Frank Lloyd Wrong

Tucson, Arizona (10/4/1971)


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Half-hatched Messages
kitty
flw

I recall a bumpersticker I saw a while ago. It read, "Capitalism: Making lazy people whine since 1776." Now, I know the point of this bumpersticker is that the message transmitter, the car owner, was announcing, "I'm not lazy, unlike all you pieces of shit who I have to WORK for and support. You shiftless Liberal scum." Something like that. And the 1776 part is either in reference to the Declaration of Independence or The Wealth of Nations. I'm not sure which, if either. The point is that there is a Gilded Age, in the past, when people weren't lazy, liberal pieces of shit like YOU, but rather, they were manly, responsible, real MEN, god dammit! LIKE ME. You piece of shit. And of course, by "lazy people" they could be implying some racist garbage too.

Now I don't want to get bogged down in the specifics of this one bumpersticker. What gets me is the perplexing, self-contradictory non-sequiteurs that people manage to pack into bumpersticker length aphorisms. When you see one, you think, "Okay... I sort of get what you are trying to say, but... What the fuck? You make no sense." These messages seem to come from a different world that I do not understand. In many cases, I can't understand them because they make no sense.

I can try to parody them, but it never quite works. I don't actually believe the nonsense. So, it's difficult to capture the essence. And the people who (sort of) hold these views are aware of how stupid they look to other people. But they also think everyone else is stupid for not "getting it." The messages come from a place of deluded doublethink. And the holders of these views are perfect vessels of doublethink. When you ask, "What the hell does that even mean?" They sense that you are digging for more information so as to more effectively mock them. So they will often play it off as a joke. The message is not meant to make sense. It's made to make nonsense to other people who think nonsensically, the way they think nonsensically. It's not JUST a dogwhistle though. It's a nonsense dogwhistle. These messages aren't a simple 2+2=5. They aren't just nonsense arithmetic. They are nonsense algebra built on a long list of unstated 2+2=5 propositions.

I'd like more examples, if you see them out in the wide world.

Things like, "Out of work? Like Healthcare? Try Hillary. Yeah, right. Call me in the morning!"

What? What could this possibly even mean? That's not something I saw. I am trying to make up examples of this kind of nonsense. But it's hard to think nonsensically on purpose. There's a big element of unstated premises in there. The message presumes the receiver holds many premises in common with the transmitter.

Don't like starving? Try Obamacare. As if! Mow your own lawn.


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Not really on topic, but you just reminded me of a bumper sticker I saw a month ago or so. I wanted to tell you about it but promptly forgot.

Someone had a Bernie sticker on their car. Then there was a (possibly homemade) sticker underneath it, which said something like, "OK, fine, Hillary then."

Didn't you once tell me about a bumper sticker with some message about joining a war while most Americans are at the shopping mall? We couldn't tell if it was meant to lionize veterans (for actually caring about 'Murica while other 'Muricans are just buying junk) or somehow be anti-war (in the sense that if Americans would wake up and stop bowing to the gods of all things material, they'd realize what horrors are being inflicted on the world). The only thing that seemed somewhat clear was that it was anti-consumerist.

Hmm! Not saying it didn't happen, but I have zero memory of that. Maybe flw remembers.

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