Before you say anything else, let me tell you up front that I Do Not Have A Lawn. Don’t even bring it up.
And I know my opinion is wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. All the right people say it is. But here goes: I don’t like your graffiti. It’s ugly and annoying. “But it’s meant to disturb,” you say. “The whole point is to get your attention and shake you out of your bourgeois sense of complacency.” Mission accomplished. Why is annoying Murr a good thing, again?
“What’s more important,” you go on, “someone’s precious capitalist property rights or the lives of the disenfranchised?” False choice, cupcake. You can care about many things at once. And your spiky initials ain’t saving anybody. Neither are the penis drawings.
Yeah, fuck off. It’s not your building. If you had a job you’d own something too.
(Just kidding. I was just wantonly tagging the blogosphere, there. Sorry you had to see that.)
So let’s break this down. As a matter of record, I too believe, as a property owner, that the ownership of private property is an inherently bad idea. I do believe that the acquisition of property in and of itself leading to the unearned accumulation of wealth is a stupid economic model. I believe most property should be held in the public commons and the rest parceled out in an equitable manner.
And I guess you’re reclaiming the property you deface as a public space. So why you scribbling all over the public commons, you little assholes?
There are a lot of opportunities for freedom of expression that don’t need to be sandblasted off. You can write opinion letters. You can bark in the park. You can go to city council meetings and yell your fool head off. You can knock on doors and ask people if they’ve been saved.
Graffiti. There’s nothing curated about it, which is one of its charms, you say. It’s democracy in action. It’s The People taking over the town square. Well, goody. Keep the noise down, okay? This isn’t art. This isn’t worthy discourse. This is like spewing out reams of misspelled ungrammatical incoherent diatribe and random hate speech and calling it dialectic. Oh wait, that’s the internet. I’m not wild about that spray job, either.
Visualize how you feel when your precious creation is plastered over by Nazi racist bullshit. No problem, you say? You can just spray-paint over it? Swell. Now we’re down to the public-discourse level of urinating spaniels.
I remember, before tagging really took hold here, visiting capitals in Europe and seeing beautiful stone buildings–goddesses, really–that had been standing for five hundred years, their skirts now drenched in graffiti. Should people deface thousand-year-old petroglyphs in the desert too? Who gets to decide?
It was chaotic and depressing and ugly, and ugly matters. Beauty has meaning, is worth pursuing. It’s in the eye of the beholder, you say. Fine. This beholder is affronted by your self-indulgence, your celebration of your own presumably stunted spirit, now set gloriously free. This beholder thinks it’s ugly, pushy, and rude. You’re no Banksy. You aren’t merely expressing yourself: you’re shouting over everyone else. Half of your precious “message” is I was here, and you didn’t catch me.
So you do it under cover of darkness. You like that thrill of getting away with something. Shit, honey. That’s what recreational drugs are for. Leave the damn windows alone. Let the restaurant owner scratch out a living without having to scratch out your sophomoric philosophy writ in Krylon.
It doesn’t matter how worthy your efforts are–they reek of vanity. You want to make a mark, see if you can improve someone’s life without taking credit. Am I doing that, you ask? Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. If I’m doing it right, you’ll never know.
Art, my Aunt Fanny. Also? That shit’s not music. That’s just a lot of yelling.