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August 7, 2011 7:18 AM   Subscribe

How would you interpret this bumper sticker? Your initial reaction, nothing too deep. Suppose you're in your car in traffic.
posted by larry_darrell to Media & Arts (66 answers total)
 
The price of gas makes you want to kill yourself.
posted by The Deej at 7:19 AM on August 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Gas prices are too damn high. Alternatively, reliance on petroleum is killing you/us.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:20 AM on August 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


My gut interpretation would be of it as an anti-automobile propaganda and if I saw it on a car I think it would seem sort of weirdly hypocritical (like a Sierra Club bumper sticker on a huge SUV sort of thing).
posted by nanojath at 7:20 AM on August 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


You feel like you're stupid and have no brain because of all the gas you have to put in your car.

Also, it's not well designed since it goes vertically and not horizontal like every other bumper sticker I've seen, which I'm assuming are made that way to actually fit on the bumper of a car.
posted by theichibun at 7:20 AM on August 7, 2011


I'd think it's a melodramatic way to say our nation is killing itself with ties to fossil fuel.
posted by carlh at 7:21 AM on August 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Gas prices are so high that i want to blow my brains out.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:22 AM on August 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would interpret it as ripping off this image.
posted by runningwithscissors at 7:22 AM on August 7, 2011


My first reaction was the same as Deej--cost of gas is too high.
posted by parkerjackson at 7:22 AM on August 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


On a domestic car, that gas prices are too high.
On a Subaru, that we're killing ourselves with fossil fuel dependency.
On a German car, irony.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:24 AM on August 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


My first reaction: the person driving that car is a moron, because he apparently thinks something bad about gasoline, yet continues to drive a car.
posted by decathecting at 7:27 AM on August 7, 2011 [14 favorites]


first thought? "that person hasn't lost someone to gunshot suicide and isn't sensitive to people who have."
posted by nadawi at 7:29 AM on August 7, 2011 [43 favorites]


1. The owner of that car thinks that using gas will kill us.
2. The owner of the car is very melodramatic.
3. The owner of the car is not very sensitive to how upsetting that image could be to people who have lost loved ones to suicide.
4. The owner of that car is a bit of a hypocrite.
posted by craichead at 7:29 AM on August 7, 2011 [17 favorites]


What deej said, but then I had an immediate emotional reaction of disgust and anger because I know people who have committed suicide (not over gas prices though).
posted by MultiFaceted at 7:30 AM on August 7, 2011


I initially interpreted it as "our excessive fuel consumption is killing us (the planet)". Which would make no sense on a car, and seem hypocritical.

Also I thought it was a bit silly.
posted by stillnocturnal at 7:31 AM on August 7, 2011


My first reaction is that gas prices are so high you might as well kill yourself.

My delayed reaction is that the designer and the person who bought it are not that great at visual communication, and also more than a little bit crass. Suicide jokes? Really?
posted by SMPA at 7:32 AM on August 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Our dependence on oil will be our un-doing.
posted by Flood at 7:36 AM on August 7, 2011


I would assume it was 'gas prices are too high and they make me want to kill myself' because the only other interpretation is 'we're killing ourselves every time we fill up' and that doesn't make sense on a car.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:36 AM on August 7, 2011


I clean my ears with gasoline.
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:37 AM on August 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


My first reaction was "so get the f*** over yourself and take public transportation" (addressed to the hypothetical person who would use the bumper sticker).

I also thought it was insensitive, despite not knowing anyone personally who committed suicide that way.

I do, however, have a dear teacher who was killed by gunshot wounds (multiple) and am pretty sure that has something to do with my initial reaction. Got a problem with fossil fuels? Cool. Write to your senator, congress rep, president, minister, whoever, use your car as little as possible, and encourage public transportation so it's more viable to use.

"It's not a literal human suicide; it's an idea." I don't need this icon in my life. Is there anyone who does? Why?
posted by fraula at 7:41 AM on August 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Distasteful and disturbing; I've had several relatives kill themselves by shooting themselves in the head.

Of course, this is unlikely to be the typical experience, but you asked.
posted by desjardins at 7:43 AM on August 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Comments here are helpful, on target. Note that only people with less expensive cars put up bumper stickers. How often would you see this sort of thing on, say, a Lexus or Mercedes?

A wise ass with an electric or hybrid might put one up just to thumb his nose at you.
posted by Postroad at 7:43 AM on August 7, 2011


This would make a lot more sense on an electric vehicle or maybe, as a stretch, a hybrid. I'd probably think someone with this on a gas guzzling car was an idiot. But I'd also be generalizing, having no idea how much they use their car.
posted by jz at 7:44 AM on August 7, 2011


He's washing his ears out with gasoline?
posted by yfatah at 7:45 AM on August 7, 2011


Being amongst the car-driving suburban hordes means effectively killing oneself. Driver fancies himself an iconoclast. Driver lacks self-awareness.
posted by kmennie at 7:45 AM on August 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Damn, sorry Dr. Dra. Didn't see yours.
posted by yfatah at 7:46 AM on August 7, 2011


First gut reaction?

I almost threw up. Gun violence is akin to rape metaphor - you never know who has been impacted by the horror you're using to make a point. The immediate, unmitigated and irreversible damage of that gunshot to the head is overly dramatic and visceral.

So my second reaction is anger and indignation.
posted by bilabial at 7:48 AM on August 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


Mind-blowing is what I thought.
posted by Namlit at 7:52 AM on August 7, 2011


It would remind me of another bumpersticker I once saw: Live simply so that other's may simply love. It was on a Lexus. Yeah.
posted by Leezie at 7:53 AM on August 7, 2011


It's a safety sticker that says:

1. Do not stick pump nozzle in your ear.

or

2. Your head only holds so much gas. Stop pumping before this happens.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:57 AM on August 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


It's so delicious it will blow your mind?
posted by sexyrobot at 8:07 AM on August 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Echoing nadawi and others. I cringed. My initial reaction would not be to analyze what the bumper sticker meant but to get it out of my line of site as soon as possible and try to think about something else.
posted by frobozz at 8:08 AM on August 7, 2011


Initial, instant thought: Gas is so expensive it makes him want to kill himself.
Thought 5 seconds later: Something political related to oil (environment? sucking up to Saudis? urban sprawl requiring cars?) makes him want to kill himself.
Thought I would have a minute later if I really was stuck behind this in traffic: Wait, he's expressing his anti-whatever-gas-thing sentiment on his car? Dumb-ass.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 8:18 AM on August 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm being killed by high gas prices!

And then I forget all about it because I discount all "statement!!" bumper stickers.
posted by ladygypsy at 8:18 AM on August 7, 2011


Our dependence on gas is killing us/the planet.
posted by natasha_k at 8:22 AM on August 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another "we're killing ourselves with our oil dependency" here. However, it would depend on the car for me as well.
I notice no one mentions what their thoughts would be if this were seen on a hybrid or electric vehicle. If I saw it on a compact car or hybrid, I wouldn't consider it hypocritical at all. Note, I live in an extremely car-dependent and bike/pedestrian unfriendly area of the country.
posted by smalls at 8:28 AM on August 7, 2011


urban sprawl

By urban, of course, I mean suburban. Or exurban. Or anything except for urban. Sigh.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 8:41 AM on August 7, 2011


It's a political thing. New logo from "The Gas Is Too Damed High" Party
posted by timsteil at 9:01 AM on August 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gas prices are too high.
posted by Miko at 9:16 AM on August 7, 2011


Cynical driver wishes he didn't have to drive.
posted by mostly-sp3 at 9:22 AM on August 7, 2011


I would interpret it as saying "people who use gas should kill themselves".

I would think the person displaying it was a dick in any case; I'd think they were a dick and a moron if it were on a gas-using car.
posted by endless_forms at 9:28 AM on August 7, 2011


"That's gross. Why did you make me look at that? I don't want to think about someone's brains splatting out their head. And it's suicide, too? Fuck you. I get that maybe there's a point somewhere there, but seriously you just imposed a series of mental images on me that are disturbing and useless except to make me upset for your own stupid selfish reasons. Fuck you, asshole."

That is precisely what I would think.
posted by bigbigdog at 9:46 AM on August 7, 2011


My first guess is that using cars is killing us? Perhaps pollution related?
posted by stackhaus23 at 10:04 AM on August 7, 2011


My initial thought? Is that supposed to be funny? It's not.

I'm not talking about the insensitive image of someone blowing their brains out with a gas pump, because I'm not all sensitive like that (people get shot, and people shoot themselves - it happens). But honestly that's not an image I want burned into my mind. And what's seen cannot be unseen. Thanks.
posted by patheral at 10:05 AM on August 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think others have hit on this but to expand a little. I think it is meant to be a bit shocking and upsetting. There are places and times that a bit of shock value can be effective at making a case but they are highly specific places and times. The indiscriminate nature of a bumper sticker makes this a poor choice. It could inflict unnecessary harm on those who neither deserve nor warrant it. Ultimately that choice can backfire allowing people to consider the displayer of the sign as a jerk and dismiss their argument without consideration.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 10:10 AM on August 7, 2011


Not funny, regardless of intention.
posted by tommasz at 10:11 AM on August 7, 2011


Someone's ripped off the classic, award-winning VW print ad from the '70s! I wonder if they did that on purpose?
posted by Gucky at 10:15 AM on August 7, 2011


Another vote for "gas prices are so high I want to kill myself." That was my first thought when I looked at the image, before I read any of the comments here.
posted by rtha at 10:20 AM on August 7, 2011


Without comment preview, I am going with "gasoline is killing us", "it's suicidal to depend upon gas".
posted by _paegan_ at 10:24 AM on August 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Massively thoughtless. There are much better ways to express dissatisfaction with reliance on gasoline.
posted by motsque at 11:02 AM on August 7, 2011


Immediate reaction: "That guy's an ass."

More considered reaction: "Wow, yeah, that guy is REALLY an ass."
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 11:04 AM on August 7, 2011


"Someone should have bought a bike."
posted by thinkingwoman at 11:26 AM on August 7, 2011


Our dependence on oil will be our un-doing.

This was my thought as well. I was not reminded of my uncle who blew his brains out until reading the comments here. Also, it would make a better t-shirt on a cyclist than a bumper sticker, because it's hypocritical on any but emission-free vehicles.
posted by Rash at 11:28 AM on August 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd interpret the sticker as "Gas prices make me want to kill myself" and the driver as the kind of guy who'd say "Geez, can't you take a joke, can't a guy put a bumper sticker without the PC brigade whining, whatever happened to freedom of speech."
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:31 AM on August 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The original Volkswagen version
posted by Gucky at 11:47 AM on August 7, 2011


I thought it was amusing. I appreciate the irony of displaying this sticker on a car. That's about the extent of the effort I'm willing to put in my interpretation.

Unrealistic suicide/violent images such as this one don't bother me.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:49 AM on August 7, 2011


Stupid hippy freak is trying to make a point about either gas prices or cars guzzling carbon fuel in general and cannot even do it clearly was my initial thought.
posted by AugustWest at 12:07 PM on August 7, 2011


The original Volkswagen version
posted by Gucky at 1:47 PM on August 7 [+] [!]



I like that one much better. Probably because it's not so... I guess graphic is the word.
posted by patheral at 12:32 PM on August 7, 2011


You really should look at the designer's page on Cafepress. I agree the sticker is offensive, but at least the people selling it are equal-opportunity offenders.
posted by miyabo at 2:12 PM on August 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


On car it makes no sense. On a scooter it would be ok. I don't find too distasteful.
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:23 PM on August 7, 2011


Ecology. Burning fossil fuels is killing the planet. Driving your car is killing the planet. And hence, you.
posted by Decani at 2:28 PM on August 7, 2011


Ah got it. Don't use the pressured air to clean your ears. Makes sense.
posted by Namlit at 4:05 PM on August 7, 2011


First reaction: Price of gas makes me want to kill myself

Second reaction: I hate driving and/or I hate the fact that we are dependent on gasoline and/or something ecological. (I didn't get to "we are killing the planet and hence ourselves via gas consumption" though).

I found it interesting. It did not offend or upset me personally. (I have no personal experience with suicide though.) It did seem a bit adolescent / young / rebellious.
posted by salvia at 4:38 PM on August 7, 2011


It's not hypocritical to drive a car and know at the same time that doing so is destructive.

But yes, our dependency on fossil fuel is suicidal.
posted by klanawa at 9:41 PM on August 7, 2011


I interpreted it as a visual pun and it gave me a morbid chuckle. It need not mean anything further.
posted by wobh at 10:37 PM on August 7, 2011


"Dang, I hope my kids don't see that and ask me what it means, because I have no idea what it's supposed to signify. Plus I don't want to get into a what-is-suicide discussion with them right now while I'm driving."
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:25 PM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know if this is getting too chatfiltery, but my take would "Gas prices are too #$% high, but what else am I gonna do, walk or ride a bike? HA! Hold on, I got a text."

As for the suicide stuff, yeah, it's tasteless, but people make and hear suicide jokes all the time without thinking about it ("Two days without chocolate? I'd rather kill myself!"). People also joke casually about murder, divorce, physical/mental illness, obesity, poverty, war, etc. There was a piece on Colbert where he brought out a rifle, and I still kinda wince after the whole Giffords thing.

But humans are prone to hyperbole for effect, and really, the bumper sticker's no different.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:36 AM on August 9, 2011


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