Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bumper Sticker Bitchin'

I'm not much of a bumper sticker guy. That's mostly because the vast majority of bumper stickers either fall into the "Who cares?", the "That's stupid" or the "That type's way too small for me to read while I'm driving" camp. On the rare occasion that I see a clever bumper sticker, I think, that's clever. Then I go back to paying attention to the road, because the "I was reading a bumper sticker" defense doesn't work with the poh-lice.

Yesterday, while driving home from work, I saw one on the back of a car that made me think.

"FUCK WAR"

No, it didn't make me think about war, or about my stance on war, or about whether I wanted to fuck war or not.

It made me think about how I felt seeing that on the back of a car. Whether I thought it was an appropriate place for something with the word "FUCK" so prominently displayed. I spent the rest of my drive in a battle with myself.

The parent me thought, I appreciate the sentiment, but I'd really rather you showed some class and considered the amount of children who will see that on a daily basis. George Bush isn't going to see it. Sure, some of the pro-war crowd will see it, and look into your Jetta and see you, edgy 20-something girl with a cigarette, and think, fuck you, slacker, and then continue to be pro-war. But a lot of kids are going to see it, too. Little kids. So show some class.

The rebellious me, however, thought, if that's the way you feel, tell everyone. Seeing the word "fuck" isn't going to traumatize a child. It might actually spark a conversation between parent and child. A healthy conversation about language and freedom of speech and individuality.

I'm still being pulled in both directions.

How do you feel about it?

31 comments:

Pillock said...

It's not biggie. You swear. I swear. Kids swear. What's weird about swearig is this: the main swearing taboo is against cross-generational swearing. Kid's mustn't swear in front of adults. Adults mustn't swear in front of kids. Weird eh? You also shouldn't swear in a bank.

I saw a bumper-sticker last time I was in America: "When Jesus said, 'love your enemies,' I'm pretty sure he meant don't kill them." I love it. The religious left exists!

Jodie K said...

I fucking love it.

Me punk brother had a bumper sticker that read "Fuck milk. Drink Beer" and someone actually Sharpie-marked over the "Fuck". Odd though, they left the "Beer".

Jodie K said...

Man, I just noticed you got a crap load of new bits on your page.

Mamma said...

I think I feel the same way you do--now that you've laid out the arguments.

Honestly, it probably wouldn't have registered it. I think dead people are far more shocking than a four letter word.

Emma said...

I don't have a problem with it. Or swearing in general. They're just words. Why are some words better than others?

And I don't watch my language in front of children. If there are words parents don't want their children to say, they need to teach their children not to say those words... not have a hissy fit when someone else says them.

Jeff said...

"I just noticed you got a crap load of new bits on your page."

Yeah, I'm pimpin' my ride.

Thomas Brock said...

It doesn't bother me, but that's because I'm not afraid of explaining what it means to my daughter. I think she's smart enough to understand the sentiment and certainly knows better than to use inappropriate language.

Would I put it on my car? Certainly not. Would I interfere with someone else's display? Again, certainly not.

Mark said...

It is a question of class and not much else. I think I'd rather my kid saw the word "fuck" than the word "kill", just as I would rather they saw a tit in a movie than someone being killed.

Another thought:

Is the opposite of anti-war really necessarily pro-war?

Is it not conceivable that those of us who are not absolute pacifists are actually relative pacifists, and not pro-war at all?

Sour Grapes said...

I'm with mamma. We're talking about war. Tens of thousands of people being killed. If people are not outraged by that, they have no right to be outraged by the word "fuck". That's just totally ass-backward.

PJ said...

I don't give a fuck.

Did I just write that?

Well fuck, my child could be reading this.

[g]

Jeff said...

"If people are not outraged by that, they have no right to be outraged by the word "fuck". "

What if you are outraged by that? Then do you have the right to be outraged by the word "fuck"? Or do you just not have the right to be outraged by the word "fuck" at all?

Or what if -- more in line with the essence of my post -- you're not outraged, but just thinking, hmm, wish my five year old wasn't staring at that right now? That's all I was saying. Not that the person shouldn't be able to do it. Not that it's going to scar my kids. Just that I had a moment of thinking, if I had a child old enough to read but not yet at the age that s/he's saying "fuck" when I'm not around, I don't think I'd want my kid to see that. That's all.

So fuck all y'all!!!!

Ole Blue The Heretic said...

Many courts are now declaring that the word Fuck is part of the English language and not seen as vulgar any longer.

I would not want the word Fuck coming out of my nephews mouths, I would make them read a dictionary because it is low grade language.

Fuck or fucking is a lot nicer than kill or kill them.

I think it all rolls down to class or being uncouth.

Mark said...

"Many courts are now declaring that the word Fuck is part of the English language and not seen as vulgar any longer."

So far as I know, "fuck" is protected by the First Amendment. You cannot be arrested and prosecuted, for example, for telling a cop to fuck off and die. If you were so inclined. You will, however, most assuredly get that speeding ticket he was contemplating giving you a warning on.

As far as Jeff's comment goes, at least you have a great excuse to tell your kids' teachers.

Don't blame me, he saw it on a bumper sticker...

gekko said...

"Fuck" is pretty much a standard part of the language. It's ubiquitous. If they don't see it on a bumper sticker, they'll hear it on TV, in a movie, see it on someone's shirt. They'll hear you utter it when you're trying to assemble the fucking console in your fucking Honda what you tore apart to fucking install the fucking bluetooth module the fucking fuckwit pimplefaced asswipe couldn't fucking install because he's too fucking stupid to breathe.

"Fuck" has little or no influence these days, except among very old grannies and, well, one or two sunday school teachers.

Joe the Troll said...

I have a shirt I got long ago at a Hot Tuna show that says "Hot Fuckin' Tuna". I've worn it a lot over the years but I'll avoid wearing it to Target or anywhere else where I'm likely to encounter families with small kids. I know that I have the right to, and no one can stop me, but I choose not to be that guy. It's just a respect for others that's really easy to do thing.

Natsthename said...

Evidently, people care a lot more about this than they do saving internet radio.

I love the bumper sticker, although I probably would not put one on my car, since I'm a parent. I don't think that kids read the stickers so much, unless it happens to be on their own family car.

Jenna said...

I'm truly weird, because what it makes me think of is that Ares, Greek God of War, was reputed to be so incredibly sexy that even Aphrodite herself couldn't resist him.

War is outrageous. It's also inevitable.

Webmiztris said...

I'm for it. They're going to find out about curse words eventually anyway, so why make them taboo? Then they'll just be saying "Fuck" every chance they get (behind their parents' backs of course) to feel rebellious and grown up and cool.

Joe the Troll said...

" Then they'll just be saying "Fuck" every chance they get (behind their parents' backs of course) to feel rebellious and grown up and cool."

Well, let's make them think that it IS rebellious and cool. Why push them to do more dangerous things to be rebellious and cool? Hell, let's make them think that helping old ladies cross the street and eating their vegetables are the worst things they could ever do. We'll have a generation of Boy Scouts.

Jodie K said...

Are you as concerned when you see, in kid presence, a bumper sticker that reads SHIT HAPPENS? Or is it the fuck that offends?

O' Tim said...

Hell, let's make them think that helping old ladies cross the street and eating their vegetables are the worst things they could ever do

Yeah, kids'll never figure that shit out :)

Lucyp said...

It doesn't really offend me but to be honest, it just isn't very classy to proudly have that word displayed on your car.

Don said...

"Fuck War" is brilliant in how it communicates passion and outrage in just two short words.

It also trivializes the issues unto meaninglessness but whatever.

Joe the Troll said...

"Yeah, kids'll never figure that shit out"

Trust me, you cuff Max's ears for helping old ladies cross the street enough times and he'll be hanging out in front of retirement homes with a walker. And he'll be saying "Fuck Dad!" under his breath.

JennyJinx said...

I have no problems with it. As far as my youngest is concerned (my oldest is already lost, I'm afraid) she's going to hear it, she's going to see, it's there and my clutching my pearls and becoming outraged about a bumper sticker isn't going to stop her from learning it. I think you're dead on that it could be a learning moment should your child ask what it means. You explain it, go all the way back to it's original and then move on.

Don said...

Wait. Explaining the original meaning of "fuck" while explaining a bumper sticker that uses its secondary meaning to oppose all war is only going to confuse, I'd think. "Have sex with war? Because you don't like it? What?"

Teacake said...

I don't say fuck in front of my child except accidentally. She's 3. I don't want her to know the word yet, cause she's too young to understand that slang and other types of language are inappropriate to certain situations. She is just now learning that some words are "grown up words."

But by the time she can read, I imagine she'll know the word.

I believe in good manners, which means, you don't say "how the fuck are ya?" when you first meet somebody and you don't say "this tastes like shit" to a waiter.

But aside from manners, I don't believe in making random words stupidly and pointlessly powerful by making them taboo. I don't really care if my kid swears as long as she can do it appropriately.

Now, if a word *is* powerful to you, such as taking the lord's name in vain and such, that's another story, and I say to each his own on that kind of thing.

Jeff said...

Man, I haven't had this many comments to a post in a long time. How fun!

"Fuck" may be more mainstream now, but it's still one of the more abrasive swear words out there. To answer your question Jodie, no, I don't see it and "shit" in the same way.

Don't get me wrong, I'm in total agreement with the sentiment here that making something taboo just makes a kid want to do it more. But I don't say "fuck" around my kids. I'd prefer other people not to say it around my kids. Just as I don't drop F-bombs in casual conversation to people I don't know, or in situations where decorum and manners are appropriate and expected (a client meeting, for instance). If I'm in a restaurant, and there's a table of guys in there loudly dropping F-bombs, I consider that poor manners. Were I sitting at a light, and someone walked up to my car and yelled "fuck" into the window, I'd consider that poor manners. So I see someone with a bumper sticker on their car that says "Fuck" and I consider it poor manners.

Teacake said...

Were I sitting at a light, and someone walked up to my car and yelled "fuck" into the window

I am so totally going to start going around my neighborhood doing this.

Mark said...

Best be careful, Teacake, some might think it's an invitation...

Stewed Hamm said...

Fuck War? Isn't that when someone is trying to host a friendly contest of a sexual nature, but all the participants show up loaded for bear and ready to play cutthroat?
No? Oh well.

As for the bumper sticker... if anyone's going to change their worldview because of what's written on the car in front of them in traffic, they'll just change right back when they turn the corner.