Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Do The Math.

The guy who put up this sign, "Liar Tap", just wrote in to tell me that this one:

was still up after six days. The sign cost me about fifty cents in materials, took about an hour to paint, if that, and by now has probably been read close to a million times, if not more.

If you can think of a more effective way to spread a message, let me know.


Bejammin075 said...

Hi Freeway,

I am working on a 2-pronged attack: Mega Bumper Stickers and Mega Freeway Blogging.

1. Revolutionary bumper stickers. I don't think it is effective to have a zillion commercially available bumper (therefore watered down) stickers all over the car. I am making my own (I sent email with pic) that are MUCH BOLDER than anything you could buy, packed with a lot of truth and info. Also, when you make your own bumper stickers, if it is worth saying, it is worth saying in BIG FUCKING LETTERS. Heh. I just sent in my prototype to the email thing that asks for pictures of signs.

I get the blank bumper stickers from Planet Label. They are water-proof vinyl, and can be printed from an inkjet printer. My first (modest) bumper sticker weatherd just fine for months. I made the design in Power Point.

2. I am going to implement a different strategy for the Freeway blogging. Your tips are great, but I've got to do a Sinatra on this one, and do it 'my way'. My target road is a toll road that has high volume, and no exits for a long stretch. Captive audience on a road with no twists or turns. There are 6 usable bridges that cross/overlook this toll road. My plan is to first construct a sign with unobjectionable content: "Free Speech - Use It Or Lose It". Here, it will be the opposite of the FB-style signs: It will be super-duper incredibly large, robust, re-usable (You have me sold on the idea of painted cardboard, reinforced with duct tape. I'll likely need to put some thin wooden slats around the edges to reinforce it enough). I will stay with the prototype sign while I have it up. Perhaps attachable wooden polls will need to extend to the ground, so that holding up the sign is more like balancing it. The 1st prototype will be like fly-paper for the local law enforcement to see if they have grounds to object to the logistics of the sign. The 6 bridges are located in 4 townships. I will deploy this sign in each of the townships to see what happens. Once I establish that those specific locations are OK to express my Constitutional rights, I will make new signs with new content, using the same robust sign construction.

My plan is to take some time on certain mornings, and stand with the signs (which will be quite provacative...) facing over the busy highway. At first, I will have only 1 re-usable sign. Over time, I will build a collection/repertoire of signs. When I can get more people involved, I will do multiple-bridge jobs, where we go out and deploy simultaneously. One benefit of this, is that between the provacative content and huge size, the spectacle-ness of it will likely get local media coverage, especially if we give the media a heads up. I don't mind doing these types of arts and crafts things. Whatever it takes to save democracy. Once I get a handful of signs in my collection, I will be the 'ringleader' and whoever I can round up to deploy the signs doesn't need to know how to do sign construction, they just need to get a sign and go to a certain bridge at a certain time. I'll just keep re-using the signs, with whoever is available. If more people get involved, I can loan the signs out.

Another thing: I think for the next 8 months, we need to be BOLD. My signs are going to attract the wingnuts. I will be prepared with literature, and I will be prepared to debate/counter them. Did you ever hear of the WWII pilot Charles LeMay? That's my style. Bold. Stand My Ground. Don't Take No Shit. Meet the enemy head on. Point directly at the heart of the enemy and pierce forward. Basically, LeMay was a bomber pilot, and the bombers kept getting shot down when they would take evasive action when the enemy fighters would show up. The big, slow planes would get shot up when they turned away from the enemy. LeMay had the crazy idea of flying the bombers straight at the fighters and not veering off target. It substantially reduced the number of US bombers that got shot down, but people thought it was crazy until he did it.

Here is another aspect: I will be going to the same locations repeatedly. Those driving the AM rush hour will get my messages ingrained again and again and again.


I'm going to a local anti-war rally today to shop around the idea of the mega-bumper sticker.

The message content is 3-fold on 3 mega stickers. I have the current version (on Iraq) but this could be applied to Katrina, or whatever.

1. make a bold, devastating claim:

"America Was Lied
Into War...

2. Back it up with facts that can be verified later for the curious & furious, so the middle bumper sticker references the downing street website.

3. Tie it to my local Republican, like a dead smelly fish strung around his neck:

"Rep. Gerlach (R)
PA District 6
Will Never Hold
Bush Accountable"

I call this stragy "Smearing them with the brutal truth". I want to pitch the idea to the other local antiwar activists. If they are even 1/3 as freaked out as I am over what is happening to our country, they should be willing to sacrifice the space on their bumper. Imagine. Imagine I can talk all of them into doing it. Not just these people, but all the people who feel as we do. Our bumpers are a vast, unused resource! It doesn't necessarily need to be the exact sticker I reference above. We could have local production and distribution. The ones I've made so far are on Power Point. I can email others the slides, they can get their own blank lables, and print away.

We should be willing to be bold. The Bush administration is bold enough to start a war based on lies. They are bold enough to take away our rights. We must be bold enough to take them back. We must be bold enough call him out on his lies. We must be brave for our soldiers, because they are brave for us, and we cannot let their lives go to waste any further.

Bejammin075 said...

Forgot to add, I'm still in the logistics/planning phase and entering into proof-of-concept phase, on both strategies above. I'll keep you informed of how it goes. The Mega Freeway Blogging will likely take many weeks to really get going, if it is viable.

Also, I have a really good map of my county in PA, like one that real estate agents use. It's a whole book of about 40 maps to cover 1 county. It is detailed enough that I can browse through the detailed map pages and see which roads have bridges, and which road is on top of the other road. With this, I can come up with a list of other locations that would likely be good locations to do Mega Freeway Blogging.

Also forgot to add: for Mega Freeway Blogging, the intended letter size would be about 4 feet tall letters.

Freewayblogger said...

Hi Benjammin, and thanks for your enthusiasm and ambition, keep me posted on how it goes. Although I feature large signs on the site, small signs give by far more bang for the buck, and I'd encourage you to try a couple while planning your magnum opus. Even Curtis LeMay had to learn how to fly first:


In general, I'm trying to get people to go for the numbers: smaller, easy to make and post signs on several freeways as a matter of habit as opposed to large, spectacular and labor-intensive signs like you're describing. Not that there's anything wrong with going big and bold... I'm not in the habit of telling people not to speak out... but the paradigm of the left so far has been to organize a lot of people either for banner-drops, demonstrations or vigils, with the unintended consequence of leaving the individual feeling powerless without a whole lot of other people working with them. This has hurt us, I believe, badly.

If you're planning to stand by a large sign, do two things first: call your local ACLU or National Lawyer's Guild and have a chat with them. They're great people and there to help American citizens with precisely these sorts of situations. Your choice of beginning with "Free Speech: Use it or lose it." is a good one. When cops come and you do whatever they say, right or wrong, they can't touch you. If you decide to make a stand, you've chosen the appropriate text to stand by.

Again, best of luck and keep me posted, but do give some thought to at least doing a couple of runs of smaller signs using guerrilla placement... it's a hell of a lot of fun. Peace, Scarlet

Bejammin075 said...

Hi Freeway,

I did *almost* do some freeway blogging. I got out in the middle of the night, I had it all planned out, dressed head to toe all in black, ninja style. I had a pile of 'Impeach' stickers in 300 point font. I had never got so close to the particular roadway until I got there on foot, then I noticed the security cameras all over and bailed out.

Thanks for the advice about the ACLU - I will definitely ask advice and learn more about my rights.

Dan said...

What's "Liar Tap" mean?

sybil said...

I love you folks. Every-day heroes you are. ordinary folk doing extraordinary deeds for Us All.

Bejammin075 said...

Dan, I think it's a play on "Wire Tap." As in, Bush is a liar on wire taps. It took me a bit to get that one, and I'm not totally sure I'm right.