Strong opinions, weakly held

Signalling your status

The New York Times has an article today about the psychology behind those white oval bumper stickers with obscure acronyms that seem to be popping up everywhere. Here in North Carolina, the preponderance of them seem to advertise an affinity for various North and South Carolina beaches. We have OBX for the Outer Banks, TI for Topsail Island, and OINC for Ocracoke Island, NC. It took me forever to figure some of those out, probably because I’m not in the in crowd.

CafePress.com has a big selection of these stickers. My personal favorite is LKW for Lake Wheeler, a 650 acre manmade lake featuring picnic areas and a regulation volleyball court. Here in Raleigh our status symbols just don’t measure up very well to New York’s.


  1. Hving just driven back from Long Island myself, I can assure you these are the same idiots who drive really, really poorly. For some reason they all insist on being the car “in front of the pack” so the Long island Expressway is full of Land Rovers, Mercedes Benz’s, Hummers and Bentleys all jockeying for lead car, cutting each other off and causing accidents.

    I think it’s some weird psychological reason that these people drive this way, as if they can’t live with themselves if they let the piece of shit Ford Escort or Honda Acura pass them while they’re busy yacking away on the cell phone (which is illegal in New York state, btw).

  2. 5 or 6 years ago our teenage daughter asked me about all the OBX bumper stickers she was seeing in Chapel Hill. She then printed out a word document and cut out an oval containing an OBN with a small “obnoxious” curved footnote which she taped in the back window of my truck. She would never say whether the reference was of the oval signs or me.

  3. In Europe you put those on your car to show that you paid the tax in the indicated country (e.g. GB=Great Britain). I get a chuckle thinking about these red-state neo-cons plastering their cars with emblems of taxation, like so many Euro-wanna-bes.

    P.S.: As a cyclist, I wondered if TI stood for “Titanium” — the current fashionable element among triathletes and hammerheads…

  4. Of course, you can always get an ITB sticker, ya dang yuppie. 😉

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