Print Politics

Ridiculously Aggressive Tax Day Tea Bag Protest Signs

Usually we're big supporters of signage…

…but some of this stuff makes me wonder what people are thinking. This week, amid Tax Day fervor, protests against tax hikes and the stimulus plan, inspired by The Boston Tea Party, have been sweeping the nation.

Literally HUNDREDS of people have been congregating in various states, waving signs and engaging in collective bursts of teabagging. Which sounds hilarious, I know, but mostly seems to involve flinging bags of Lipton into giant vats of water.

And in truth, the tone of the protests has been distinctly un-funny. Many of the signs and posters on display today have a grim, and often, aggressive tone. I'm not going to put any pictures up here, or list any of the slogans, but check this page on the Huffington post for a detailed gallery if you want to see for yourself.

Interestingly, these protests seem to feature mostly handmade and desktop printed signs, with very little professional full color printing on display. Which I'm happy for, actually. Some of these signs – particularly those with hate messages – would look really ghastly reproduced by the hundreds, or even thousands, as we so often see at mass protests.

This again brings up the question I always like to ask printers: is there anything you won't print? If someone comes to you with a piece of printing that is adult or controversial, that's one thing, but if someone is seeking the printing of a message that promotes hate or violence, what do you do?

I'm not saying that the protesters today were malicious or even wrong. And I know that the majority aren't going in for the type of message showcased in abundance in the above link. But since I spend most of my time pointing out all the ways printing is great, I thought it was important to look at the other side of the story – those instances where print can be used to promote true negativity.

It's great when print does wonderful things, spreads positive messages and delivers interesting information, but throughout history, print has been used for a lot of bad stuff too. I hope the good outweighs the bad, but what do you think?

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