Coexist or Uncoexist?

A vigorous culture carries on its debates at many levels and via many media, all the way down to the bumper sticker. I enjoy the cleverness that goes into many stickers, as well as the ongoing one-upmanship.

These “Coexist” stickers have been around for awhile now:

coexistIslam, peace, men/women, Judaism, paganism, Taoism/Confucianism, Christianity — can’t we all just get along?

coexist-3In a gesture of inclusiveness, this version substitutes Hinduism.
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coexist-2-367x100This spelling-challenged version adds science to the mix, thinks it’s important to distinguish the pagans and the wiccans, and seems confused about Buddhism — but is trying very hard not to leave anyone out.

The Coexisters are focused on religion, asking us to attend to the shared themes of many religions — spirituality, love, peace. Their goal is to achieve tolerance by abstracting away from the differences among religions.

But then along comes the Uncoexist response to rain on the parade:
uncoexist-614x100
Let’s not forget about the Communists, the theocrats, the Satanists, the pederasts, the Nazis, and the Klan.

Uncoexisters are focused on evil and politics, reminding us that there are evil people in the world and that many of them use politics to harm and control others. Their goal is to protect the free and the innocent from the evil.

According to the Uncoexisters, the Coexisters think: If only we could give Ahmadinejad a big hug, tell him how much we love him, and share a nice cup of chamomile tea, the world would be a better place. What a bunch of pansies.

According to the Coexisters, the Uncoexisters think: If only we could bomb the bastards into the Stone Age, the world would be a better place. What a bunch of troglodytes.

All of this is good at the level of bumper-sticker debate, and it is fascinating how graphic design can concretize and compress so much.

Assignment to the Coexister graphic designers, in keeping with the theme of inclusiveness: Can we please work in Sikh and Shinto?

And an assignment to the Uncoexister graphic designers, in keeping with the theme of lessons in danger: Can we work in Kim Jong-il and Caligula? (And that big E just sitting there is really bothering me.)

3 thoughts on “Coexist or Uncoexist?

  • April 25, 2010 at 11:19 am
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    Ha ha! Excellent post. Even the Coexisters and Uncoexisters can’t get along!

    I’m an “Uncoexister” — I am convinced that strongly held delusions, such as that which Bin Ladin and Ahmadinejad hold will need to be wrenched from their cold, dead hands.

  • May 27, 2010 at 10:37 pm
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    I am an Uncoexistor as well… The point that you mention, of graphics compressing so much, is the idea of “branding” icons in order to communicate an idea, or something as large as an entire philosophy. It’s interesting to see how icons can be used to form a kind of manipulation. Just look at Obama’s official logo.
    What do you think would be the foundations for a practical coexisting, if there are any? Thanks for the post.

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