Maryland Blogger Alliance

Alliance FAQs

Latest MBA Posts

July 04, 2007

Sign rage in Bethesda

Before you read this article ("The mysterious case of the disappearing plastic men / Driver warning signs are under fire in Bethesda"), let me interpret it for you.

In a rich, liberal Bethesda neighborhood, where at least one house has sold for over $2 million, the residents are trying to deal with concerns about traffic safety by putting up "little lime dudes" -- plastic men -- with signs asking drivers to slow down. One or more people have stolen or vandalized these little lime dudes. According to the article, most neighbors assume the vandals are teenagers or pranksters, even though there's no evidence why this is happening. But I don't need evidence. Because I'm willing to engage in rank speculation based on prejudice. Not that I support the vandals in any way, mind you. But I think someone simply resents being told by rich liberals how to drive through their neighborhood, even if it's the right way to drive. To me, this is a class thing and a nanny thing. People don't like to be told what to do, and they like it much less when it's a bunch of indignant and sanctimonious rich folks telling them how to behave.

It reminds me of something that happened about 20 years ago. A friend of ours wrote a column in the local section of the New York Times about his experience having a "Baby on Board" sign on his car. Remember those? He described how shocked he was at the vitriol directed at him because of the sign. People, I gather, interpreted the sign as a sanctimonious warning to them to behave around his precious cargo.

I think the response of those people was very similar to the behavior described in the article about the little lime dudes.