Vellum Venom Vignette: In God We Trust?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
vellum venom vignette in god we trust

It’s funny how a college professor goes from cool to angry in a split second. Case in point: my first transportation design class at CCS. People showed off their designs as per usual, but one day I opened my big mouth. I mentioned that a classmate’s rendering sported wheels that looked like the Star of David. He seemed completely clueless about what he did. But I just had to “keep it real.” Oh boy, was that ever a mistake!

A design school that caters to the big automakers, staffed with adjunct professors who work in the business…well, they know better than some punk design student. My wrist was (kinda) slapped, and everyone was warned to not include religious symbolism in their products. Because everyone in this business wants to sell their product to anyone with green money. Nobody gives a crap as long as you can “splash the cash.”

Stop reading if you believe TTAC has no business discussing religion.

So anyway, I didn’t much care for the exposed holes in my 2011 Ranger’s bed, and I wanted some tie downs to take advantage of my “Truxedo” tonneau cover when carrying bags full of recycling. With four bedside hooks, I could strap down oversized cargo with two belts, and the big flappy hunk of Truxedo vinyl would keep the recycling from flying away.

So I bought these Bull Rings. Plus, from the photos I saw on the Internet, they look pretty awesome. A great piece of Industrial Design, worthy of kudos from any CCS professor. And worthy of a little positive Venom from this series.

I once read something in a Hindu temple suggesting that Universalism between religions exists. It was in stark contrast to the kids in grade school who told me I was going to hell for my beliefs. One person later gave me a half-hearted apology for that, but it proved a point. And I learned to get over it: that’s the beauty of growing older, I guess. Probably.

So when I installed these (easy to use, rather awesome) bits on my Ranger, I was surprisingly upset when I saw the fish icon under the ring. I didn’t pay for this, and I assume the BullRings sold by FoMoCo don’t have Christian symbolism hidden under the ring. Even worse, it’s been over a week and these things still upset me.

My truck. My money. I did not pay for the fish, and it was not advertised as such.

I never gave much thought to it, but my CCS professor was right to make a big deal about car design and religion. Religion has a very important place in our society, and I respect that. But when I pay for a piece of Industrial Design, I don’t expect a hidden religious message to go with.

If you want to share your message, do it like the kids did in grade school: shock me by calling me “Gandhi” or “Maharaja” (neither of which are insults) and make fun of my religion because it isn’t Christianity. I’ve always respected Christianity and have many friends in this faith who’d vouch for me, but these bits on my truck shall meet the grinding end of my Dremel tool. Sorry peeps: not on my truck, not with my money.

This isn’t what I signed up for, son. Once again: my truck and my money. I did not pay for the fish, and it was not advertised as such.

Off to you, Best and Brightest.

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2 of 158 comments
  • Mullholland Mullholland on Jun 18, 2012

    Sajeev, Firing up your Dremel and spending even a moment grinding is a desire too engaged with the opposing/offending force. Eastern belief systems would encourage detachment. What you need to seek out is a sticker/badge of the world's smallest Ford blue oval, but just big enough to cover the fish. Now, let's have a deep cleansing breath.

  • 300zx_guy 300zx_guy on Jun 19, 2012

    Sajeev, admit it, this is really about your distaste for black plastic triangles, and that's what you see when you look at the fish's tail.

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