Holy Bleeding Billboards

Of course, my first thought was that the bleeding signs were for some kind of latter-day interstate-side stigmata, but they’re not:

To remind drivers to drive carefully during the rain in Papakura, New Zealand, the local government put out a rather disturbing billboard that bleeds when it rains. The billboard may be terrifying, but apparently it’s effective: there hasn’t been a fatality since.

That first thought was a product of living in an area where people/companies/churches regularly use billboards to put up ridiculous sounding messages from G_d, i.e., “Don’t make me come down there.” Seriously. You wouldn’t believe it.

But the rain/bleeding message about driver safety… now that sounds much more promising. It might even  begin to turn people against driving so much. Sort of like if we passed a law that said we label all plastic with how long it will last, a kind of expiration date or half-life, that would give some context to the ratio of how long we use a thing vs. how long it lasts. There wouldn’t be anything scandalous about this, necessarily; it would just be contextualizing some of the matter in our lives. Like collecting all the plastic you ‘use’ over the course of a year, piling it up in your yard to get a good idea of the volume. ‘Use’ because often a plastic spoon or stirring stick (!) passes through our hands for a only a few seconds before going into the trash. We don’t even think about it. But it goes somewhere. And stays, for a very long time. A few seconds, and you know it happens all the time.

We’re all so accustomed to this flavor of mass communication, that, turned toward some of our most ridiculously wasteful habits, it might begin to make some inroads. So, there are major possibilities for this brand of outdoor shock treatment. Giant reminders of the disposable nature of the society we’ve built would make some mad, some who’d rather not be bothered – and they could blame the plastic people, like I blame the G_d people. But then maybe they would know how embarrassed those G_d signs make me feel. For us all.