Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Slap a yellow ribbon...

Over that metal plate in your head. I wasn't going to comment on the magnetic ribbon phenomenon, but I've just reached a point where I'm fed up with them. Now, don't get me wrong, the initial sentiment behind them is great and all, but there are many other ways to show support for our troops. This (at best) displaced patriotism or (at worst) jingoism being spread through car magnets is pathetic. While I have never actually even looked at these ribbons in stores, I have no doubt that people are overpaying to display their feality patriotism. What ever happened to buying a quarter's worth of yellow ribbon and tying it to your car antenna? Have we all gotten so lazy (or "busy") as a society that we can't even be troubled to actually tie a piece of ribbon in a knot (oh the horror!)?
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun Times has done two articles about these ribbons, the first discussing the crop of these magnets sprouting up everywhere, and even the false patriotism being espoused by the sellers of these magnets.
The Web sites selling these ribbons are multiplying more rapidly than a child genius at a mathlete competition. Some of these sites promise that the proverbial "portion of the proceeds" will go to some military-related good cause. Others make no mention of doing anything but pocketing the profits, though they have no qualms about playing the patriotic card in the ad copy.

Some manufacturers, including companies called Magnet America and USA Magnets and More, make a point of telling you their products are actually made in this country. But there's no shortage of "Support Our Troops!" ribbons that come from such cradles of democracy as China.
His second article grew off of a question he posed at the very end of the first article.
But these ribbons are magnetic, which means they're removable, yes? So I wonder: has anyone been a victim of ribbon-stealing?
Well, wonder of wonders, yes, people have sunk so low as to even steal the ugly things.
When I wrote about the magnetic ribbon craze three weeks ago, I wondered if anyone had been the victim of a ribbon theft. Are there petty thieves out there who would sink so low as to swipe car ribbons pledging support for American troops or advocating a cure for breast cancer?

Well of course there are. I would have been shocked if I hadn't heard tales of ribbon thievery.

However, I didn't expect to hear from so many of you -- more than 100 and counting.
So, now that means that people are not only too lazy to actually tie a piece of ribbon on their car, it also means that some people are so cheap as to not even buy that magnetic ribbon (what does that say about a person?) I have other problems with these ribbons, but the main one that people seem to forget is that automotive paint fades over time (just like those ribbons), so eventually, you're going to have "a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling" in the shape of a ribbon on your car.
There's now even a company that will let you "make your own ribbon". Pomo Sideshow offers magnetic parody and protest ribbons, and will let you put whatever message on it you want. Richard Roeper writes:
You select your own slogan, design and size, and he'll create your own custom-cut ribbons. Among the suggested slogans:
"Where Is Your Ribbon?"
"God Bless Jingoist Ribbons"
"My Ribbon is Bigger Than Yours"
"I Hate Ribbons"
"I Temporarily Support the Troops"
And my personal favorite:
"God Bless the Magnetic Ribbon Industry"
Order one today for someone you love. In the meantime, I'm creating my own ribbon slogan:
"If You're Stealing This, Your Mother Raised a Moron."
If you really care to support the troops, don't buy a damn magnetic ribbon. Give the money directly to an organization that will do so. Don't know where to find these organizations? Try here. There are dozens and dozens of organizations that would happily accept your money or your time and put it to a much better use.