Friday, July 27, 2012

Question authority

On the streets of the city where I live you can see cars so completely covered with bumper stickers that you wonder whether the vehicle would disintegrate without them. These are not the kind promoting political candidates but ones chosen to advertise some viewpoint, and often, seemingly, calculated to provoke. If you took the time to peruse them you would have no doubt about the worldview — even the personality — of the car's owner. They are, of course, slogans, not arguments.

Man In The Woods blog nominates his candidates for "The 7 Most Annoying Bumper Sticker Slogans of the Past 20 Years" and introduces his list with this:
In a world of bumper sticker slogans, one occasionally runs across an amusing, if not thought-provoking, message. That said, it is far more common to see one that simply annoys you. Sure, it may not be the worst message in the world, but after seeing it a hundred or so times it becomes a little like that song that is overplayed on the radio (need I mention Hootie and the Blowfish?). The other problem is that it comes off as a bit of the old "hit and run" mentality. Because I am anonymous, I can yell anything at you I want, and I don't have to bother listening to your response. Hah! I have won an argument that I don't even have to defend, because my opponent has been reduced to silence... sort of. ....
One of his choices:

There is also a similar one out there which says; "Question Everything." At any rate, both essentially amount to the same thing. I will not be daft and pretend that I don't understand where people are coming from when they make this statement. Read with a charitable eye this is saying that one should not just accept something without thinking critically about it. Absolutely, I would agree 100%. But this goes right to the heart of what's generally lacking from many of these back bumper formulations. They have no context! Unfortunately, I fear that many of the people who place them on their cars don't have any either. It is fine to say; "Question Authority", but what does that mean? Why are you questioning it? Is there any authority that is good? If you decide to reject that authority, what will you replace it with? If I had a bumper sticker on the theme of authority, I think I would have it say; "Question Anarchy". There is a profound shallowness in thinking that authority is intrinsically a wicked thing. There will always be an authority, the only real question is whether that authority is benevolent or wicked. That is question we should be asking. .... [more]
Man In the Woods: The 7 Most Annoying Bumper Sticker Slogans of the Past 20 Years