Roadside vernacular
October 30, 2008 12:10 PM   Subscribe

The phenomenon of homemade roadside signage for Obama is not much in evidence on the other side. See also Obama signage and other art at The Obama Art Report, and many individual homemade Obama signs. Neither campaign is, shall we say, overly happy with renegade signage, however.
posted by beagle (40 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Huh...I was driving up the coast recently and, while in a particularly rural area, noticed what appeared to be a large, homemade McCain sign...but then I saw several more over the next 50 miles or so with the exact same design. Astroturfing?
posted by anazgnos at 12:23 PM on October 30, 2008

It's seems like they're more unhappy in regards to homemade signage just with the TV appearences and rallys. Which is understandable nobody wants the guy on tv with the sign of "McCain = hitler" or "obaMARX!" They didn't say much in regards to the homemade road sign stuff.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 12:23 PM on October 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

This one.
posted by milkrate at 12:23 PM on October 30, 2008 [3 favorites]

And this one
posted by milkrate at 12:25 PM on October 30, 2008

I actually saw a van driving up and down one of the main thoroughfares here covered with anti-Obama signs and a bunch of McCain-Palin bumper stickers. The hand-lettered signs proclaimed Obama is a socialist who would move Reverend Wright into the White house or some such nonsense--they were so poorly lettered as to be nearly illegible. I presume they were made by the scowling old man driving the van, but if so, he could use some pointers in handwriting from the kids in the FPP, who did much better work. All in all it fit the overall tone and intellectual quality of the discourse coming from the McCain camp. I thought about taking a picture but was too busy driving.
posted by TedW at 12:28 PM on October 30, 2008

Well for me I can't figure out where to get signs for a particular issue, and the one Obama office is a fairly good distance from me. It seems logical that there are others in this position so making your own sounds like a fantastic idea. I can get posterboard from many stores.

Might I suggest if you are going to make your own, you give a little fundage to the campaign in question. That would balance things out ethically for me.
posted by Big_B at 12:30 PM on October 30, 2008

... not much in evidence on the other side.

On at least two separate news stories it was indicated that the McCain campaign event staff pre-print "hand-made" signs and distribute them to the crowd.

One story seemed to hint that the signs were actually machine-printed but designed to appear hand-painted, while the other story did not indicate either way.
posted by odinsdream at 12:35 PM on October 30, 2008

My favorite handmade sign was in VA and said "We are voting for THAT ONE!" in bright letters. That and other signs in the yard looked like they were made by a very excited kid with an artistic streak.
posted by Tehanu at 12:35 PM on October 30, 2008

I thought for sure this would be included
posted by jpdoane at 12:37 PM on October 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Speaking of campaign signs...

McCain/Palin Sign Sends Shocking Message
posted by marxchivist at 12:37 PM on October 30, 2008

Driving through southern Virginia last week NortonDC and I saw a whole bunch of "I'm voting for the CHICK" signs, which I took to be a reference to Palin, although I suppose there might be some candidate out there with the last name of Chick.

In our Northern Virginia suburbs and surrounding areas, we regularly see a whole bunch of homemade signs. NortonDC said he saw one today that appeared to light up! I've considered making a homemade bumper sticker because I gave money to the campaign and never received my promised bumper magnet. (We met someone in Asheville NC who had the same problem and said the campaign was running low on merchandise and not able to send stickers and magnets to everyone it was supposed to.) *sigh*
posted by onlyconnect at 12:42 PM on October 30, 2008

Big B, on a similar note, I made a "That One '08" bumper sticker on cafepress, charged $1 commission, and donated the proceeds ($653 so far) to the campaign. They have customizable signs, too, though I'm guessing you wouldn't get it before Tuesday.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:43 PM on October 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

History of the "I'm voting for the chick" signs -- they are indeed signs for McCain/Palin.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:48 PM on October 30, 2008

I was driving down the block last week and saw a sign that looked like it was painted by a child, with big stars on it, that just said "VOTE U.S.A." I thought, hey, that's cool, some kid just wants people to get out and vote. Of course, then I got closer and saw the similarly-lettered "McCain / Palin" sign next to it, but hey, VOTE, U.S.A.!
posted by uncleozzy at 12:59 PM on October 30, 2008

"Princesses for Obama"! Awesome!
posted by soundofsuburbia at 1:00 PM on October 30, 2008

not much in evidence on the other side
I probably should have added, "where I live," which is New England. I'll take everyone's word for it that somewhere in the lands of the many-shades-of-beige-and-tan subdivisions west of the Hudson there's McCain folk art, too.
posted by beagle at 1:01 PM on October 30, 2008

odinstream, I can confirm that the Obama campaign makes signs at local campaign offices to hand out for rallies too. They're all made by volunteers and distributed to those in the crowd that will be within camera shots.
posted by chiababe at 1:02 PM on October 30, 2008

Yeah, here in the far Chicago suburbs (just on the very edge of corn country) I see hand-lettered McCain/Palin signs. None of the homebrew stuff for the Obama camp.

If only I could blot the huge-ass volkswagon-sized "OBERWEIS" signs out, the world would be a better place...
posted by verb at 1:07 PM on October 30, 2008

While this is, strictly speaking, an Obama sign, it's none too positive.

Maybe, just maybe, people who are voting for Obama have a lot of emotions tied to the election. Change, progress, hope, etc. While the McCain = Bush debate has gone on well enough, he's a lot more like Bush than Obama. Maybe those voting for McCain are just voting, while those voting for Obama see themselves as part of a move forwards.

In other words, McCain is nothing to get excited about. Why make signs? Oh right, there's a lady running with him.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:09 PM on October 30, 2008

Some of the more recent Artists for Obama posters featured on his site:

Thing 1
Thing 2
posted by inconsequentialist at 1:19 PM on October 30, 2008

At the corner of Bush Street and Lyon (I think) in San Francisco, someone has craftily renamed Bush Street to Obama Street using the same font.

I'll take a picture when I'm out there next Tuesday.

Much better than burning McCain and hanging Sarah Palin in effigy. Yikes.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:20 PM on October 30, 2008

If you want to buy those prints, they are $60 on Obama's website. I have wanted the Fairey "HOPE" print for a long time now, but it has been sold out and was very expensive anyway. However, when I stopped by the Obama table on campus this past Monday, they were giving away free prints of the poster. Now I have it proudly hanging in my living room. Obama Art '08!
posted by inconsequentialist at 1:24 PM on October 30, 2008

Here in western MA, it's hard to even get an official Obama sign -- he won the state the second he was nominated, so the campaign isn't exactly pouring resources in. Instead, they are encouraging people to make their own.
posted by Camofrog at 1:31 PM on October 30, 2008

It's hard enough to get official signs - the Obama Houston HQ office was out of everything but buttons, stickers, and tshirts, so the wife and I were going to make our own until we found that the Harris County Democratic Party had printed up some Obama/Biden signs. All the signs for the other democratic candidates were free, but they were asking for a $5/sign donation for the Obama ones.

I bought four of them (expecting vandalism) but the one in my yard for a week now is still untouched.
posted by mrbill at 1:55 PM on October 30, 2008

I first noticed this sign in my neighborhood about six weeks ago. You might not be able to tell from the picture, but it's completely hand-knitted. When it first went up as a tree sweater it was even more awesome, but harder to read; I'm not exactly sure why it made the transition to the fence.
posted by kyleg at 2:05 PM on October 30, 2008

Might I suggest if you are going to make your own, you give a little fundage to the campaign in question. That would balance things out ethically for me.- Big_B


There's something unethical about homemade political signs?
posted by Atreides at 2:26 PM on October 30, 2008

I made a custom McCain/Palin sign.

[self-link to flickr]
posted by clearly at 2:32 PM on October 30, 2008

There are a bunch of really great hand-made Obama signs in Espanola, NM, including a huge "Obamanos" mural on the campaign office downtown, "OBAMANOS" painted on a huge canvas sign a few blocks away (sorry no photo), and several smaller murals and homemade signs. The preponderance of handmade signs is partly because the local Dems didn't have any yard signs ready to give away.

There's a funny story about that last sign -- the date on it looks odd because it originally said "To a great victory Nov. 8". I noticed the mistake on my way to work the morning they put it up, but someone must have pointed it out quick, because by the time I came home they had already scribbled it out and put "Nov 4"!
posted by vorfeed at 2:34 PM on October 30, 2008


There's something unethical about homemade political signs?

I mistakenly took the post and one of the links to infer that they were not supported by the official campaigns due to being non-official er some such reason or that the campaigns do make a little money from selling the signs, so there was a sort of ethical question in my mind. But as noted here the campaigns are making signs and giving them away, so I was mistaken. That and the quality in some of these is really good, so more power to the artists.
posted by Big_B at 2:57 PM on October 30, 2008

I really like this Voted Early one. Another nice print. This gigantic homemade one on this guy's field is awesome. And I think this one is beautiful.
posted by dog food sugar at 3:18 PM on October 30, 2008

Oh, yeah, I made one modeled on McCain's logo, too. None of those have sold--perhaps too obscure?
posted by MrMoonPie at 4:36 PM on October 30, 2008

In general, it seems like people with graphic design talents or musical ones (thinking of all the Obama songs) are in the tank.
posted by drezdn at 5:13 PM on October 30, 2008

From the "overly happy" link:

But campaign staff members wouldn’t allow the civic-minded crafts onto the University of Colorado field where Obama delivered her speech.

Maybe the "voting for the chick" signs were talking about Obama....
posted by JHarris at 5:26 PM on October 30, 2008

Wait, dammit, Michelle was speaking. Harumph harumph.
posted by JHarris at 5:27 PM on October 30, 2008

Coolest one in our town: a round window on the 4th and top floor of a condo. The owner took white sticky-vinyl and created the "O" flag logo in the looks great at night!

Also, tonight at our campaign office, someone carved "HOPE" into a jack'o'lantern with the logo "O" as part of the word...and a little candle inside, of course. I need to get a pic of that.
posted by Miko at 9:01 PM on October 30, 2008

In Charleston recently I was wandering around loving all the amazing architecture in various neighborhoods. One morning, in front of a gorgeous three-story house on Thomas Street that dates to 1832, I read in this book that Robert Rhett, who was known as "the Father of Secession," made that house his home in 1856.

I turned the corner, and there in a window on the second floor was an Obama poster.

I laughed.
posted by mediareport at 9:34 PM on October 30, 2008 [3 favorites]

voting for the chick: Groannn. Andrea Oakes would be connected to that! Empty-headed abstinence-preaching idolization-of-Momhood ignore-the-other-issues politics of personality grumble grumble.

Her daughters are real sweet, though. I taught them at Vacation Bible School.

/small-town politics
posted by hippugeek at 10:06 PM on October 30, 2008

Belatedly, I found this Obama & McCain Vote 08 corn maize in Tennessee.
posted by beagle at 8:03 AM on October 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

If I have to look at the OBAMA SUPPORTS ABORTION WE DON'T sign on my drive home one more second, so help me...

Every day I yell "So don't have one, idiot!" at it.
posted by at 1:04 PM on October 31, 2008

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