Cryptic Bumper Stickers
April 28, 2006 9:06 PM   Subscribe

Two cryptic bumper stickers spotted separately in Chicago, do you know what they mean? (1) "You Will Be Safe." (2) "Maroon Life -- a Life of Resistance."

I really like the first one--sort of like a fortune cookie, but spookier. Maybe a band name? The second one might be a reference to U of Chicago, where the sports teams are known as the Maroons, but this seems like a stretch. Google has failed me on both.

I love cryptic bumper stickers.
posted by Mid to Writing & Language (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I tried google, but no luck. My initial thought without know much about the windy city is that the second one is some how related to a highschool or unviersity sports team. I'll second your hypothesis I guess.
posted by phyrewerx at 9:17 PM on April 28, 2006

It's possible the second one relates to the use of the word "maroon" to mean a person who escaped from slavery. See here and here.
posted by cerebus19 at 9:30 PM on April 28, 2006

Jamaican Maroons?
posted by caution live frogs at 9:31 PM on April 28, 2006

There's a reasonably well-known quotation from the ancient Roman poet Ovid that translates as: "You who seek an end of love, love yields to business: be busy, and you will be safe."

I of course have no idea if the bumper sticker is meant to refer to that, but I thought it bore mentioning.
posted by cerebus19 at 9:35 PM on April 28, 2006

How close were you to the car with the "you will be safe" bumper sticker?

No real evidence, but I kinda like this interpretation: In Star Wars, The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon says to Anakin "Stay close to me and you will be safe." Could the sticker be an oblique Star Wars nerdy reference directed towards tailgater types.

Yeah, so it's a stretch. But millions of marginally well-adjusted people love obscure in-jokes, particularly of a sci-fi pop culture suitable-for-stickering flavor. It could happen.

And maybe a passing Vader player will steal the interpretation for their own sticker.
posted by mdevore at 10:45 PM on April 28, 2006

Googling "Maroon Life" on its own brings up several hits about escaped slaves; I think that's your best bet.

As for the other sticker... the hadith where Muhammad tells the Jews "Embrace Islam and you will be safe"?

Not that I think that's any more likely than Star Wars or Ovid.
posted by maxreax at 11:05 PM on April 28, 2006

Best answer: The band Rachel's has a voiceover on their album Selenography, along with some album art, that prominently includes the phrase "You will be safe." I admit that's a stretch, but the music is great.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:14 AM on April 29, 2006

The University of Chicago student newspaper and IIRC its sports teams are called "the Maroon."
posted by MattD at 3:27 AM on April 29, 2006

This radical political text uses "maroon" in a contemporary context, referring to African-Americans resisting the system. The bumper sticker have been written along those lines.
posted by gubo at 5:26 AM on April 29, 2006

I really don't think the maroon one is about slavery—given that U. Chicago is the Maroons, it's almost certainly referring to that.

No idea on the other sticker, though.
posted by limeonaire at 8:01 AM on April 29, 2006

I feel like the first is political. There's a saying roughly like "You can be safe, or you can be free," so the stickerer would be making a statement about the current administration.

Any Nader stickers (etc.) on the same car?
posted by booksandlibretti at 9:18 AM on April 29, 2006

similar... but.. not the same. Happened to see this today by coincidence.
posted by twiggy at 11:43 AM on April 29, 2006

Response by poster: I think books is on to something about "You Will Be Safe." It was on a hippy-ish car, but I don't remember exactly why it looked hippy-ish. I sort of took it to mean: "yes, yes, Terror Level Orange and all that, but you will be ok."

And I think the freed slave theme is the best guess for the Maroon Life one. The U of C thing just doesn't fit with the "Life of Resistance" part. Also, if it was U of C kids, I would expect a website mention, but google turns up nothing. Obscure radical racial politics seems more likely.
posted by Mid at 2:54 PM on April 29, 2006

"You will be safe" could possibly be a mythological reference, from the story of Icarus, when Daedalus says: "Icarus, my son, I charge you to keep at a moderate height, for if you fly too low the damp will clog your wings, and if too high the heat will melt them. Keep near me and you will be safe."

But, more likely, it's biblical... Lots of biblical possibilities:

"He will cover you with his wings, and you will be safe under his feathers: his faithfulness will be your shield and defence."

"Stay with me, and do not be afraid; for the one who seeks my life seeks your life; you will be safe with me."

"And do no wrong, one to another, but let the fear of your God be before you; for I am the Lord your God. So keep my rules and my decisions and do them, and you will be safe in your land."

"I myself will teach your people and give them prosperity and peace. Justice and right will make you strong. You will be safe from oppression and terror."

... and many more, I'm sure.
posted by taz at 10:37 PM on April 29, 2006

Response by poster: I like the bible angle, taz. Thanks.

Maybe I will try to take phone-cam pictures of the stickers and post them.
posted by Mid at 2:53 PM on April 30, 2006

Best answer: The "You Will Be Safe" bumper sticker is from the band The Rachel's. I know this for a fact.
posted by penchant at 6:28 AM on May 1, 2006 [1 favorite]

Was it a maroon Toyota Corolla, by any chance?
posted by penchant at 6:28 AM on May 1, 2006 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This is a little strange because I owned a Toyota (the one Penchant mentioned) with the "You Will Be Safe" sticker. I got it from The Rachel's by sending a SASE to a Louisville, KY address in the liner notes of their album, "The Sea & The Bells" (Though, TheOnlyCoolTim is correct about the origin of the phrase is "Selenography"). I've had the sticker on my car for almost 6 years and it has major sentimental reasons between myself and my significant other. I recently gave the car away to WTTW, our local PBS station. If this is my old car, I will be pleasantly suprised.
posted by rabbitsnake at 6:42 AM on May 1, 2006 [2 favorites]

Oh, and, speaking of creepy, the full line from the Rachel's song (delivered in a sort of whispery female voice with a Brazilian-sounding accent):

"You will be safe. You will be asleep."
posted by penchant at 11:24 AM on May 1, 2006

Response by poster: Weird! I think the car might have been maroon. I have seen it around Roscoe Village, on Roscoe St., I think. Is this you?!
posted by Mid at 1:25 PM on May 1, 2006

Best answer: That's it, Mid. It was donated in February, I think.

Weird indeed.
posted by penchant at 3:15 PM on May 1, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Totally weird.

To recap: I asked about the meaning of a random bumper sticker I saw on the street in a major city, and penchant responded that he not only knows what the bumper sticker means, he owned the actual car that I saw.

I suppose that's a best answer.
posted by Mid at 3:32 PM on May 1, 2006 [1 favorite]

To be clear, rabbitsnake is the owner of the car, and penchant is a she.

But yeah, such is the power of Ask Metafilter.
posted by penchant at 4:56 PM on May 1, 2006

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