A couple of curious vanity plates seen in rapid succession. The inconsistency between the sentiment expressed in the vanity plate and the sensibilities, politics and mythology/religion captured in these particular vehicle’s brand culture seems almost diametrically opposed.

In the first case, I see Gaia as probably related either to the Gaian hypothesis, which sees the earth as an organism in itself, shifting the perspective of human(ity) from masters to mere specks. Sort of the selfish gene taken to shift the relationship where the earth, well — we’re just a virus perhaps, or another of zillions of species, and perhaps the most damaging. But, either way — the earth will continue on in various forms, and humanity may indeed just wash away, barely a footnote in the time-scale of the universe. In this case — might not a fracking Cadillac Escalade be a particularly noxious expedient to the eradication of humanity what with this, you know — ecological carbon crisis?

Ian reminds me that the Gaia hypothesis states that the earth is an organism that will self-correct any damage inflicted upon it. So, we might better read the first inconsistency as a kind of expression of vanity in its purest form: “If the earth’ll fix the problems we inflict upon it, even if it means getting rid of humanity, then I may as well drive this ridiculously obnoxious, completely oversized, hell-mobile, even though I’m a 5′ 1″ miniature little valley blonde wearing ridiculous $500 sunglasses..the relative scale between my bird-like frame and this mansion-on-wheels make is feel like I’m driving the enormous, wasteful, ticky-tacky house my husband bought us to overcome the sense of inadequacy he has because he feels he’ll never be as successful as his dad? all the damage my idiotic lifestyle inflict upon this sacred rock will get washed away just like the bird crap that was on my windshield? that I had a homeless guy wipe away? and I only had to give him one of the dollar bills I had crumpled in my ashtray that’s overflowing with the half-smoked Marlboro Lights I sneak sometimes to help control myself from eating like a normal human being.”

The second one — a plate that expresses the owner’s commitment to peace and the block type car brand “Patriot” seems pretty far apart, especially these days where the patriotism idiom has been fairly well worked to the advantage of hawkish neoconservatives and such, who are probably the least likely to be 4PEEACE, at least insofar as peace would prevent them from conspiring to maintain an unstable state of world affairs for their own nefarious purposes.