bumper stickers
April 26, 2005 4:40 AM   Subscribe

What is on your bumper? Are bumper stickers a relic of the past? Are they more/less prevalent by region/country?
posted by robbyrobs (72 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My bumper stickers are on my windows. School/fraternity/political affiliations. (I'm in Texas, FWIW).
posted by Doohickie at 4:45 AM on April 26, 2005

Bumper stickers are alive and well in Austin, TX.
posted by melt away at 4:47 AM on April 26, 2005

And I want one of the "Fat people are harder to kidnap" bumper stickers for my helmet.
posted by jperkins at 5:02 AM on April 26, 2005

I think those magnetic ribbons have taken over. I like those better than bumper stickers - not that I would put one on my car, but rather because I can easily picture black market trading of magnets stolen off of cars on ebay. A vicious, unending circle of steal, sell, slap on your bumper only to have it stolen again. The free market at work!
posted by johnjreiser at 5:07 AM on April 26, 2005

These people have evidently never been to Florida. Down here we still have our magnetic ribbons, NASCAR numbers, Calvin Peeing on (something), Calvin Praying, Confederate Flags, W'04 ovals, Kerry-Edwards, My Kid is a (fill in blank) at (school), and other sundry crap on the bumpers and windows of our cars.

Wow. I got depressed just typing this.
posted by willmize at 5:18 AM on April 26, 2005

My friends think the sticker was custom-made just for me...
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:18 AM on April 26, 2005

Here's what I remember most about Austin bumper stickers. Most of the cut-ups I saw were from Waterloo Records.
posted by hue at 5:31 AM on April 26, 2005

My mom lives in Sacramento, so I'll have to ask her if she's also noticed a decline, or if this is yet another "my anecdotal observation must be a social trend" piece. Here in Madison, the trend is upward, if anything. People put stickers on everything, bumpers included, and never take them off. Just yesterday I saw two separate 2000 election stickers.
posted by aaronetc at 5:40 AM on April 26, 2005

"Technically, you'd only need one time traveler convention."

Courtesy of Cat and Girl.
posted by A dead Quaker at 5:42 AM on April 26, 2005

We could slap on a bumper sticker when we drove cars that cost $1,900 new...

Now that we drive cars that cost $19,000 new, we think differently about them.. (although I do have a classic Apple Computer rainbow apple sticker in the window of every car I own!)

This wasn't that hard to figure out... it didn't rate an article in the paper.
posted by HuronBob at 5:49 AM on April 26, 2005

"Dejad a los toros en paz"
posted by TonyRobots at 5:53 AM on April 26, 2005

A girl I had a fling with in college had a rusted out old Dodge Dart...her bumper sticker, which was stuck on the back of the trunk, because the bumper was so rusty, read:

Please don't laugh at my car.

I did, though.
posted by 1016 at 5:58 AM on April 26, 2005

I've got a green bumpersticker on my van. (It says "say ya to da UP, eh?") We use it to find the van in the parking lot -- there are lots of red minivans in the area. I've also got a MTU sticker in the window.

I see more bumperstickers now than I did when I was growing up.
posted by jlkr at 6:01 AM on April 26, 2005

I think a big reason is the transition from chrome to vinyl bumpers/fenders. You stick something on a chrome bumper, you know can pretty easily scrape it off when you're bored of it or it gets too raggedy. On the new vinyl bumpers, you just do it once before you realize that you're committing to a rectangle of adhesive residue as a permanent part of your car.
posted by LairBob at 6:04 AM on April 26, 2005

I disagree with the notion that bumperstickers are on the decline...
posted by jpburns at 6:26 AM on April 26, 2005

My theory about bumperstickers is exactly the same as my theory about cats. If you have one, you're fine. Two? Still okay. Three? Entering Danger Zone!

I used to have a sticker that said "Creative People Must Be Stopped" until the magnitude of the task became too overwhelming. Now I have "EVOLVE" but it's just not happening fast enough.

So I'm considering this one because Dinosaur Comics reminds me of MetaFilter.

Worrying about sticker residue is so silly when you think about the likelihood that your bumper will get smashed by a runaway chicken truck before you get a chance to resell the car. I mean, really.
posted by naomi at 6:28 AM on April 26, 2005

"Over the past decade, stickers have declined as a percentage of all promotional trinkets. They’ve been replaced by things like hats, shirts and jackets, according to Promotional Products Association International, a trade group that encourages such material. ?" in this here article

It's an interesting question: what is the overall trend with bumper stickers? The promotional association's impression may be a reflection of the fact that it's easier to get custom printing done that doesn't go through their members. So their numbers could be down, but not really reflect a trend.

Another good example of the plural of annecdote not being "data".
posted by warbaby at 6:36 AM on April 26, 2005

I once had a bumper sticker ("my other car is a piece of shit, too") that existed only to keep water out of a hole that had rusted through my trunk.

Having never owned a new car, or indeed a car valued at even $5,000, I sticker with abandon.
I like stickers. I've actually made friends by commenting on their/ having them comment on my bumper stickers.
posted by Kellydamnit at 6:44 AM on April 26, 2005

I have a Darwin Fish on my car.
posted by mike3k at 6:47 AM on April 26, 2005

These people have evidently never been to Florida.

As a Florida resident (ug) this made me laugh. So true.

I avoid bumper stickers on my car because I'd like to keep it from getting keyed.

Funniest set of bumper stickers I've ever seen, spotted in a Wal-Mart parking lot: One reading "A woman's place is in control", alongside a Bush Cheney 04 sticker. Priceless.
posted by kableh at 6:55 AM on April 26, 2005

and a Ben & Jerry's sticker for the missus.
posted by furtive at 6:56 AM on April 26, 2005

Odinsdream: Nice! Where did you find that?
posted by jperkins at 6:57 AM on April 26, 2005

I just stumbled across an article that pointed out how some people put those "I support our troops" (like there are competing "I love terrorists" magnets out there...) sideways as a covert form of Jesus-fish symbol.

Which made me laugh, because my sister thought that the Jesus-fish was an Alcoholics Anonymous symbol that meant "I used to drink like a fish."

True story.

When I explained the Christian history of it, she immediately went out and got a Darwin-fish.
posted by warbaby at 7:05 AM on April 26, 2005

"Celebrate Monotony"
posted by Etaoin Shrdlu at 7:22 AM on April 26, 2005

I believe I would win the "relic" contest hands down. I saved a "Gene McCarthy" daisy bumpersticker from my high school activist days, and stuck it on my truck last year. (This would be a 38-yr. old bumpersticker, if anybody's counting.)
posted by kozad at 7:58 AM on April 26, 2005

Made it myself:

posted by tippiedog at 8:02 AM on April 26, 2005

I hate myself.
posted by prak at 8:40 AM on April 26, 2005

I think aaronetc is on the right track: this is a "my anecdotal observation must be a social trend" piece. Besides, the real trend is the magnetic ribbons- a Mynock-ian plague on the vehicles of America. As Bill Maher said about American flag stickers, they're literally the least you can do to support our troops.
My custom-made bumper sticker says DON'T BLAME ME / I VOTED FOR KODOS...
posted by Lord Kinbote at 8:40 AM on April 26, 2005

Made this myself too:

Currently on the back of my car, along with a moe. sticker.
posted by wakko at 8:43 AM on April 26, 2005

one day I'd like to stop someone with a yellow magnetic ribbon on their car and ask them what exactly, besides putting a magnetic yellow ribbon on their car, are they doing to give support to the troops? althought they'd probably say, "praying" or something like that.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:52 AM on April 26, 2005

also, someone make me a sticker of calvin praying in front of a cross that hobbes is crucified on!
posted by mcsweetie at 8:53 AM on April 26, 2005

I hate hate hate hate bumper stickers on my cars. Unfortunately, my newest car, which I just got, came prestickered. We managed to get the big SC logo and all the other window crap off. However, we still have partial "I Saw Aliens at Area 51" and "I Got The Blues At Harry's In Berkeley" stickers clinging to life and my bumper. We tried the old hair dryer and credit card trick and some kind of sticker remover but neither did the job. I have a '96 Saturn SL2 with a painted bumper, if anyone has any sure-fire sticker removal tricks they'd like to share. E-mail is in profile. Oh - we got the car from friends who recently moved from Florida to California, if that is any indication of bumper sticker demographics.
posted by Lynsey at 9:19 AM on April 26, 2005

I have just one, in patriotic red, white, and blue: "Freedom means choice." Some people think it's merely abortion-related, but in my opinion it covers far more territory than that.
posted by johnnyace at 9:31 AM on April 26, 2005

In the mixed messages department, I saw the "Live simply so that others may simply live" one the other day. A lovely sentiment, but somewhat confused since it was on a BMW 5 series.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:45 AM on April 26, 2005

Here in SF/CA, there's no shortage of bumper stickers (usually found on withering Volvos/VWs)...

[Visualize whirled peas]
[Praise Goddess]
[My other car is a broom]
[Subvert the dominant paradigm]
[BACK OFF - I'm A Goddess]
[Question Reality]
[A Woman Without a Man is Like a Fish Without a Bicycle]
[Practice Random Kindness And senseless Acts Of Beauty]

I'll admit that I'm as much an artist/vegetarian/liberal/atheist as the next Friscan, but I also have to admit that seeing most of these makes me want to break things... Go figure.
posted by numlok at 10:09 AM on April 26, 2005

[Republicans for Voldemort] (on my VW van)
posted by bricoleur at 10:33 AM on April 26, 2005

posted by AlexReynolds at 10:38 AM on April 26, 2005

My Madison friends had some yellow magnetic ribbons made that say, "SUPPORT THE MAGNETIC RIBBON INDUSTRY." Made me laugh.
posted by UKnowForKids at 10:38 AM on April 26, 2005

jlkr -- you're a Tech alum I assume? I keep meaning to get one of those MTU ovals when I'm up there (I'm from Calumet originally, so I get back fairly often) and it always slips my mind.
posted by aaronetc at 10:55 AM on April 26, 2005

AlexReynolds: what's the top one? Am I missing something obvious, again?
posted by jperkins at 11:21 AM on April 26, 2005

jperkins, it is the logo of the HRC.
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:35 AM on April 26, 2005

Anyone know of any good surreal bumper stickers? Or have any suggestions for text that could go on one? I've wanted an utterly surreal bumper sticker for some time--nothing that overtly, or even covertly, alludes to some political message (or any other type of message) commonly seen on bumper stickers. I just want to inject a bit more surrealism into the world, and possibly confuse people who insist on making sense out of things.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:39 AM on April 26, 2005

I've got a dead head sticker on my caddy.

/Not kidding
posted by haqspan at 11:59 AM on April 26, 2005

DevilsAdvocate: How about one with just the word "bumper" on it?
Or perhaps, "My other bumper sticker is really clever"?
posted by numlok at 12:22 PM on April 26, 2005

Or for some true surrealism: "Ceci n'est pas une autocollant"
posted by numlok at 12:27 PM on April 26, 2005

I'd like one that says. "I'm following you from a safe distance of 24900 miles"
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:33 PM on April 26, 2005

numlok: You left out the ever-present Mystery Spot bumper sticker.
posted by 27 at 12:38 PM on April 26, 2005

I have multiple stickers (added more as the car gets older and older). My all-time favorite--in fact, I had one on my previous car and bought another for this one--is

THERE'S NO HOPE but maybe I'm wrong

I also like this one:

I don't know and you don't either

I've never gotten anything but chuckles and a few approving comments in a drive-thru--but then again (as I seem to invoke every time), I live in Connecticut and am not likely to attract much assholery.
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:00 PM on April 26, 2005

I don't see many stickers here in BC. California, Washington and Texas had lots. The only bumper sticker I have is one that says "Read a Fucking Book" but it's on my computer.
posted by deborah at 1:02 PM on April 26, 2005

DevilsAdvocate: How about one with just the word "bumper" on it?
Or perhaps, "My other bumper sticker is really clever"?

Well, the meaning of those is pretty obvious--they don't really generate the confusion I'm looking for.

Ceci n'est pas une autocollant

That's getting closer, but I don't really want anything that could be construed as a reference to anything moderately well-known.

"Make a little birdhouse in your soul" would be just the kind of thing I'm looking for, if it weren't already used as the title/main lyric in a song.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:16 PM on April 26, 2005

They taste great
posted by gummo at 1:19 PM on April 26, 2005

Along the lines of odinsdream's sticker, there is always fthepres.com.
posted by yoga at 1:22 PM on April 26, 2005

And all the rest on this page.
posted by 235w103 at 1:34 PM on April 26, 2005

Chuck D for President
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:45 PM on April 26, 2005

posted by basilwhite at 1:59 PM on April 26, 2005

Self posts...

posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:16 PM on April 26, 2005

DevilsAdvocate: Hmmm... Yes, yes, a bit obvious.
Well, still a bit obvious, but I've always gotten a little chuckle coupled with a sense of bewilderment out of many spam subjects. Some current ones (still in my trash bin):
[This is the future]
[What's up, then?]
[WOW, got laid 3 times this week]
[Remember the old days?]
Funny how the first and last kind of work together.
Anyhow, someone else seems to have capitalized on the absurdity already: SpamShirts (although I don't see any bumper stickers).
One that just said "No Subject" might be nice (if not a bit obvious again).
You might also try culling a snippet from some Word Salad.
Ps. I love me some TMBG!
posted by numlok at 2:29 PM on April 26, 2005

From Word Salad ^^^
This is probably appropriate for what you want.

posted by gummo at 3:18 PM on April 26, 2005

Sushi fish on tailgate of station wagon, license plate frame instead of bumper sticker. "Enjoy life, ride a tandem."
posted by fixedgear at 3:32 PM on April 26, 2005

National Waffle Association
posted by warbaby at 4:00 PM on April 26, 2005

I want to make a magnet that instead of a yellow ribbon is a yellow bra that reads "support our boobs". Would that sell?
posted by dov3 at 4:15 PM on April 26, 2005

I've never gotten around to printing up some of
"Question Bumper Sticker Mentality" or
"I'd Rather Be Driving"
Someday. Yeah. Someday.
posted by micropublishery at 5:40 PM on April 26, 2005

I win! I win!

I have an old KENNEDY/JOHNSON sticker on my car that I found in a box of donated books at my library.

I believe that's 45 years.
posted by exceptinsects at 7:26 PM on April 26, 2005

I have an IU window cling on my back window, a Jaycees sticker on one side window and an IU alumni association sticker on the other side window.

My English teacher freshman year of high school had bumper stickers covering almost every possible surface in her classroom. Not the walls, but the cabinet, the desk, the bulletin board, all around the blackboard, you name it.
posted by SisterHavana at 7:47 PM on April 26, 2005

I've been meaning to get one of these for about 30 years now:

[Kill Your Television]

I also like:

[I'm not as think as you stoned I am]
posted by GoatCactus at 7:51 PM on April 26, 2005

My one and only bumper sticker says "Hi! I'm the Dread Pirate Roberts #72377. Ask about franchise opportunities in your area!" But I might have to go buy that Cat and Girl "My other car is a Thomas Pynchon novel" one now...
posted by Tesseractive at 9:14 PM on April 26, 2005

[My other car is a '87 Chevy Celebrity]
posted by tommunation at 10:06 PM on April 26, 2005

I could never find just the right ones so i had to make some

On my bike:
Don't blame me, i voted Kodos

On my car:
Masshole school of driving

I don't know if the cafepress links will work but if you want one email me and i'll send you the original image.
posted by NGnerd at 10:17 PM on April 26, 2005

Back in 1968, I found that you could take three "Nixon's the One" bumperstickers and create one "Nixon Shits!". Though that statement was factually true, it got me many bird flips even in Massachusetts.

My favorite bumper sticker was one I ordered from the classifieds in the New Republic. It said "Reunite Gondwanaland". Inscrutible to 98% of the population, and hilarious to a small part of the remainder.
posted by Bernardo at 7:42 AM on April 27, 2005

posted by Danf at 2:35 PM on April 27, 2005

Sourcing-USA. Reliable, talented, professional people.
posted by Sourcing-USA at 8:39 AM on April 30, 2005

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