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Is Calvin praying for you?

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I don’t think I want to know anyone who has a “Calvin pisses on (name your least favorite auto manufacturer)” sticker on their car’s window. If someone gets that upset about a car company, imagine how upset they get about politics.

You know the sticker I’m talking about – they’re everywhere. It’s Bill Watterson’s “Calvin” character from his long-running (no longer) comic strip, Calvin And Hobbs. He posed with his back to you, pants undone, an evil grin on his face as he looks back over his shoulder at you – oops, you caught him peeing on one of his apparently many automotive dislikes! The irony here, as everyone knows, is that Watterson is Mormon, and therefore highly religious, and had nothing to do with these stickers (and wouldn’t allow his characters to be licensed for anything, stickers included.) Regardless, the stickers are now a regrettable part of our culture, and like anything so ubiquitous, comes to represent a sort of mentality of everyone – whether you’ve got the sticker on your car or not.

The big question is, what is it with rivalries like this? Could it be more inconsequential? Ooo, so you don’t like Chevy. What happens if your friend buys a Chevy? Can you still be friends with them, or have they gone over to the dark side? Or do you stay with them – because you’re a friend – to be there to help them up when they inevitably suffer the consequences of their bad decision? I can’t think of a better way to tell people that Americans have far too much free time on their hands than with a sticker that advertises your immense dislike of a particular manufacturer’s version of what is decidely a luxury item.

And notice that you don’t see this kind of rivalry between foreign auto makers. You don’t see Toyotas roaming around town with “piss on Nissan” stickers, or Volvos with “piss on Mercedes” decals, or Kia “piss on Daihatsu” stickers. Apparently drivers of foreign-made cars have an “it’s all good” mentality. Or maybe it’s just that they’re so satisfied that their cars are so much better made than the American-made cars that they feel no ill will toward anyone who doesn’t drive their particular brand. It’s all good.

There’s a new variant I saw this morning – it’s a little girl drawn in the Calvin style, but she’s caught taking a dump on the manufacturer of your choice. Because the peeing wasn’t offensive enough. And ooops! You caught her! Hence the addition of the evil wink. That’s class.

There’s a certain amount of machismo associated with these stickers, like joining a brotherhood or a frat at college. Part of it stems from the illicit nature of the stickers, a fact unknown to most of those who sport them on their cars. Regardless of its origins, it enters you into an unspoken ring of support. You know that anywhere you find a sticker matching yours, you’ve found one of your own. And if see a rival’s sticker suggesting your car needs to be peed on, you’ve got grounds for a brawl, my man. Get to it, beat up that bastard. No one disses your car like that.

Of course, to counteract this surge of violent testosterone tendencies, someone has come up with a sticker that says the opposite. Calvin, again with his back to you, kneels in the shadow of a scribbly cross, hands clasped in prayer. He’s praying for you, you sick bastards with your petty car rivalries.

I’m just waiting for the “Calvin pisses on ‘Calvin praying for your sad soul'” stickers. You know someone’s making them somewhere.

(Enjoy more pointless crap at unproductivity.)

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About Tom Johnson

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    it’s gotta be about machismo…i mean, i saw a bumper sticker once (on a pickup) that said “No More Mister Nice Guy, Down On Your Knees Bitch”…

    lovely.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Mark, that’s more says “class” in ways I have no words for.

  • Ryan M

    I like the stickers. And by the way, Calvin & Hobbes refer to two important Christian thinkers of the Middle Ages, John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes. Calvin began the Calvinist movement in Switzerland which would eventually become Protestantism as a rebellion to the “corrupt” Catholic church. So however you feel about Christianity or the stickers themselves, I don’t see anything inappropriate about the juxtaposition.

    Ryan
    Los Angeles, CA

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Ryan, did you actually read my post, or did you just decide that, because I didn’t go into the history of Mssrs. Calvin and Hobbes, that I obviously could not grasp the deep philosophical meaning being “Calvin pisses on Dodge symbol”? Because if you had, you would see that my rant had nothing whatsoever to do with religion, outside of the fact that I mentioned that Watterson is Mormon.

    But what am I saying? You proclaiming that you like the “Calvin pisses on . . . ” line of stickers says more than I need bother say myself, doesn’t it? But I doubt you’re even saying that, are you? No, you skimmed my post and saw one mention of the “Calvin kneeling before the cross” stickers and assumed that I was arguing against that – and religion. Didn’t you? You didn’t really read this at all, did you? No, I doubt you really did.

  • Eric Olsen

    As I have repeated until everyone leaves the room, I went to high school with Bill Watterson and knew him reasonably well. He was a towering cartoon talent even them – his illustrations of yearbooks, literary mags, the school paper, etc are immediately identifiable as his work. I had no idea he is Mormon, though, will have to think about that one.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    I’m leaving the room.

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    “The big question is, what is it with rivalries like this? Could it be more inconsequential? Ooo, so you don’t like Chevy. What happens if your friend buys a Chevy? Can you still be friends with them, or have they gone over to the dark side? Or do you stay with them – because you’re a friend – to be there to help them up when they inevitably suffer the consequences of their bad decision?”

    I would hope that one would help any human who needs help, whether or not they are your friends.

    Myself, I find the “bad Calvin” stickers horrifying and tasteless. I love “Calvin and Hobbes,” though. And I would imagine that the praying one ought to be the tiger. (Watterson rules!)

  • Terrea

    Please please please send me a picture that I saw on a car window. It was Calvin praying at a cross. Thank you for your help. we would like to use the image for our non-profit “Good News” club that is being offered as an after school program for Christian Children’s club. Thank you.

  • The Theory

    The one of Calvin praying at a cross is more horrifying than the ones of him peeing because you expect a raunchy sticker like that to disrespect the artist who doesn’t want them made… but for Christian companies to do it, too… yuk.

  • Josh

    I like the Calvin praying underneath the cross. I can’t find them anywhere tho :/. Any links would be appreciated.

  • http://www.bigtimepatriot.com Big Time Patriot

    “we would like to use the image for our non-profit “Good News” club that is being offered as an after school program for Christian Children’s club”

    Nothing spreads the good word quite like stealing someones work via copyright infringement.. :-)

  • Loueita

    The “Calvin praying” moved me almost to tears. Finally, this wicked little monster has decided to mend his naughty ways and become obediant to the Lord. It can be found on the internet at Vinyl Mayhem for $4.95.

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    How do you know that Calvin isn’t Buddhist or Muslim? Assumption of religious identity based on context is not necessarily valid.

    I prefer the Spaceman Spiff character, myself.

  • Rolando

    Hey, just a quick note, most girls, pee sitting down, so I don’t think the “girl” calvin sticker is “dumping”…

    Just an fyi.

  • mark

    has everyone lost there sense of humor. i see the humor, just plain ol’ fun. calvin makes me laugh, it’s that simple. i’ve seen him peeing on everything, not just cars. i’ve seen work, x-wife…..there is just way to many to mention. this phase of our lives is passing though. you dont see to many of these things anymore. it was funny when it was new. now its just yesterdays news.

  • http://www.andrewsmcmeel.com/calvinandhobbes/interview_text.html Paul

    Bill Watterson is not Mormon! In fact, he has never been in a church in his life! (see link for interview with Watterson)

    The irony, of course, is that some “Christian” stole his artwork for these stickers. Nice.

  • Nancy

    I’ve always found that Christians are the most egregious & insufferable offenders in arrogating unto themselves the “right” to violate any law or do anything, on the grounds that the end justifies the means. They’re wrong, of course, but this has never stopped any of them from considering the ethical & religious violations of the situation, let alone what their Leader would say about it, & the very bad example they set.

  • http://adamglasgow.com Adam

    Bill Watterson is not mormon. According to himself, he never attended any church.

  • Mike

    Do any of you people READ? YOU ARE STEALING FROM THE ARTIST. He has NOT given his consent to use his artwork to pimp your like/dislike of cars, sports teams, religious deity, etc. The “christian” posters are the most disturbing, because they post on a story about copyright infringement and have the nerve to ask where to get these illegal items! I don’t recal any passage in the Bible that quoted Jesus as saying, “Hey , I think that Calvin strip is SO CUTE! We should make some stickers of him without asking the permission of the artist!”

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