Thursday, May 12, 2005


"Lives per gallon"? New slogan needed!

What's wrong with this picture?

As recently as two years ago, I would go about my business heavily laden with books or work material in a briefcase or backpack, but with not one single piece of consumer electronics. Today, my backpack is weighted down with cell phone, laptop, laptop acccessories and -- yes -- my new digital camera. I'm a roving media machine.

I love having my digital camera on me, and carry it all the time -- almost all the time. Inexplicably I did not have it with me this morning to photograph the bumper sticker on the vehicle parked outside of my coffee shop, Grandma Moses.
The irony was so dizzying that I quickly developed a headache.

Several hours later, I returned, camera in hand, to the spot where the vehicle was parked to snap a photo. But it was gone. I even drove around the neighborhood briefly, looking for it. Please note that the photos below are a facsimile of both the Jeep Wrangler and the bumper sticker I actually saw on the right corner of the rear bumper.

The vehicle in questions sported this bumper sticker (a facsimile of which I found on line):

lives per gallon

The "lives per gallon" slogan is presumably a slam on military policies designed to protect our supply of foreign oil. Fair enough -- I don't disagree with the sentiment of raising strong questions about that.

But the vehicle bearing this bumper sticker was .... wait for the irony .....

a Jeep Wrangler:


The one I saw on the street was dark green, and a much older model, but I think you'll see that the point is pretty much the same. The 2005 Jeep Wrangler is advertized as getting a somewhat gas guzzling 18 mpg city/21 mpg highway; figuring that the real figures are even less, and that the older model gets even worse mileage, you have to ask "WTF is this guy thinking??"

But the irony is even more twisted. Arithmetically speaking, the more gas we consume, the lower the number of lives lost per gallon! Weird huh?

So maybe real patriots do indeed drive Hummers?

"Lives per gallon" is a catchy way to convey the "blood for oil" message, but at some point, doesn't the logic of the English language (and simple math) subvert the message? Maybe these bumper stickers ought to be recalled.


I suspect that bumper-sticker writers are less concerned about precision in language -- or concept -- than law professors. I also suspect that they are generally less intelligent than law professors...
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