the united states of signs, warnings and bumper stickers

While visiting the U.S. I noticed a tendency in people that you don’t see as much here in Finland. People like to make their opinion obvious, so they print it everywhere: in yards, on walls and especially, on cars.. The big thing in the U.S. seems to be bumper stickers;  I guess my version of them would be t-shirts. Bumper-stickers tell you a lot about the person driving the car: which party they vote for, if they have kids, if they believe in god, what their view on climate change is. Coming from a culture where this isn’t as common, it intrigued me. So I took pictures of the things I found interesting; signs, warnings, advertisements, shop names, bumper-stickers. You can see some of them here, with some explanation of what I find confusing or just interesting about them.

So without further babbling, here’s my sample. I hope you enjoy them; feel free to offer your own interpretations or explanations!

People happily showed how patriotic (I can’t stand that word…) they are. Or maybe it was just a statement of fact? Indeed, there is only one union like the one in the U.S., and only one flag that looks like that! (not only one with stars and stripes, though)

My favourite, so early on in the post! We walked past this sign in West Virginia; it says, “Proud and Armed Dad of 2 Beautiful Girls”.

I interpreted this as some sort of climate change denial, but maybe I was wrong. Maybe the people who own the car really just like more extreme and unpredictable weather? Or maybe they just have a coal fetish…

This was one of the longer texts I saw on a car… And I have to say, it made me a bit nervous to be in traffic with someone with that attitude.

In such a nice and cozy place with such a lovely sunrise, this warning seemed quite aggressive… Made me wonder if they had big problems with trouble-makers going through their property there.

This didn’t seem like the most brilliantly planned sign; a lot of important information in a small space. It’s also not that intuitive, I found – it takes quite a while to read it, and by that time you know you’re not allowed to cross anymore!

An emergency exit… And it takes the door 30 seconds to open?

I was very disappointed when I had to leave my pistol and knife behind to get into the museum… But honestly, it was very strange to me to have to go through security in order to be allowed to enter a science museum.

More intriguing signs. Why are you telling the world this? Why not your supervisor, your colleagues or the teacher? Or do people call in to have school buses checked for sleeping children? Or, maybe the driver is just letting the world know that they’re very good at keeping the students awake – thus there are no sleeping children…?

… And for this, no one else can be blamed but me; but I found many shop names quite surprising and funny. Here’s one, below are two more.

Advertisements: revealing the gender stereotypes of the U.S.? The big man with his aggressive gun and actual facial features, and the tiny super-made-up photoshopped woman being stupidly happy with a diet pepsi. Or maybe it’s just me seeing what I want to see.

Maybe, but maybe not.  Marines, protect the country so that women who just became mothers can make sure they’re hair-free right after birth! And the marines are committing some deadly sins there.

We didn’t really see any protests while in New York, but it was fun to see at least this.

And last, my favourite quote from the trip! It’s not a bumper-sticker, nor an ad, but it could be on my t-shirt…

7 thoughts on “the united states of signs, warnings and bumper stickers

    • Indeed it would… But that’s why it’s nice hanging out with people who aren’t originally from your own country – you get quite a new view of it! 🙂

      • Very true. I have been fascinated to touch base with people from so many different countries.

  1. An interesting cross section of American signs and slogans. I think this is probably a fruitful way to approach any new culture, though you may end up learning as much about yourself as the place you’re visiting.

    Oh, and the last one is obviously my favourite. 🙂

    • Yes, I think you’re right; it’s a great way of seeing what it was I paid attention to as well, apart from just what is different in the new country. It’s a fun way to get to know a place, too!

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

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