And now, a message from the Vague Platitude Society
I learned an amazing fact today: apparently defacing public property with graffiti is OK if you use high-quality materials and offer a message that you think is socially constructive.
No, really: somebody has been plastering the sidewalks on campus with these super-durable vinyl tiles. They’re made of tough, shiny material (probably slippery in the rain) and stick strongly to the sidewalk. There are helpful, one-word messages on them like “Smile” and “Improve” and “Encourage”. They’re printed in black letters with a photographic-quality granite background so they look like a stone inlay in the concrete. They’re made for heavy traffic and will probably last for months if people walk on them and set them in place.
Maybe I can use the same principle: I think that “Imprison Wall-Street fat-cats” would be a socially constructive message. My durable graffiti medium would be, let’s say, epoxy paint. And if it’s OK to deface public property, maybe it would be OK to deface private property! Like the car windshields of whoever laid these signs down. Think that would be OK?
I don’t know who put them down but there’s no faster way to piss me off than telling me I should “Smile”. Seriously, sign-putting-down person, who the hell are you to tell me what facial expression I should have on? Maybe I’m lost in thought, or worrying about my sick cat or my hip is bothering me. Or maybe I just enjoy the world quietly in my own way. Should we all walk around with smiles on our faces all the time? Why? I have an anatomically-impossible suggestion for you.
Here’s the other signs that I saw today. There may be more; I will look tomorrow:
This is the first time I’ve ever seen graffiti like this… and also the first time I’ve ever seen a recruiting sign for… Masons. Do you suppose they are the ones who plastered our sidewalks with self-improvement words?
From what I’d heard about The Masons, they were a pretty upright, constructive bunch. Or they’re hiding secret documents from the Founding Fathers that have treasure maps embedded in them, I don’t know. Maybe they’ve never had to recruit before and just don’t know how to go about it. But if they are new to this game maybe they should consider learning the ropes of graffiti communication in a medium that washes away. Like, you know, start with chalk.
- Scientific American Blogs: Cleaning Up Lascaux paintings