For the past twelve years I've been painting signs in my garage and putting them up next to freeways. Here are a hundred reasons why:
1) You can say whatever you want.
3) It reaches thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people.
4) Done right, it can even reach millions.
6) Payback for all the political propaganda you've been subjected to.
7) Get some use out of those graphic design classes.
8) An excuse to think up new messages or slogans, or simply repeat those you feel need repeating.
9) Two words: Citizens United.
10) With no ice, the Arctic Ocean will start absorbing all the sunlight it used to reflect.
12) Entirely Non-Violent.
13) Utilizes all the coolest strategies and tactics of guerrilla warfare with absolutely none of the dangers.
14) You can do it alone.
15) You can do it with others.
16) Day or Night, 24/7.
17) You can get some great photos.
19) No annoying pepper-spray.
20) Does not require leaders, committees, organization or meetings.
21) Self-broadcasting: requires no media presence or participation.
22) Says just what you want it to say: no press or media filtration between you and your audience.
23) Practically zero chance of retribution. (Since 2001 I've done it over five thousand times and been stopped by law enforcement maybe six or seven times with no punishment besides having to act contrite and take down the sign.)
24) Demonstrates to foreign visitors that America is truly a land of free speech.
25) Demonstrates to Americans what free speech actually looks like.
26) Can be done on any high traffic highway or interstate - tens of thousands of miles of roadsides and infrastructure to work with.
27) Can be done with absolute anonymity.
28) Provides a needed tonic for drivers who agree with you.
29) A thorn in the side of drivers who don't.
30) When the Founding Fathers gave us the right to free speech, they probably meant for us to use it.
31) Eliminates the appearance of normalcy in a society that can no longer afford such appearances.
33) Makes your own drives more interesting as you check the status of your signs.
34) Sometimes requires you to hop fences, climb hills, take long walks and apply problem-solving skills utilizing terrain, traffic conditions and line-of-sight dynamics.
35) Gets you the hell out of your comfort zone.
36) Road Trip! A perfect excuse to visit friends and family in other cities.
37) Great cardio-vascular workout: provides an adrenaline rush even after years of doing it.
38) Instantly raises awareness of a specific issue or problem. (For example: if you want a lot of people to think about Darfur, go to a large city and put up signs that simply say "Darfur.")
39) In the unlikely event there's an eternal and omniscient afterlife, will provide the Founding Fathers a badly needed morale boost.
40) In the event said afterlife is based on merit, may help you out too.
41) A slap in the face of right-wing corporate media.
42) A slap in the face of liberally-biased media.
43) Helps undercut the influence of money in politics.
44) Great civics lesson for the kids.
45) Makes up for that time you tried to do it using a bedsheet which didn't attach very well, immediately came loose and was practically unreadable anyway.
46) Requires tools that cost almost nothing, most of which are probably lying around the house.
47) Done properly, can reach more people in an afternoon than you'll meet in your lifetime.
49) Finally an opportunity to use that old overhead or laptop projector. If you don't have one, gives you a good reason to get one. Used in conjunction with cardboard and paint, a projector becomes practically a printing press for billboards.
50) Recycles cardboard.
51) Makes up for not doing it during the Bush administration.
52) Gives an immediate sense of political empowerment.
53) Practically every stage of the operation can be done while listening to music.
54) Does not require shouting, chanting, getting clubbed or arrested.
55) Can be accomplished, start to finish, in a single afternoon.
56) Contrary to popular belief, does not require getting up at three in the morning and sneaking around in the wee hours.
57) Share poetry, lyrics or favorite quotations!
58) Offers complete editorial control.
59) Forces you to employ stricter reductionism in your rhetoric.
61) Utilizes all sorts of zen philosophy, jiu-jitsu and game theory.
62) Good to practice now for when things get really, really bad later.
63) Undercuts corporate control of existing media and information sources.
64) Absolutely non-discriminatory: Open to all races, genders, parties, classes and age groups.
65) Very quick and steep learning curve: requires only a couple of dozen signs to become an expert.
66) May inspire others to give it a try.
67) Gives one an immediate and definitive sense of mission.
68) Can be used to launch new words and memes into societal and political discourse.
70) Demonstrates that public political discourse isn't limited to putting flags up after a tragedy.
71) Even very large signs can be posted in seconds using bungee-cords and wire hangers. Being able to post large signs and immediately disappear is good exercise for your inner-ninja.
72) Signs taken down can usually be used again, particularly ones that are too large and cumbersome for easy removal or destruction.
73) Signs that are torn up can usually be put back together using nothing more than duct tape.
74) You've always wanted to do it.
75) You've never wanted to do it, but now that you've read this far you're beginning to think it's a pretty good idea.
76) You've begun to realize that simply voting once or twice every four years isn't enough.
77) Your OWS encampment got dismantled before any level of economic justice, or even policies in that direction had taken place.
78) You miss the sixties.
79) You missed the sixties.
81) Signs can be made in any size, shape or color.
82) Utilizes the freeways for something besides transportation, advertising and global warming.
83) Finally get some use out of art school.
84) Far more satisfying than forwarding another e-mail petition.
85) An opportunity to explore urban environments and pathways few people know about.
87) As a textbook example of pure semiotics in action, it allows you to use the term "semiotics" in conversations afterwards.
88) Gets you out of the house.
89) A chance to have photos of your work posted on the highly prestigious "Tales of the Freewayblogger" weblog.
90) Speaks truth to power. Horsepower anyway.
92) Conversation fodder for those rare vehicles with more than one occupant.
93) May make people think.
95) Can be done year-round under practically any sort of weather conditions short of hurricanes, blizzards or blinding dust storms.
96) Demonstrates to others that someone cared enough about something to speak out about it..
97) Instantly earns you credentials as a pundit.
98) Forces you to face up to your fears enough to realize that ultimately all you're really afraid of is looking foolish.
99) Allows you to drive around for a bit with no schedule, destination, or purpose beyond looking for places to hang your signs. Compared to the usual stresses of commuting, running errands, etc. you'll experience driving for the pure sport of it, which is a real joy, and best experienced before the permafrost starts melting.
100) Why not?