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The Secret Language of Bumper Stickers

  Do you feel that people desperately need to know something about you, yet you lack the requisite social skills to tell them without fear-sweating through your clothing? Why not slap a bumper sticker onto your car? It’s just like interacting with people and sharing your opinions, only without having to actually face up to having shared your opinions!

  In short, here are some common types of bumper stickers and what they say about you as a person.

Candidate’s Bumper Sticker (Within Three Election Cycles)

Busey 2016

What You Think It’s Saying: I am a voter, and I am throwing my lot behind the candidate I believe in the most. I’m doing my part in making sure his or her name gets out there, pitching my voice into the cacophony of television, radio, newspaper, and internet advertisements all doing the same. Democracy!

What It Actually Says: I have an opinion and enjoy showing it in a way that will change absolutely no one else’s!

Bonus Stigma: Hope you don’t drive like an asshole, because the average person is probably going to far more vividly remember that time you cut across three lanes of traffic with your preferred candidate’s name screaming across their eyeballs than any of their campaign speeches.

A More Accurate Sticker Would Say: “I know a name you know!”

Candidate’s Bumper Sticker (Absurdly Archaic)

Oh, the scandal of it all!

What You Think It’s Saying: Boy, these politicians today sure do suck, am I right? Remember when things were better when another person was in charge? Yeah, none of this bullshit. Jobs were falling off trees and we thought immigrants were a fancy kind of bank loan—you know, the kind that didn’t leave you drowning in debt. Back in those times, the streets were paved with gold and hobos would clean your car for a nickel.

What It Actually Says: I have nostalgia blinders so large that I’ve come to associate the only happiness in my life with whichever dickhead was in charge at the time.

Bonus Stigma: You know what else was a lot more prevalent way back when? Sexism, homophobia, and racism. Chances are the reason you miss that time is because you’re one of a privileged few who would be able to avoid that, so congratulations on the freak of birth that resulted in you being a pale motherfucker, you pale motherfucker.

A More Accurate Sticker Would Say: “I’m ill-adapted to an evolving world.”

Bland Platitude

I'm... sorry?

What You Think It’s Saying: I am a hippie lovechild, and I hate the fact that we are so cruel to each other. I am going to put this on my car and give a friendly little reminder to people that cruelty/horror/war atrocities are not good things.

What It Actually Says: I want to slap a bumper sticker on my car and devalue it, but I am also too afraid of saying something that may cause people to be angry with me. Therefore, I am going to target something that is universally unliked and point out the fact that they are unliked. And if I don’t like it, and you don’t like it, then that means we’re friends! Yea! Mother was wrong about me!

Bonus Stigma: Mother wasn’t really wrong about you, and she forwarded your poetry to every other commuter on the road. It’s hilarious, but we’re all sure that wasn’t the intention.

A More Accurate Sticker Would Say: “WHY WON’T YOU LOVE ME!?”

Unnecessarily Aggressive Decal

Well, this took a dark turn.

What You Think It’s Saying: I’m a “real” redneck, whatever that means outside of some loose designation meant to describe the kind of car you drive and your propensity toward wearing flannel. I am a rough, tough rebel who takes no shit. Also, if you don’t like me or the way I drive, I will literally shoot you in the face. Yeah, how do you like that, you bunch of sissies?

What It Actually Says: There’s actually a bit to this one:

1) You acknowledge that you can’t drive, making you a hazard to yourself and others.

2) You acknowledge that you can’t drive, making you an asshole.

3) You enjoy passively threatening people, probably because you have a dehumanizing job.

4) You enjoy passively threatening people, because directly threatening them is scary.

5) If you were one-eighth as tough as you’re pretending to be, you probably would have been arrested by now.

Bonus Stigma: Everyone is going to assume you’re a be-flanneled idiot at best or a bully at worst. So couple it with your shitty driving and one of those political bumper stickers, and you’re well on your way of confirming every negative stereotype anyone could ever think about you.

A More Accurate Sticker Would Say: “I never evolved beyond being an angsty teen.”

Hot Button Political/Social Issue

Because people are dumb AND terrible.

What You Think It’s Saying: Any—absolutely any—issue at all can be boiled down to a simple fact that overrides every other aspect the argument. You will be in awe at my deft handling of this matter and will have absolutely no choice but to agree with me.

What It Actually Says: Nuance is for people who didn’t gargle lead paint growing up and/or don’t have a three year old’s understanding on human existence and morality.

Bonus Stigma: Once again, hope you don’t drive like a prolapsed colon and forever associate your terribleness with the issue you’re trying to convince people to side with. Then again, you’re providing unsolicited moralizing on a topic you probably have a limited education about, so asking you to associate two disparate ideas is probably an impossible task.

A More Accurate Sticker Would Say: “Ignore my opinion, for I am unable and unwilling to see any point of view other than my own.”

Ranting Gibberish


What You Think It’s Saying: I am a deep, philosophical person who manages to make witty and incisive commentary about any myriad of topics. Unfortunately for me, it is true that brevity is the soul of wit, and my soul is somewhat lacking. However, the plebeians around me must know of my intellectual greatness, especially if they disagree with my point of view. Ergo, it is of the utmost importance to inform them of why they are wrong and why I am correct through the wonderful medium of bumper sticker. Yes, the lowly bumper sticker may be best suited for a pithy bon mot, but this diatribe must be transcribed upon my rear bumper in its full capacity, lest someone never learn of my magnificent brain!

What It Actually Says: I don’t understand how driving, words, human interaction, arguments, bumper stickers, or conciseness work. I’ve also been stabbed thirteen times and have yet to figure out why.

Bonus Stigma: If someone rear-ends me because they are trying to read my size-10 font bumper sticker, you bet your ass I’m going to be a huffy little ballsack about it.

A More Accurate Sticker Would Say: “I read (insert political theorist here) and you should, too.”

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