The Ugliest Sign in America


This article was posted in its entirety on by Dan Koeppel.

“I’m just going to come out and say it: This is the most ubiquitous ugly object in America. Sure, our nation is obsessed with miltary-sized automobiles for personal use, backyard Bigfoot statues, and chicken nuggets— and all those things are grotesque and common. But this 20-inch placard, with a pair of glowing blue swooshes that wrap around four letters in bright red — O-P-E-N — is everywhere. I’ve noticed that not just in my home town of Los Angeles, where it is a mainstay of mini-malls, massage parlors, and marijuana dispensaries, but all across the United States; on a 10,000-mile automotive journey this past summer, we saw thousands of them, many replacing aged, flickering neon on the classic two-lane highways — Route 66, Highway 50 — that define the idea of the American road. And in a small way, these newer, ugly signs represent the end of that idea.

So how did this modern defilement happen? What possessed a nation of shop owners to lose their collective minds? And what’s to be made of fact that these signs are actually, secretly technological marvels?”

Read the full article here.