Bumper Stickers Make Highways More Social
“You know how it is when you’re driving behind a car and you notice the bumper sticker, and you think to yourself ‘Oh, it’s that kind of person’ or, ‘Why would somebody put that on their car?’”
Walter Goettlich, a sociology graduate student at the University of Kansas.
“I was coming back from a vacation with my family…and I was behind a car and the bumper sticker on the car was almost illegible, the type was really tiny and it said, ‘When this baby hits 88 miles an hour, you’re going to see some serious s**t.’”
This was Goettlich’s AHA! moment. As you may guessed, the bumper sticker was a reference to the movie Back to the Future. It’s moments like this, on the highway, driving at speed, that can seem so solitary, but in fact there are opportunities to connect—and with perfect strangers.“That’s’ what I’m trying to get at…the way that we think about the world, based on how we read what other people put on their cars.”
To sample the kinds of messages being sent on our roads, Goettlich drove more than 10,000 miles on interstate highways throughout the eastern United States. He says one major variety of bumper sticker refers to things nearly everyone knows about—an election, a church, a social issue.
But other bumper stickers may require an observer to access what Goettlich calls “outside resources.” For example, the bumper sticker that says, “The Dude Abides” might drive some people to do a quick Google search. But a few viewers may feel an instant bond, being fans of the movie The Big Lebowski.
但是有的贴纸可能要求观看者访问Goettlich称之的“外部资源”。例如，写道“The Dude Abides”的贴纸会让有些人快速进行谷歌搜索。但是有些观看者会立即想到，因为他们是电影《谋杀绿脚趾》的粉丝。
“So, the kinds of stickers I tend to like are the ones that don’t make sense to me, because what they do is they challenge my preconceived notions of the world.”
Another type of care sticker is a response to other stickers. For example, you know those window stickers of stick families? Some even include a stick dog or a stick cat? “And then I saw recently another example which was ‘making my family,’ and it was what were clearly male and female stick figures having sex.”
另一种类型的贴纸是对其他贴纸的回应。 例如，你知道家庭窗口贴纸吗? 有些甚至包括一只狗或一只猫? “最近我又看到了另一个“塑造我的家人”的例子，那就是明显的男性和女性的贴纸形象在啪啪。
And then there are the ones that say, “My son beat up your honor student.”
So, when you’re on the road, check the messages sent by other cars around you. You might just connect, in a way you never expected. And without even bending a fender.