Saturday, February 11, 2006

Bumper Sticker Watch 4.0

Sami got paid! I know, it happens like clockwork, every two weeks. But, like clockwork, every two weeks, it never fails to feel like a miracle. So, to celebrate the miracle that is a regular paycheck (I haven't had one since October) we set out to blow a wad of money on such frivolties as milk, bread, bananas and orange juice.

[note: you can actually blow your paycheck on fruit if you are drunk enough. There is a story about a relative of mine, long since dead, who on a binge somehow came home with a truck full of coconuts instead of a paycheck. His wife made him sell them by the side of the road, for whatever he could get for them, for the rest of the week.]

On the way to the grocery, however, we saw a bumper sticker so... well... words can't describe it. Anyway, since sharing audacious bumper stickers is becoming a recurring theme here, I just had to share this one with you. Bumper stickers can, after all, be so informative. So, without further ado, did you know that:


This was news to my wife. When she saw it she turned to me and playful said, "I didn't know I was a man. That's interesting."

I half expected the driver of the car sporting this eloquent statement to be a giant, ape-like redneck, who could eat my skinny, vegetarian liberal ass for breakfast and still be hungry. Alas the driver was short, staggeringly ugly, balding, unmuscled and bespectacled.

I know very few things in this world, but I am sure that I could have taken him. And given my ability to fight (or lack thereof - if all liberals were like me the bumper sticker might be true) that's really saying something.

But enough of this nonsense. I'm going to watch some curling! (Is curling on yet?)


Tom said...

The Alpha-Male asshole in me wants to go all W on him and say "bring it on"!

Brian Beech said...

Surely you both know that this a joke about what the "Goven-nator" said last year. I think it is a funny bumper sticker and not intended for true insult, rather a good laugh at a public speech that was made. See below.

“If they don’t have the guts to come up here in front of you and say, ‘I don’t want to represent you, I want to represent those special interests, the unions, the trial lawyers … if they don’t have the guts, I call them girlie men,”.

And guess what the liberals said... (from 'Democrats protested that the remark was sexist and homophobic.' I think that's just as funny.

Sandalstraps said...

On the one hand, the remark is both sexist and homophobic.

On the other hand, we bleeding hearts aren't exactly known for our sense of humor!

Maybe I'm playing into the stereotype, but I didn't think (intended as joke or not) that the bumper sticker was all that funny. Perhaps more funny unintentionally than intentionally.

That said, I appreciate Brian Beech's pointing out the (at least potential) humor in the bumper sticker. I'm ashamed to admit that I took it much more seriously than it deserved, even if I didn't take it very seriously.

Damned liberals! We don't get the jokes even if it might be some of our own making them!

Tom said...

I still don't see why sexist and homophobic remarks should be funny. There are a great deal of people who still think that racist statements are hilarious. They used to be pretty damned funny during lynchings.

I know that this is a bit of a stretch, but why should hatred and intolerance (even if it's "just a joke") ever be funny? And what does that say about the people who think it is?

Sandalstraps said...

I think that this might illustrate my distinction (made when discussing the Muhammad cartoons at Habakkuk's Watchpost) between making fun of something from the inside and making fun of something from the outside.

It is quite funny when my wife and I discuss some of the humorous elements of our marriage. And some of those humorous elements involve some stereotypical differences between men and women.

Better than that is that I often "play" the role of the woman, and she the role of the man.

Does that make me a "girlie man"? That depends on who calls me that, when they call me that, and why they call me that. When my wife and I are, in fun, mocking each other within the context of our relationship, it might be quite funny for her to call me that (though it would also be out of character for her). If a friend of mine in jest called me that, within the context of our friendship while appreciating the context of my marriage, it might also be funny. But if someone came in from outside any relationship with me and called me a girlie man as a term of derision, even if they meant it as "just a joke" (and we've all known that guy - the one who says, "Come on, guys, I was just joking! Don't you have a sense of humor?") it might be just rude.

But would it be sexist? Would it be homophobic? Would it cross the line between rude and offensive? I can't say.

Sometimes that line is crossed, and sometimes its still funny.

Mel Brooks movies are an excellent example of how that which is crass, crude, rude, insensitive, and unwelcome in "polite society" can often be hillarious. His method is to go after anything and everything. To him the only way to deal with some tragedies - like, say, the Holocaust - is to mock it until it no longer horrifies. The same is true for racism, religious intollerence (directed at a religion or coming from a religion) and almost anything else.

Is his work offensive? Damn right it is! But is it funny? Absolutely (Robin Hood: Men in Tights as a possible exception; and everyone should be allowed one flop).

So, what's the point here? Context is everything. The Muhammad cartoons at the very least failed to appreciate context. The bumper sticker may or may not have failed to appreciate context. If the sticker is really funny, then I failed to appreciate the context within which the sticker makes its joke (assmuing it's a joke).

One other thing about humor: My wife and I always say that if you have to explain your joke, then it isn't funny. Whenever I have to say, "See, it's funny, 'cause..." I know I've thrown out a dud.

Again, like all things, that's context dependant. (More later, maybe. I have a screaming baby!)

Brian Beech said...

I would say that your comments were a bit of a stretch. But I am curious how the term 'girlie men' is considered homophobic... Does this mean that you think, all or any, gay men are 'girlie'? You would have to connect the two as a whole to say that is homophobic, otherwise the statement could be made about any man.

When I read that, I did not think of gay men. I thought of the SNL skit that it was pulled from and how it was funny that he would play off of that skit in politics. Then I thought the sticker was funny (not laugh out loud funny, but smile funny) because one of two things was happening: Either the guy driving the car was a liberal and was showcasing the sticker to show people that think like him/her that Arnold (or possibly all republicans) 'don't know beans', or He was conservative and trying to make others remember the line/skit and that it was used in politics by Arnold and was not the norm of what politicians say "(The term "girlie men" comes from a "Saturday Night Live" skit in which two arrogant, Schwarzenegger-like weight lifters repeatedly use the phrase to insult people who don't have bulging biceps like theirs.)".

" but why should hatred and intolerance (even if it's "just a joke") ever be funny? And what does that say about the people who think it is? " --- If this is the case, think of all the comedy shows/specials that would be cancelled and off the air. Everything that is comedy has to do with someone else's mistakes, misunderstandings, prejudices, and differing beliefs. There would be no Daily Show because that promotes intolerance and hatred toward other's beliefs. Think about it.

Although I agree with most of your thoughts, there is one thing that can be hazy. The ‘if you have to explain your joke, then it isn't funny’ comment. I would say that is true 95% of the time, but also keep in mind that things can be funny to one and not another (the joke teller may have shown poor audience recognition). And some jokes are too intellectual, some too immature, some too crass, and some about events that one might not be aware of. The joke teller must feel out his audience, but obviously bumper stickers aren’t capable of such a thing and the people that showcase them probably don’t care. No, I do not have that bumper sticker on my car. :)

Sandalstraps said...

Humor, as I say, is context dependent. That means that if your audience doesn't find it funny, then in its context (which is the only context that matters at the moment of the joke) it isn't funny. Perhaps it could be funny in another context, but it isn't funny in the context in which it would have to be explained.

It also isn't funny once you analyze it, break it down, and try to figure out why it might be funny.

I have a friend who used to write some sketches at 2nd City in Chicago. He said that the experience almost ruined comedy for him, because he had to explain every joke that he wrote, telling the other writers who might find it funny and under which circumstances they might find it funny. Too much analysis kills a joke.

Now the question you have to ask is: "Is he saying this here to be ironic, and therefore funny; or is he saying this because the point is totally lost on him?"

Either way, that's the last time I comment on what is and is not funny, and why it is or is not funny. Let's let the jokes be!

Or, as my sister-in-law says, "You are so not funny."

As for the remark being homophobic: That rests on whether or not one calls mocking effeminite men homophobia. Personally I think that it stems from a kind of homophobia, because both are attempts to eliminate perceived threats to one's masculinity.