Being a Baby Boomer, I’ve seen almost every type of self expression possible. People “singing songs and carrying signs,”* draft card burning, bra burning, Burning Man, “Don’t burn coal,” stop heartburn, etc.
Today, it seems like the purpose of self expression is to actually avoid communicating–and we’re doing a fine job. I discount much of the Internet; why would I want to read a rant from “Pigelbows965?” For that matter, why would I want to read anything he/she/it (Hey, it could be a bot.) has to say on any topic?
There are some legitimate discussions that are better if they’re conducted anonymously, but spewing hatred does not qualify. Everyone–or at least everyone with a brain–is learning to filter, refilter, and then HEPA filter anything they read on the Internet. Too many people, nation-states, terrorist groups, and Artificial Intelligence programs are using the Internet to further their own agendas at our expense.
However, the communications media that puzzles me most today are the decals on people’s cars. The witty? insulting? provocative? or even altruistic text on windows are so small, or so stylistic that it is impossible, unless you drive your car onto their trunk, to read. “In Loving Memory of—” whom? Some are trying to advertise a product, but it’s usually impossible to read the product name, much less the website or phone number. Then they wonder why their fail-safe franchise went bottom up.
Many in the bumper sticker crowd must compete to see who can fit the most stickers across the back of the car.
The windshield decals and the bumper stickers are a far worse distraction than any cell phone. States might work at declaring them “distracted driving” and make them illegal, unless it’s actually a marketing campaign by the personal injury lawyers and the auto body repair shops. (They have a lot of well-paid lobbyists)
*Buffalo Springfield, For What It’s Worth