Bumper Sticker Logic

by Anthony Weber

bumper sticker logicWhile driving through town today, I pulled up behind a car sporting the following bumper sticker: "My sh**** attitude is none of your f****** business." Except there were no asterisks, and now it was my business.  In fact, it was the business of everybody who pulled up behind that particular car.  It immediately became my business because it’s the kind of publicly displayed message that makes my 12-year-old look away with embarrassment as he reads it, and makes me hope my 6-year-old in the back seat doesn’t use that sentence to work on his phonics.

My initial annoyance at the lack of social grace was momentary, but I became increasingly bothered by the bad thinking.  The bumper sticker makes no sense. The slogan is just a condensed way of saying, "I am going to make you pay attention to something that is none of your business, and then get angry and swear at you because you don’t ignore my passive aggressive obnoxiousness."

I am convinced we have become a society that ponders serious issues without much more than bumper sticker depth.  Since then, I have thought of a few more commonly used"bumper sticker slogans" that don’t make sense. It’s a short list; feel free to add more.

"What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."  This one tops my list, because so many other equally foolish statements find confirmation here.  Does this mean the expense tabs, the debt, the compromises of morality, the memories, and the hotel towels all actually, truly stay there?  The Hangover was a morally bankrupt movie, but even Hollywood had the decency to show a little bit of a ripple effect. 

The Vegas slogan is a brilliant ad campaign – who wouldn’t want a free pass on anything they do for a couple days? The problem is, it’s just not true. What would happen if a plaintiff said to the judge, "You know, what happened in my car while I was driving drunk should stay in the car."  Or if a skydiver kept muttering, "What happens in the air stays in the air."  Uh, no.  What happens anywhere happens in real life; it matters. There are no free passes…

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