Posted by: nickgerlich | April 8, 2008

Bumper To Bumper

Here’s another good news/bad news scenario: The good news is that the internet allows everyone a chance at the microphone to speak their peace.

And the bad news: The internet allows everyone a chance at the microphone to speak their peace.

The result is often a cacophony of opposing ideologies, viewpoints, and diatribes for or against every position one might take.

PeaceMongerYesterday while riding my bike up to Amarillo, I fell in line behind a vehicle with an interesting bumper sticker. I love bumper sticker philosophy, because it speaks volumes about the occupant. This one said, with an interesting blend of symbols and letters, “Coexist.”

Now that’s a nice idea. Let’s all just coexist. Drop all pretenses. Check your armor at the door. Sing together in perfect harmony.

I then noticed the fine print (everything has fine print these days, including my blogs). The sponsoring organization is Peacemonger, which turns out to be a one-man show out of California. Operating under the banner of fundraising, charitable contributions, and Bush-bashing, Jerry Jasper has turned non-violent activism into a capitalistic enterprise. It’s your e-commerce source for every anti-establishment message you could ever care to display.

To be honest, I don’t have a problem with you or anyone else for espousing different viewpoints. After all, everyone has the “I’m different” gene in their DNA, and it is played out in a variety of ways. But, as Jasper has so eloquently demonstrated, we all have the same capitalistic, money-making gene buried deep within our flesh-and-blood existence.

Again, I must reiterate: I do not have a problem with opposing views. This is the fodder of academic dialog, of social discourse. The heterogeneity of thought is good for a nation and communities; homogeneity breeds sameness. And you know what they say about inbreeding. It’s not healthy.

But in this era of faceless e-commerce, you never really know with whom you are dealing. Wouldn’t it be funny if it turned out Mr. Jasper is a card-carrying member of the NRA and the Republican Party? And that he’s just a savvy entrepreneur capitalising on the sentiment of the moment?

Once again, I wish I had thought of this. The opaque separation between online vendor and customer is one that allows for a lot of creativity and profiteering.

Does anyone know where I can get some bumper stickers printed?

Dr “Still Trying To Visualize Whirled Peas…” Gerlich


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