Meaning of "UP" Bumper Sticker
November 3, 2009 3:40 PM   Subscribe

What does the "UP" bumper sticker mean? It is a blue square with white letters "UP" in the center, observed in the DC area.

The bumper sticker is square, about 4 inches on each side, with a dark blue background. Centered within the blue square are the letters "UP" in a white sans-serif font. I have seen this on vehicles registered in DC, VA, and MD over the past couple of years.

Red herrings: it is close to the same color and shape as the HRC equality sticker but I don't think they are related. And this is unlikely to be related the to Pixar movie because I have been wondering about this bumper sticker for the past two years.
posted by peeedro to Society & Culture (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A bit of a long shot, but could it be a Yooper sticker? The Michigan flag and license plates are both blue. It would be odd to find a concentration of these in the DC area tho.
posted by rlk at 4:08 PM on November 3, 2009

Not quite the same, but might be related: Utah Phillips?
posted by youcancallmeal at 4:08 PM on November 3, 2009

Almost certainly refers to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
posted by indyz at 4:09 PM on November 3, 2009

I'd say it's a yooper thing, too.

Say Yah to da U.P., eh?
posted by Stewriffic at 4:16 PM on November 3, 2009

I'm a bit skeptical of the Upper Peninsula theory. I've traveled quite a bit there and have seen quite a few different bumper stickers expressing love for the UP, both on locals' cars and on tourists', but don't recall any with a white "UP" on a dark blue square. The only ones I remember seeing with just "UP" and nothing else are the type that mimic European country stickers (black text on a white oval with a black border).

Not saying it's absolutely wrong, mind you. Just witholding judgment on that theory until more solid evidence is found.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:30 PM on November 3, 2009

The only potential snag with the yooper theory is that these kind of location-based bumper stickers are normally white ovals with black text, derived from the European country stickers. The occurrence of this blue square with white text design would imply that these are derived from a different design aesthetic -- absolutely possible, but then it raises the question: where does this design come from?

On preview: what DevilsAdvocate said.
posted by mhum at 4:32 PM on November 3, 2009

That Utah Phillips sticker is a play on a sticker that looks exactly like that without the Utah Philips tagline under it. My brother had one on his car in the mid 80s. It just said UP, was exactly that shape. Never asked him what it was though. He was in his 30s then. I always assumed he picked it up on his travels through Europe.

On preview, mhum links to exactly the sticker he had on his car.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 4:33 PM on November 3, 2009

I was going to say a yoop thing, but not in the DC area, that makes little sense. i lived in the Saginaw Bay area for 3 years and there was plenty of UP love, but no UP stickers. Of course this was like 15 years ago.
posted by djduckie at 5:09 PM on November 3, 2009

naw, not the yoop thing... not in that area.... hell, i'm in michigan and don't see that configuration...
posted by HuronBob at 5:16 PM on November 3, 2009

That Yooper bumper sticker was sooo long ago. I'm voting it's something else.
posted by 6:1 at 5:32 PM on November 3, 2009

Best answer: its University Park - a neighborhood in PG county, near UMD.
posted by dmbfan93 at 6:09 PM on November 3, 2009

I don't have any real confirmation but an awful lot of the cars I saw in University Park last summer have this sticker on their bumper. I don't think U.P. (as we call it) has any special parking restrictions.

Although I'm now a Californian, I am a graduate of University Park Elementary School. My parents live on the other side of Adelphi, in University Hills. (And they don't know where these stickers come from.)
posted by Rash at 6:27 PM on November 3, 2009

Best answer: If it is the University Park, MD sticker, there is a mention in an old newsletter (pdf) about the stickers:
BLUE AND WHITE "UP" STICKERS are available at the Town Hall. All Town residents are encouraged to display a "UP" sticker on the driver's side of their car's back bumper or on the driver's side lower back window. The stickers are an important part of our Neighborhood Watch Program as they enable the Town police and other residents to recognize a UP vehicle immediately. Pick yours up at the Town Hall (M-F, 9 AM-5 PM).
posted by cabingirl at 6:34 PM on November 3, 2009

dmbfan93's answer nailed it, and cabingirl's explains it.
posted by rokusan at 7:41 PM on November 3, 2009

A shame it's not a humorous attempt at a Joycean mystery...
posted by sagwalla at 2:24 AM on November 4, 2009

I wish it was a Joycean mystery, but having grown up in University Park, its just a resident sticker.
posted by vegetableagony at 8:59 PM on November 8, 2009

« Older Please help me kill this ear worm!   |   What are some good iPod speakers? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.