By on May 10, 2012

When you need to get your message through to the ignorant hypnotized masses, what do you do? Why, paint that message in small shaky painted type on your Dodge Aspen!
Those of you who are not familiar with the tiny-print rantings printed on every possible space on bottles of Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-One liquid soap should probably head over to the Straight Dope’s explanation. The example cited by Cecil goes like this: “Replace half-true Socialist-fluoride poison & tax-slavery with full-truth, work-speech-press & profitsharing Socialaction! All-One! So, help build 4 billion Hannibal wind-power plants, charging 96 billion battery-banks, powering every car-factory-farm-home-monorail & pump, watering Babylon-roof-gardens & 800 billion Israel-Milorganite fruit trees, guarded by Swiss 6000 year Universal Military Training.”
Dr. Bronner has an important message, and so does the owner of this Aspen in Denver. Cars are very popular canvases for lengthy and complex manifestos, no doubt because they move around and have a lot of square feet to work with. I’m going to start photographing each one that I see.

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52 Comments on “What Is It With the Dr. Bronner-Style Tirades Painted On Cars?...”


  • avatar
    Battlehawk

    Paranoid schizophrenia.

    I do like the use of black tape to get more writing surface with the white paint.

  • avatar
    aristurtle

    Back when I was in Binghamton, there was a local who wanted to spread some kind of long, rambling message but couldn’t afford a car, so he wrote it all over his clothes and rode the bus.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    Lots longer than the message on my car: Help, the sky is falling.

    I know it eventually will and everyone will remember that I said it first except for some anonymous barnyard foul.

  • avatar
    Thinkin...

    Many thanks Mr. Martin, for the reference to the good Dr. Bronner. It needs no explanation to me – I’ve been minty fresh for the past 20+ years. Ahh the irony of hippy soap.

    BTW – What’s your ETJF on this one? (Estimated Time to Junkyard Find)

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      I always preferred the tea tree version over the peppermint.

      Also, I can’t read through the whole label before the shower runs out of hot water.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    That’s a lot of rust for a Colorado car.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    I’ve seen something like this on Chrysler Concordes, Dodge Intrepids and maybe a few other select vehicles but the subject of the rant is generally the car itself and its similarity to a certain small, yellow, very sour citrus fruit.

  • avatar
    LectroByte

    I see stuff like that around here in red-state JesusLand Hell, but it is usually the 10 Commandments, followed by other bible verses etc., and maybe the second and tenth amendments of the Constitution. And maybe something about coal mining and so on, too. That way I at least know which crazies to avoid.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Don’t forget that every blue city/state/college town hell has cars covered with bumper stickers for every lefty cause you can think of, and some you can’t imagine. “Coexist” is required, all others are optional.

      Crazy does not have to be hand written; it can be pre-printed as well. Both ends of the political spectrum have too many examples to count.

      BTW, are predominantly christian areas really hell? I’m not religious but don’t find the 10 commandments to be that annoying. If you think Jesusland people are that bad, try going to the middle east and ranting about MohammadLand hell. Make sure your life insurance is paid up before you give it a try.

      • 0 avatar
        wstarvingteacher

        Thank you Toad. That bit of common sense will hardly go unchallenged. There is so much idiocy on both ends of the political spectrum that I have cancelled several RSS subscriptions. I think if we all did we might develop some corporate sanity.

      • 0 avatar
        rentonben

        Women with that “Coexist” sticker on their non-UAW car; They’d last ten seconds before they were stoned if they tried driving around in Mecca with that setup.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Coexist. With the people who bomb schools for teaching girls to read, throw acid in women’s eyes for showing their faces in public, stone raped women to death to redeem the family honor.

        I don’t remember who originally said it, but we gave the Jesusland-Is-Hell crowd the war against barbaric fundamentalism that they always wanted and they wouldn’t take it because that would mean siding with America.

      • 0 avatar
        onyxtape

        There was a beater in Seattle (around Ravenna) that was absolutely covered with bumper stickers by its peacenik owner. Nothing overtly offensive, just lots of stuff wishing for peace, end of war and domestic violence, etc. But half the back windshield was covered.

        One day the car was firebombed. Sort of proves her point.

        Are bumper stickers uniquely American? I don’t seem to see them in statistically significant numbers anywhere else in the world.

      • 0 avatar
        multicam

        I certainly agree there is no limit of stupidity on both ends of the political spectrum. Radicalism is never good, no matter where it’s pointed.

        The problem I have with those Coexist stickers is that they’re preaching to the choir. Besides the small minority of Americans who commit violent crimes, we’re all coexisting already… to coexist merely means to live and let live. The vast majority of people don’t try to end other people’s existence. Just like the word “tolerance” is misunderstood. If I tell my friend how much a crying baby on a plane annoys me but I don’t do anything about it, I am both coexisting and being tolerant. People confuse tolerating with liking.

        Of course, I suspect the Coexist bumper sticker flower children probably have a different definition in mind. What they mean by coexist is “think like I do.” So really, they’re being fascists. Stop telling me how to think!

        /rant

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        “One day the car was firebombed. Sort of proves her point.”

        Hilarious, about made my day. Personally I think you shouldn’t advertise much on your car for precisely that reason, your business is yours and mine is mine. Although here in Western PA I typically don’t see much in the way of these stickers with the exception of the occasional band name(s), but when I do its always something loud and subversive as in your firebombed car.

      • 0 avatar
        LectroByte

        Middle East? Why bring that up, I don’t live or drive there at all.

      • 0 avatar
        pdieten

        What I take away from this comment is that you assume that all Muslims are fundamentalists. I hope you don’t think that, because that would not be accurate. Muslims I know are, on balance, generally pleasant and tolerant people who happen to come from a different tradition.

        The sort of people who put Coexist stickers on their cars are just as opposed to fundamentalist Islam as they are to fundamentalist Christianity, or fundamentalist anything. It might sound tautological to say they’re intolerant of intolerance, but that really is the sentiment behind those things.

        Just for the record, none of this is to say that any number of people who sport stickers like this aren’t blithering idiots without a complete understanding of how the world actually works.

        Also for the record, I don’t put any bumper stickers on my car. I see no reason to advertise opinions on a vehicle, and it’s not good for the paint.

      • 0 avatar
        onyxtape

        It’s hilarious when I see opinionated or political bumper stickers on business vehicles driven by plumbers / constractors / real estate agents. In today’s vitriolic climate, you’re voluntarily eliminating a good chunk of potential customers.

      • 0 avatar
        Patrickj

        @onyx
        I believe it is about as foolish a thing as a small business owner can do.

        If I agree with them, I take it as a sign that they are probably not all that good at business.

        If I disagree, I take it as a warning that they’re not capable of getting along with anybody who doesn’t think like them.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      I can imagine the ban-hammer being dusted off as I write…

      Actually, that rant and Dr. What’s-his-face’s musings recalls to mind trying to read all the stuff on the box of “Screaming Yellow Zonkers” back in 1969! Stuff was pretty good, if I do say so myself.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    Seems like a bit much to take in while sitting at a red light.

    The writing on the back of my car is less complicated.

    It consists of “Ford”, “Escape XLT”, and “Dean Arbour Ford, Tawas”

    That’s enough :)

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      As is mine: “Chevrolet” on the upper left, Impala emblem down in the middle and “Impala” on the upper right. As it should be.

      No dealer name, and NEVER a bumper sticker…ever…

      • 0 avatar
        onyxtape

        What’s the deal with the dealers who paint their logo on cars? I don’t see much of that in Seattle, but a lot of cars from the rural states seemed to get them (even a 3-series would have them if they’re from, say, Idaho). Do the buyers get $500 off to advertise or something?

  • avatar

    We affectionately refer to Dr Bronner’s as “crazy people soap” in our household.

    Unequaled in pulling grease off dishes and car-work-clothes alike.

    Never ever understood the presumed effectiveness of 500+ word rants on cars. Has anyone, anywhere ever stopped to read one and thought “you know, this guy has a point. Maybe I should reconsider [common ranty person cause]“?

    • 0 avatar
      rentonben

      A car rant saved me from the Illuminati conspiracy. I saw the light on the way to a Masonic meeting. Good thing I hadn’t yet joined the Shriners, as the hold would have been to strong.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    After having grown up in the fairly conservative Midwest, but where it was a quiet conservatism and the only bumper sticker you would see would say something like “Prolife and I Vote”, the thing I love about living in the Southwest is the diversity.

    I’m equally likely to see cars plastered with bible verses, “This Vehicle Defended by Smith & Wesson”, “Stay Back I Chew Redman”, “Nobama” & “Coexist”, “War is Not the Answer”, “Monica Lewinsky’s Ex-Boyfriend’s Wife for President”, “Who Would Jesus Hate”. My favorite is when two cars with absolutely different messages are parked next to each other in the Church parking lot.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      Screenshot it or it didn’t happen.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Man I need a cheap easy to use digital camera. I have a smart phone but didn’t really buy it for the camera and don’t really care for the way its camera operates.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      The funniest bumper sticker I ever saw was “Jesus saves – and so should you, at First National Bank”!

    • 0 avatar
      RedStapler

      One of the things that threw me for a loop when I first moved to Northern NV was seeing lefty bumper stickers you’d expect on a Subaru or Volvo wagon on large diesel dual drive pickups. One of my coworkers has his NRA life member sticker on the back of his Prius.

  • avatar
    Slab

    I can’t remember the last car rant I saw, but I regularly see memorials on cars. Is that a southwest thing?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Wellllllllllllll it generally coincides with certain demographics but I have seen it cross cultural lines with families that have been living in the Rio Grande Region for enough generations. (I say that as both a student of culture/history and as someone about to marry into one of those old Southwestern families that followed Onate on his expedition.)

      Crosses at the site of accidents are very common too and yes that is a cultural/historical thing as well. Comes in real handy in figuring out where the dangerous intersections and curves are. ;)

    • 0 avatar
      210delray

      I now see the memorials regularly in predominantly white, rural Greene County, Virginia, where I work.

      I NEVER saw those crosses growing up in Western PA nor in other areas of the Northeast or Midwest where I lived. I’d say they started popping up about 15 years ago in my current area of residence (central VA), about the same time tattoos were starting their (surprising to me) comeback.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    As the exception that proves the rule, I must point out that not all long-haired, bearded, hippie-looking, tie-dye wearing types actually ARE left-wing or left-leaning Obama supporters. I adopted this look in 1968 and I just wanna let my freak flag fly. But no bumper stickers on my cars, please.
    P.S.- @EducatorDan- my LG tracfone has a GREAT ‘MEGAcamera’ in it- better than my last “camera”, in fact.

    • 0 avatar
      rentonben

      Seconded, there’s a lot of good hard-working people that look like hippies but are more of a “live and let-live” type than they are a “do what I tell you type.”

      I *love* meeting people like that because they truly are what america is all about: self-suficenty, freedom and not keeping others down.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    As a detailer, I HATE bumper stickers! All of them, why not just get a paint brush and have at it. Lucky for me, the ones I get are the magnet kind that peel off leaving a perfect paint spot in a sea of oxidized filth, unless they’re paying for buffing, it gets cleaned and spot recovered by same magnet sticker.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    For years, I had the lyrics to Rupert Holmes’ Escape/Pina Colada song on the back of my car. My wife at the time, was not amused. But she’s the one who gave me the idea, when I read the lyrics written on the back of her Hyundai.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      My wife at the time, was not amused.

      Which is why she is no longer your wife. Takes a while sometimes to find a woman who truly “gets you”.

      • 0 avatar
        joeveto3

        Wow, Dan! Of all the people on here, I thought you’d “get” my “joke” and the lame early 80′s Rupert Holmes reference. I guess it really wasn’t that funny.

        See, every time I hear that song, I can’t help but wonder what happened when the two of them showed up at the same place looking for someone else. They had to end it. Right? Am I the only one who loses sleep over this crap?

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Sorry Amigo, I took it at face value. An off handed funny comment looses so much in this medium without facial expressions and intonation of voice.

        I used to like that song but trapped in a department store during my my colleg years listening to “music” cured me of that song.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    I’m not a bumper sticker guy, but my favorite a Toyota Tundra that had “yes, my truck is made in USA”. Simple truth.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    I’m not a bumper sticker guy, but my favorite a Toyota Tundra that had “yes, my truck is made in USA”. Simple truth.

    I put a “Don’t Mess with Texas” bumper sticker on the back of a Penske rental truck, it had Oklahoma plates. Didn’t want folks to get the wrong idea (it’s ok, my mom is an Okie).

    • 0 avatar
      Geekcarlover

      When people would rag on me for for riding a “rice burner”, I enjoyed pointing out my Kawasaki was built in the ancient eastern land of Lincoln Nebraska.

  • avatar
    ranwhenparked

    I had a guy like this in my town, never did it to his car, but every week like clockwork there would be a different hand painted plywood billboard in his front lawn. It started in the early 90s under Bush 41, continued under Clinton, on into Bush 43. The President’s name was always mentioned, but it was pretty well impossible to discern any sort of coherent political message or statement, as the rantings never had anything to do with current events, they were just totally disconnected paranoid rantings based on whatever popped into his head that day.

    One day, he went over the line a bit and the Secret Service paid him a visit. The signs stopped for a few years after that, but started up again recently.

    Don’t know what he’s mad about now, but it has something to do with either Obama or fracking.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Those rolling obits on back windows or trunk lids kind of annoy me especially the gang related ones. Just morn in peace and leave the rest of us be. Besides we need to keep our eyes on the road ensuring ours as well as other families safety is not compromised so none of us end up as a casuality. Yes, we really sympathize but enough already.

  • avatar
    turtletop

    I’ve seen quite a few text cars over the years, which I define as largely covered in hand-painted messages, as opposed to bumper stickers or other ready-made graphics. I love running across them out in the wild, it’s like finding a random folk art exhibit out on the street!

    Political and religious screeds are the most common, along with the indecipherable scrawling of raving nutters, those airing their beef with foes real or imagined, and the grievances of those who’ve been wronged. You can occasionally see some forms of literature or poetry, too.

    Contrast is important, as is small print, available surface area and a willingness to use any available space.

    To my eye, continuing in black text is the obvious choice for the Aspen.

    While the message behind text cars is not always clear, seeing them makes me feel better, a sign that at least for the moment, the country I live in still protects everyone’s speech. As it should be.

    That’s freedom parked out on that snowy side street in Colorado,my friends.


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