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Bumper stickers losing popularity as tolerance, vehicle trends evolve
Journal Gazette ^ | 4/24/05 | Cynthia Hubert

Posted on 04/25/2005 7:37:51 PM PDT by qam1

On an afternoon in Sacramento, Calif., 147 vehicles are parked outside a theater complex under a hazy spring sky. There are shiny Town Cars and rusty Ford pickup trucks, perky Rav 4s and burly Silverados.

For all their differences in name and prestige, they have one thing in common: Their backsides are pristine. Not one of them sports a single gem of wisdom plastered to a bumper.

Bumper stickers, first used in election campaigns after World War II and once a powerful form of political and cultural expression, can still be found in trinket shops and Internet stores. But fewer and fewer of them seem to be showing up on the backs of cars.

The main reason, observers say, is the increasing political prickliness of Americans. In a divided society, commuters are wary of announcing the way they feel about the president or the war or religion or any other controversial subject.

“The car is the American icon, so there was something wonderful about the bumper sticker,” says Carol Gardner, who traveled the country a decade ago for a book about bumper stickers and the people behind them. “They used to represent the town hall of the American roadway. Now they’re disappearing, and it’s kind of a shame.”

Gardner, whose “Bumper Sticker Wisdom: America’s Pulpit Above the Tail Pipe” (Beyond Words Publishing, $19.95) got national attention when it was published in 1995, has a couple of theories about why fewer people seem to be adorning their cars with messages these days.

“With all of the violence and terrorism in our world today, people just want to be careful about expressing their views,” she says. “They are afraid of the consequences.”

Baby boomers who once plastered their Volkswagen vans with slogans that spoke to issues such as abortion and politics have become more introspective and less activist, notes Gardner, who remains a student of stickers.

“Bumper stickers really became popular in the 1960s when baby boomers were out there taking on all of the issues,” including civil rights and women’s rights, she says. “In the 1990s, the boomers were turning 50 and started buying ‘self-help’ and ‘how to’ books rather than standing up for causes and talking about issues.”

Others point to the fact that more people are driving leased cars or otherwise costly vehicles that they are reluctant to decorate with stickers, which likely will fade, peel and prove difficult to remove.

That helps explain the popularity of the colorful car magnets in the shape of ribbons that promote everything from breast-cancer awareness to supporting the troops. Bumper stickers, observers say, are more likely to end up in cubicles or bulletin boards today than on vehicles.

“We all have nicer cars now,” jokes Deborah Chausse, owner of Evangeline’s gift shop in Sacramento. “I think that’s the reason you rarely see bumper stickers. I know I wouldn’t want to put a sticker on my car that might leave some kind of residue.”

Chausse drives a Lexus.

Sales of bumper stickers have steadily eroded during the past decade as a percentage of all promotional trinkets, including hats and shirts, bags and computer mouse pads, according to an international trade association.

Promotional Products Association International reports that buttons, badges and stickers represented 3.5 percent of sales of such items in 2003, compared with 6.8 percent in 1993.

But although bumper stickers may be less ubiquitous, they do not yet appear to be in danger of going the way of the 8-track tape. Particularly during election years they remain popular, says Bill Prickett of the trade organization.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: bumperstickers; genx; liberalvandals
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1 posted on 04/25/2005 7:37:55 PM PDT by qam1
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To: qam1

I send a message on the back of my van..


2 posted on 04/25/2005 7:39:30 PM PDT by The Mayor ( Earth changes, but God and His Word stand sure!)
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To: qam1

Of course, it's an 87 Astro Van..


3 posted on 04/25/2005 7:40:15 PM PDT by The Mayor ( Earth changes, but God and His Word stand sure!)
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To: qam1

I don't like to clutter my vehicles with personal statements. The only bumper sticker I ever special ordered said, "YOUR MESSAGE HERE."


4 posted on 04/25/2005 7:42:11 PM PDT by Fester Chugabrew
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To: qam1

The thing is, with the advent of color-keyed plastic bumper covers, removing a bumper sticker can actually damage your car. I suspect that's the biggest reason for fewer bumper stickers.


5 posted on 04/25/2005 7:42:52 PM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: qam1

I would put on bumper stickers, but I fear taking my car to a mechanic who disagrees with me.


6 posted on 04/25/2005 7:43:24 PM PDT by HostileTerritory
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To: qam1; ItsOurTimeNow; PresbyRev; tortoise; Fraulein; StoneColdGOP; Clemenza; malakhi; m18436572; ...
Xer Ping

Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.

Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.  

7 posted on 04/25/2005 7:45:26 PM PDT by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: qam1

My car proudly displays "Self-defense is a basic human right - Second Amendment Sisters"

(My favorite SAS slogan: "Firearms - the ultimate in feminine protection")


8 posted on 04/25/2005 7:45:45 PM PDT by LibFreeOrDie (L'chaim!)
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To: qam1
What? No more "I saw the Thing at Colossal Cave!"
9 posted on 04/25/2005 7:45:53 PM PDT by AZHua87
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To: qam1; ItsOurTimeNow; PresbyRev; tortoise; Fraulein; StoneColdGOP; Clemenza; malakhi; m18436572; ...
Xer Ping

Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.

Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.  

10 posted on 04/25/2005 7:46:15 PM PDT by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: qam1

Sorry for the double Ping - No idea why that happens sometimes


11 posted on 04/25/2005 7:48:20 PM PDT by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: qam1

I have an old honda and I would put stickers up on there. It's in such a shape that I wouldn't mind someone keying up my car for my Viva Bush stickers *lol*


12 posted on 04/25/2005 7:48:58 PM PDT by cyborg (Serving fresh, hot Anti-opus since 18 April 2005)
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To: qam1

I've had stickers on the back of my window for years.


13 posted on 04/25/2005 7:49:59 PM PDT by Dan from Michigan ("This will help you with the pain - POW!!" - Jack Bauer)
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To: qam1

The first bumpber sticker that I remember from my childhood was circa 1979-1980. The sticker read "America: Love it or Leave it!" I also remember some stickers that had suggestive remarks regarding what Khomeni could do with himself.


14 posted on 04/25/2005 7:50:53 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: qam1

I don't put bumper stickers on my car because I'm afraid the peaceful, tolerant, warm, loving, humanitarian ,fascist thugs of the "liberal" left will trash my car.


15 posted on 04/25/2005 7:56:20 PM PDT by garyhope
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To: qam1
As an American, who's never placed a bumpersticker on his car, I never understood fellow Americans' need to tell others what they think through a sticker. Bloggodocio
16 posted on 04/25/2005 7:57:52 PM PDT by bloggodocio (now, with umph!)
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To: qam1

During the campaign I saw huge Kerry signs and stickers on the backs of some peoples' vehicles, like they were desperate for attention. It didn't seem to work on me...


17 posted on 04/25/2005 7:59:12 PM PDT by WestVirginiaRebel (Carnac: A siren, a baby and a liberal. Answer: Name three things that whine.)
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To: qam1
I saw an interesting bumper sticker the other day. It said:

JosephLied.com

Very interesting website. What? I was curious!

18 posted on 04/25/2005 8:00:08 PM PDT by lsee
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To: qam1

I have but one bumper (on the rear window, actually) sticker...replica of the Vietnam Service Ribbon.


19 posted on 04/25/2005 8:01:52 PM PDT by clintonh8r (All liberals have one thing in common: Their mommies made the wrong choice.)
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To: WestVirginiaRebel

Kerry bumper stickers are still around southern NH.

Also saw my first "Hillary in '08" the other day...


20 posted on 04/25/2005 8:02:58 PM PDT by LibFreeOrDie (L'chaim!)
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To: qam1

My all time favorite during the Clinton years - 'Where is Lee Harvey when you really need him?'


21 posted on 04/25/2005 8:04:16 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Get after the RAT's all of you cat people - earn your keep!)
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To: LibFreeOrDie; martin_fierro

Martin -- How about a redisplay of one of your classic bumper stickers for LibFree...you know the one I mean, of course (AND, I am getting around to it, but things are a bit hectic just now).


22 posted on 04/25/2005 8:05:54 PM PDT by SAJ
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To: garyhope
I have a large sticker that proclaims Annoy a Liberal... Work, Be Happy, Succeed because it annoys the peaceful, tolerant, warm, loving, humanitarian ,fascist thugs of the "liberal" left.
23 posted on 04/25/2005 8:06:42 PM PDT by azsportsterman
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To: qam1
The main reason, observers say, is the increasing political prickliness of Americans. In a divided society, commuters are wary of announcing the way they feel about the president or the war or religion or any other controversial subject.

I find that very hard to believe. I see way too many political stickers for that to be true.

24 posted on 04/25/2005 8:06:54 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("Slippery slope? Try cliffdiving."--Freeper Crazieman comments on the post-Terri world.)
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To: qam1
When I lived in Boston, I never dared voice my political leanings on the bumper of my Volvo. I lived in the Oh-So-Tolerant left-wing paradise of Jamaica Plain and knew that if I dared admit I liked Dubya, I'd find my door keyed or my back window broken out with a brick.

Down here in Florida, I had my W '04 sticker on the back window, right next to my Misfits skull and my Specialized Logo. I used to get some looks in traffic.

25 posted on 04/25/2005 8:08:24 PM PDT by RepoGirl (You can ban my rottweiler when you can pry her from my cold dead hands...)
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To: AZHua87
What? No more "I saw the Thing at Colossal Cave!"

And no more "This ccar climbed Mount Washington" on half the cars in New England.

26 posted on 04/25/2005 8:09:02 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("Slippery slope? Try cliffdiving."--Freeper Crazieman comments on the post-Terri world.)
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To: WorkingClassFilth

I went into this novelty store in San Antonio and they had a ton of bumper stickers from the sixties. I bought a stack of them. One that I loved was a bright pink one with a peace symbol that said "the sign of the american chicken"


27 posted on 04/25/2005 8:09:11 PM PDT by boop (Testing the tagline feature!)
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To: qam1
My hubby has a bumper sticker on his truck that says, 'Disgruntled employee of the month'.

He's self employed. He doesn't have anyone to bitch too.

28 posted on 04/25/2005 8:10:23 PM PDT by processing please hold (Islam and Christianity do not mix ----9-11 taught us that)
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To: qam1

The only stickers I've had on have said Reagan/Bush, Reagan/Bush, Bush/Quayle, Bush/Quayle, Dole/Kemp, Bush/Cheney, and Bush/Cheney.


29 posted on 04/25/2005 8:10:26 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Fester Chugabrew
"The only bumper sticker I ever special ordered said, "YOUR MESSAGE HERE.""

I saw one that read "BUMPER STICKER". Wish I had bought it now.

30 posted on 04/25/2005 8:10:47 PM PDT by SteveMcKing
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To: Fester Chugabrew
"The only bumper sticker I ever special ordered said, "YOUR MESSAGE HERE.""

I saw one that read "BUMPER STICKER". Wish I had bought it now.

31 posted on 04/25/2005 8:11:01 PM PDT by SteveMcKing
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To: Larry Lucido

I would have had Ford/Dole but I didn't have a car then.


32 posted on 04/25/2005 8:11:52 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: qam1

33 posted on 04/25/2005 8:13:40 PM PDT by XR7
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To: Larry Lucido

My next one is going to be for Stabenow's opponent in 08(Unless it's that Nassar Beydoun joker who gave to her campaign)


34 posted on 04/25/2005 8:13:48 PM PDT by Dan from Michigan ("This will help you with the pain - POW!!" - Jack Bauer)
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To: qam1
I had 3 conservative stickers on my bumper and 3 more on the back window of my German car (which I love very much, thank you).

Now that the election is over with, there is only one, on the center of my back glass:

If the mood strikes me, I will certainly add another sticker.

I refuse to be cowed by the fear of vandalism, and I don't give a rat's sphincter if a liberal gets road rage* from my sticker.

*(They're usually unarmed, anyway, and I can outrun them easily)

35 posted on 04/25/2005 8:17:36 PM PDT by Constitution Day ("Frankenstein never scared me. Marsupials do ... 'cause they're FAST.")
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To: Dan from Michigan

I hope you put it on a couple years earlier than that. :-)


36 posted on 04/25/2005 8:18:41 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Larry Lucido

Doh! I was originally going to say "Draft Sanford in 08" and changed my post with airhead Debbie up in 06.


37 posted on 04/25/2005 8:21:31 PM PDT by Dan from Michigan ("This will help you with the pain - POW!!" - Jack Bauer)
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To: garyhope
I don't put bumper stickers on my car because I'm afraid the peaceful, tolerant, warm, loving, humanitarian ,fascist thugs of the "liberal" left will trash my car.

Yeah. They'll key a huge scratch down the side of your car.
They're such nice, friendly people(/s).

38 posted on 04/25/2005 8:22:30 PM PDT by concerned about politics (Vote Republican - Vote morally correct!)
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To: WorkingClassFilth
My all time favorite during the Clinton years - 'Where is Lee Harvey when you really need him?'

My favorite is:

EARTH FIRST! We'll log the other planets later.

39 posted on 04/25/2005 8:27:01 PM PDT by Maynerd
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To: qam1

I've had a Bush sticker on my rear window since the 2000 election and have no plans to remove it. Get some guts people. BTW, I drive a BMW and am not worried about vandalism.


40 posted on 04/25/2005 8:27:23 PM PDT by marblehead17 (I love it when a plan comes together.)
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To: qam1

I once had a bumper sticker with pictures of Beelzeflubba and "The Bride Of Satan". It said "Dual Airbags".


41 posted on 04/25/2005 8:27:54 PM PDT by sheik yerbouty
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Comment #42 Removed by Moderator

To: marblehead17

Good for you.
Mercedes here; see my #35.


43 posted on 04/25/2005 8:31:28 PM PDT by Constitution Day ("Frankenstein never scared me. Marsupials do ... 'cause they're FAST.")
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To: qam1

Whenever I see something with "tolerance" or "diversity" in it I feel as if it's a message from the Politburo.


44 posted on 04/25/2005 8:31:28 PM PDT by JoJo Gunn (Help control the Leftist population. Have them spayed or neutered. )
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To: Dan from Michigan

Butler '08 works for me.


45 posted on 04/25/2005 8:31:48 PM PDT by Fatalist
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To: Fatalist

er... that would be Butler '06 actually.


46 posted on 04/25/2005 8:33:18 PM PDT by Fatalist
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To: Fatalist; Dan from Michigan
er... that would be Butler '06 actually.

Soon as I find some I'll announce it.

47 posted on 04/25/2005 8:36:32 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: JoJo Gunn
Whenever I see something with "tolerance" or "diversity" in it I feel as if it's a message from the Politburo.

Not a bumper sticker, but this is a t-shirt in my closet right now:

_
_
_
_
(Not affiliated with the above site, but I like it)

48 posted on 04/25/2005 8:39:26 PM PDT by Constitution Day ("Frankenstein never scared me. Marsupials do ... 'cause they're FAST.")
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To: Spktyr
I have a friend who had a W-04 bumper sticker and his left doors were keyed and the sticker half way ripped off. More nice liberal tolerance.
49 posted on 04/25/2005 8:42:11 PM PDT by unkus
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To: The Mayor

On my car the politcal stickers I have is W... Still the president and I just ordered, Hate me... Im republican havent been vandalized and I live in downtown Portland, OR. Also have another sticker but it isnt politcal


50 posted on 04/25/2005 8:44:34 PM PDT by OregonRepublican (Jesus Loves you Allah wants you dead! Liberalism is a mental Disorder- Savage)
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