, especially when you compare it to advertising. Don't appear to be principled if you just disagree.
posted by zpousman at 8:51 PM on November 24, 2003


But of course it was made by a corporation. I doubt that yahoo is making his own paper and ink and manufactured his own printing apparatus from raw materials. Even the fonts were made by a corporation.

Why does this particular idea bother you so much that you felt the need to nitpick yourself into a little frenzy here? Or that the basic idea "this is the only sign you will see that was not made by a corporation" seem to bother you? In many cases it's probably true. I'm not sure why you assume that people would automatically be more offended by seeing this than by seeing a cigarette ad. (You paint a very complimentary picture of how much people must love cigarettes)

I find these freeway signs appealing because they can't be assigned a monitary value based on their viewership in the way a full page newspaper ad or a 30 second prime time TV spot can. And yet people are still talking about them. This makes them worth paying attention to.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:10 PM on November 24, 2003


Oh shit, someone who named themselves after not one but two drug references just laughed at my comment! Maybe I'd better re-evaluate my position... naaaaah.

What would have them do -- curl up and die (work for the "man") until they're rich enough to purchase slick ads? Why would you think that makes their speech any more worthy of attention?

It wouldn't make it any more worthy of attention, but it might succeed in getting more serious consideration if didn't look like something a disaffected college student threw together in Word. (As an aside, they should also get over their juvenile objection to working for "the man." You're either going to work for "the man" or you're going to be "the man." The process of accepting this is called "growing up.")

Surely the thousands upon thousands of people in the anti-war, anti-Bush movement could afford to throw in ten or twenty bucks apiece to buy some billboards. If religious organizations can afford to buy billboards with "Don't make me come down there. -- God" printed on them, then surely it's not out of reach for "the movement."

Sure billboards in urban areas are expensive. But in many locations they're cheap. A few billboards in, say, the rural midwest would likely get a lot of media attention, because it would run so starkly counter to the opinions of the locals. Posting these signs in major cities where you know a sizable minority of people agree with you already isn't exactly edgy anyway.

If they asked around they might also find someone with some advertising or graphic design experience who could maybe actually make them persuasive. I hear a lot of those people are unemployed these days and many of them probably sympathize with these leftist sentiments.

My point is not that they should do those things. They'd still piss me off because I disagree with them vehemently, and since I dislike being pissed off I hope they don't take my advice. My point is that if they're going to do something, they should at least pick a tactic that has a snowball's chance in hell of accomplising something. They say they want to reach people, but the messages and the medium they have chosen are clearly not going to be effective. This leads me to the obvious conclusion, that they are not actually interested in convincing anyone of anything, or at least not interested enough to find out how to actually do it. They're preaching to the choir just to hear the choir's approval.

Ah, so now it's about the truth value of their statements.

I don't see why I can't be annoyed by both! The "truth value" is supposedly part of what they're selling. Nobody really expects smoking Marlboros makes them a cowboy, so they don't really care if the product doesn't provide any more than a nicotine buzz. But if you're actually trying to convince people that they should actually care about the fact that the sign they're reading is one of the few they'll see that day that wasn't "made by a corporation," people will discount it if it's so obviously false. All they have to do is see one other sign not made by a corporation (such as another "freeway blogger" sign) and your slogan is a lie. And even if they buy it, you then have to give them a reason to care. The implied "corporations are bad, mmkay?" doesn't quite cut it because most people work for corporations and get everything they need from corporations. And they're just fine with that! Americans, by and large, like their lives! And no, that doesn't make them sheep! At least, you can't call them that if you want to change their behavior.

If all you have is emotion, a disdain for all things Right, and some pithy slogans of dubious veracity, you've basically got nothing. There is no vast untapped reservoir of people who would join "the movement" if only they were exposed to the right slogan. The most you can ever expect from the middle when you're arguing from a position so distanced from the mainstream is to maybe get people to go "That's an interesting point, I hadn't thought of it that way." That's your victory. That's all you're ever going to get. And you're not going to get even that much with "Bush lied, people died." You have to be reasonable.

Usually I wouldn't give tactical advice to people with whose politics I so disagree. But give it up. "Freeway blogging" is at best annoying the people you want to reach, and thus counterproductive. At worst, it's a complete waste of time and a pollution of our environment with yet more visual clutter. And for God's sake, stop calling it blogging! Even political blogging is not mere sloganeering.

And yet people are still talking about them.

Yes, the people who put them up are talking about them. The people who sympathize with the political views of the sign posters are talking about them. And the topic has managed to rouse at least a couple members of the wordy opposition from their slumber to point out at great length how it's not changing their minds at all. That's all you're gonna get, I'm afraid.

And that's all I'm gonna say about that. Really. Every few months I get sucked into a discussion like this, it wears me out and pisses me off, and I swear it off until the memory fades of how much time it siphons from the things I'd rather be doing, and I get sucked in again. I know I'm politically in the minority around here and, really, I don't care. With few exceptions, I like most of the people here just fine regardless of their (very different from mine and thus obviously utterly wrong) politics.
posted by kindall at 10:24 PM on November 24, 2003


Life must be so hard if simply seeing something you don't already agree with "pisses you off" so much.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:45 PM on November 24, 2003


If religious organizations can afford to buy billboards

before you take another lap around the barrel - think about how
"this is the only sign you will see today that was not made by a corporation"
evoked a response from yourself, mr. fundy and i'm sure most of the SUV rush hour/traffic jam crowd that idled by the banner in question ... i hate to break it to ya, this is the kind of stuff corporate america spends millions for, im betting the ingenious creator dropped under 20 bucks on this one. score 1 for the little guy.
posted by specialk420 at 10:51 PM on November 24, 2003


Here's a helpful translation for some of the thicker posters here:

"This is the only message you will see that is not trying to get you to buy something"

Not something to get worked up over, or so I thought.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:50 AM on November 25, 2003


(And, no, I'm not being pedantic. Words mean things, dammit, I'm not going to give people a pass to say things that simply aren't true merely because they have good intentions and can coin a pithy sound bite.)

Sorry, Kindall, I was actually only trying to help. I think a downward spiral was generated in this thread with the suggestion that the tools one uses for creating are directly linked to the object created. Words do mean things and this interpretation of them is, I would humbly suggest, misguided.
posted by Dick Paris at 4:54 AM on November 25, 2003


I swear, if I hear the word "blogging" ONE more time I'm going to snap....
posted by oissubke at 5:37 AM on November 25, 2003


Hmmm ... I seem to be disagreeing with kindall on both political issues and the potential value of these home-made signs. Nevertheless, I think he's being much more reasonable, polite and articulate in expressing his views than most of the people he's arguing with in this thread.

specialk420 - As kindall suggests, you aren't likely to convince people of your viewpoint by implying that anyone who doesn't already see and agree with your point is a fool or uneducated (below the 6th grade level). As he further suggests, if you aren't trying to convince the people who don't already agree with your point, you are indeed "preaching to the choir".

kindall - If you're still reading this, let me know if the following points seem a little more worthy of consideration.

"even if it was the only sign the viewer saw that day that wasn't made by a corporation -- so what? What's the point?" - I'm going to go with Space Coyote's translation of "This is the only message you will see that is not trying to get you to buy something". There's nothing wrong with commercial speech, but there's perhaps a valid point to be considered about our absolute saturation in it. Of course, if the sign maker did intend that message rather than "corporations are bad, mmkay?", perhaps some different wording might have been ideal, so your request for clarification is valid.

As far as the effectiveness of the anti-war/Bush advertising vs. that of professional bill board advertising, I think you might be making the wrong comparison. Every year around election time, I see all those stupid signs go up in people's yards: "So-and-so for judge/mayor/senator/etc." I always think, how moronic, who would decide their vote based on who they saw the most signs in a yard for? Nevertheless, the political parties spend a fair amount of time & money getting those signs out there. Assume for a moment that I'm wrong and the politicos are right and those signs do help their causes somehow. Their effectiveness can't be due to slick Madison avenue image manipulation - the signs are usually boring & ugly as hell. If they are effective, I think it's because they don't appear to be professional ad campaigns. They appear to be your neighbors expressing their opinions. A large part of the population seems to be ruled at least partly by the sheep effect. They absorb much of their opinions based on their perception of what the rest of the population thinks. Of course, the rest of the population is wildly diverse and contradictory. Therefore, if some segment of the population can increase the visibility of their opinions, then those opinions may appear to be more widespread, and will draw in more of those who follow the crowd. At least the home-made highway signs are less boring & more witty than the usual political banner.

"The most you can ever expect from the middle when you're arguing from a position so distanced from the mainstream is to maybe get people to go 'That's an interesting point, I hadn't thought of it that way.'"

Actually, the anti-Bush/war sentiments aren't that far removed from the mainstream. The country seems to be dividing into hate-Bush/love-Bush camps without as much middle ground to fight for as there might have been in past years. I myself used to be much more of a middle-ground person, but our president has pushed me into the hate-Bush camp.

Nevertheless, your point is a good one. The ideal would be to reach out to the thoughtful person who isn't already in your camp to engage their consideration. That ideal is a tough one to manage, though. Humor is a good tool (especially in limited space like a highway sign), but it's too easy to come up with stuff that's only amusing to those who already agree with you. That's why a master comedian can sometimes make you see the same world through new eyes. I give credit for these sign-makers for at least trying, but if they were really ambitious, they'd get someone who disagrees with them to review their material. If someone from the other side says "now that's funny," they'd have some winning verbal ammunition.
posted by tdismukes at 7:59 AM on November 25, 2003


I'm going to go with Space Coyote's translation of "This is the only message you will see that is not trying to get you to buy something"

It's trying to get you to buy into an idea -- or really, a whole worldview. But your point is taken, especially after my recent Las Vegas trip. Now that's oversaturation.

Actually, the anti-Bush/war sentiments aren't that far removed from the mainstream.

There's "I won't vote for Bush again because I think he's mishandled things (the war, the economy, or whatever)" and then there's "Bush is evil incarnate and must be destroyed." Although there is some similarity, I think that to the extent that the general public dislikes Bush, they do not actually wish him, say, physical harm, as do the protesters who burned him in effigy in London last week. I'd certainly like to think there's a vast gulf between these two points of view.

Life must be so hard if simply seeing something you don't already agree with "pisses you off" so much.

Yeah, and I guess that's what the hard left considers a victory these days, isn't it? Pissing people off. The philosophy seems to be "If they're angry, I must be doing something right." Which is just idiotic for so many reasons.

And it's not particularly the message that pisses me off, it's the smugness. It's the lowering of political discourse to the level of a college prank. It's the sheer incompetence of the effort to reach people.

I guess I am officially old now.

I swear, if I hear the word "blogging" ONE more time I'm going to snap....

Hm, yeah, that's the ticket. That must be what happened to me!
posted by kindall at 9:42 AM on November 25, 2003


It's trying to get you to buy into an idea... Hmm, I guess you could say that about most kinds of discourse. I still think there's some sort of useful distinction to be made between commercial speech and political speech, but I'd probably have to do some careful thinking to accurately articulate the importance of the distinction. As you say, though, if you've seen Las Vegas you do understand oversaturation of commercial communication.

There's "I won't vote for Bush again because I think he's mishandled things (the war, the economy, or whatever)" and then there's "Bush is evil incarnate and must be destroyed."

True, the second opinion is a much more extreme viewpoint which won't likely resonate with the average joe. The signs in the linked post, however, seemed perfectly consistent with the first opinion. If you are identifying these sign-creators with the people burning Bush in effigy, then I understand how you might see them as extreme radicals.

I guess I am officially old now. Nope. Maintaining a consistent preference for coherent discussion over sloganeering pretty much makes you a minority in any generation (and any political group).
posted by tdismukes at 11:15 AM on November 25, 2003


Kindall: Considering your political viewpoint, you're not in position to judge whether these messages are effective. I know how I'd react to drive past one -- it would be heartening to see someone else voice my concerns about this disastrous war, reinforce my beliefs, and get much more attention because of its lack of professional presentation.

If you ever take to the streets with your own highwayblog, I think two of your comments would demonstrate your position nicely:

"Most people work for corporations and get everything they need from corporations"

"You have to be reasonable"
posted by rcade at 2:01 PM on November 25, 2003


rcade - you bring up a valid justification for "preaching to the choir" that kindall & I both neglected, i.e. encouraging those within your belief-group who may be feeling dispirited by the perception that they are out-numbered in the population as a whole. Of course, this should be balanced against the concern that most belief-groups these days are doing only that, rather than trying to reach any sort of dialog with those who hold a different world-view.

"You have to be reasonable" - Hey, I want that for my highway blog!
posted by tdismukes at 2:16 PM on November 25, 2003


I second kindall being reasonable. And putting forth good arguements. I *heart* metafilter.
posted by zpousman at 7:51 PM on November 25, 2003


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