a bumper sticker solution

redgiant

Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
Violence in society is complicated problem which will never have a bumper sticker solution. To overly simplify the cause behind a school shooting by blaming video games is to disrespect the gravity of such a monstrous homicidal act.

When Video Games Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Funs


The article debunks the claim made by NRA that video games are a bigger source of violence than guns in gun violence. What is a "bumper sticker" solution? I searched a bit but found nothing helpful. It seems to be widely used though.
 
  • JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    It means "a solution that can be easily summarized in just a few words." The reference is to the VERY few number of words (edit: and the very simple concepts) that can fit on a bumper sticker.
     
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    redgiant

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    After your responses, a scenario immediately comes to mind. I called my friend for help with my inflected computer. He was too busy to look into the problem and just told me to format the hard disk.

    Would you say formatting the hard disk is a useless bumper sticker solution?
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    I don't think so. The reason is that the phrase is normally used to describe oversimplified answers to complicated political or social issues, not technical ones. Are drugs a problem? "Say 'no' to drugs!" Is violence a problem? "Give peace a chance!" Want people to drive safely to make the road safer for everybody? "Baby on Board!" It's not that any of these ideas are necessarily bad, but they won't solve anything by themselves. They are fine as bumper stickers, but they aren't very valuable as genuine contributions to public discourse.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Would you say formatting the hard disk is a useless bumper sticker solution?
    Not at all. It absolutely, positively will rid you of the problem.

    It will also rid you of everything else that might be on that disk, a situation you hopefully are prepared to handle.
     

    redgiant

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Okay, formatting your PC should be considered as a last ditch solution. The last thing I'd do is waste time on restoring personal data and programs.

    As regards the use of "bumper sticker solution" in social or political context, I can think of another situation

    Hundreds of foreign profiteers keeps stocking up fed-safe infant formula from Hong Kong to send back to their country for huge profits. In the face of the shortage and rampant inflation, all the local government can do is ration sales and urge manufacturers to ramp up production. It isn't a bad solution but it can't get to the crux of the problem. The foreign profiteers will just keep sending more people to buy formula in bulk with impunity.
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    The essence of a bumper-sticker solution is that a complicated situation has been oversimplified to the point that a "solution" for it can be summarized in just a few words - perhaps a few more than an actual printed bumper-sticker, but not very many. :) So...can you present an oversimplified solution to this problem in just a few words? If so, then yes, it might qualify as a bumper-sticker solution.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Redgiant, are you familiar with bumper stickers? No one has said exactly what a bumper sticker is. It's a sign stuck on the back bumper of a car, having some kind of message or slogan. The letters must be big so people can read it as you quickly drive by, so the message is always short, just a very few words. Often the message is of a political nature. In the phrase "bumper-sticker solution", of course no one is talking about solving a national problem with bumper stickers; it's being used metaphorically.
     
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