"God Bless America," "Pray For Our Troops," "Support Our Troops"--we've all seen these magnetic ribbons affixed to the SUV's of petrol-addicted americans. We've seen them and reacted with an almost inexplicable frustration. Nationalism is such that any reaction against the symbols immediately screams "anti-american." The irony in this is that it is far more anti-american to drive a fuel-inefficient vehicle, supporting america's dependence on foreign oil than it is to find frustration in a symbol. The ribbons do nothing to support soldiers. If anyone reading the ribbons was actually inspired to aid the troops in some way, how would they? Does supporting america's wars and american foreign policy aid the troops, or does that just send more of them into harm's way while sustaining the threat to those already in danger? These ribbons simply make some wholesale merchant wealthy off of the guilt of a population while perpetuating a state of non-debate with respect to the hegemonic interests of america. There is so little sincere discussion of american policy in mainstream media that it's only logical that the gag-rule on debate should also infect advertising. More logical still is that the non-debate has become so ubiquitous that any advertising serving to perpetuate it should be financed by those engaging in the delivery of the message. These ribbons are the wet dream of any merchant of war. If Karl Rove himself did not commission the first batch, I'd suggest he connect with a head-hunter post-haste and add his resignation to the stack.
My initial reaction to the magnetic ribbon phenomenon was to remove the magnets from the body panels of cars and re-affix them to the undercarriages. I realized that this did nothing to erase the problem. The messages were still in fact there and I was doing little to "support the troops." I decided that the single most effective way to take the messages of the original magnets to heart would be to replace them with doppelgangers of my own design and "support subversion." I would create my own messages and exploit an existing fleet of willing mouthpieces to deliver them. It's essentially hijacking a monologue into a dialogue, such that two SUV's might sit in a Wal-Mart parking lot, side by side, one demanding, "support our troops" while the other begs "support the slaughter."
Creating my magnets required a simple design analysis and re-design. No original magnets were scanned or re-purposed. The magnet designs available on this site are my own and are offered up freely to anyone interested in participating in this project with the sole caveat that none of my designs are to be sold or profited from in any way under any circumstances. Do not mass produce these designs for sale and do not use these designs on any products being sold.
chris habib 11.21.04
(producing these ribbons requires the use of scissors and a cutting blade. please use these tools carefully. neither i nor this website accept any responsibility for injuries incurred while following these instructions.)
inkjet magnet sheets
a cutting blade or x-acto style knife
[optional: transparent or clear inkjet sticker paper]
producing your own ribbon magnets is inexpensive and fun. if you do an internet search for "inkjet magnet sheets," you will find dozens of possible locations from which to purchase magnetic sheets of paper that can be fed into any inkjet printer. you will need some of this paper to create your magnets.
once you have the magnetic inkjet paper and access to an inkjet printer, you can download ribbon files from this website. you will be able to produce two ribbons per sheet of paper. i have already set up the files so that there are two ribbons per sheet, so all you have to do is print them out.
when inserting the magnet sheets into the printer, do so one sheet at a time and be certain that you are actually inserting only one sheet (they have a tendency to stick together). then print the files to the magnetic paper. once the designs are printed, allow them a few minutes to dry.
[OPTIONAL STEP: the magnets that you have just printed are not completely resistant to water and will likely run and smear if they get wet. to protect them against water, you can purchase clear inkjet sticker paper. do not put this in your printer. simply CAREFULLY affix it to the top of the magnet sheets you have just printed.]
the ribbons can now be carefully cut out along their borders with scissors. it is a good idea to cut the center space of the ribbons out with an xacto knife or a razor blade as the scissors may ruin the ribbons.
as soon as the ribbons are cut out, you can use them in any way you see fit.
just remember... your actions are your own and you are completely responsible for them. if you plan on placing the magnets that you make on automobiles or structures that are not your own, do so with the utmost of caution and with the knowledge that you may be violating local laws.
Participate in democracy. Support subversion. Replace Magnets.