Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Degeneracy On Display

Banning spray paint for young people, as is being discussed by City Council, is stupid for all the usual reasons that prohibition and collective punishment don't work. It creates forbidden fruit, makes vandalism even cooler, creates a profit opportunity for resale to minors, and it makes life harder for legitimate human beings with legitimate uses for spraypaint.

The best all-round solution to vandalism in our community would be exemplified by, say, "Wade" or "Pile" getting beaten senseless by a spontaneously assembled angry mob, in such a way that they feel it wise to find a new city to pollute. If vigilante justice is too wild and unpredictable for your taste, then I have only a very few reservations about leaving this job up to a dozen or so calm, professional police officers.

Okay, okay, I'm willing to compromise still further with the advocates of damaging private property -- that is, with anyone who has ever used the term "graffiti artist" non-sarcastically.

Instead of my preferred community-based proactive solution, how about we build stocks on the Market Square to hold apprehended vandals? I'd say that one afternoon in the stocks per square foot of damaged wall would be a suitable compromise.

There is no such thing as a "graffiti artist", any more than there are "broken storefront window artists", "shoplifting artists", or "arson artists". In Normal English we call such people vandals.

It should go without saying, but the only time you can scribble on other people's stuff is when they have given you permission.

Such permission can be hard to get, so Londoners wishing to scribble on things should keep an eye out for the uncelebrated work of one Morag Webster-Lesarge. This very confused person considers damage to property to be an "art form":

Artist Morag Webster-Lesarge opposed the ban. "It's an art form that shouldn't be lost or legislated," she said.
Well, OK, if you say so, then I guess Londoners should feel welcome to bring magic markers (purchased on Ebay) to the next Webster-Lesarge show.

Our communications with the Webster-Lesarge team indicate that it isn't really so.

Can the consent of a building owner be secondary, while at the same time the consent of an artist becomes paramount, in comparison to the vision of the next jerk who comes along with a spray can? Let the vision be lost and the law engaged, if one holds to the civilized regard for property that notions of vandalism-as-art-form undermine.


Lisa said...

When London finally becomes a truly Creative City, Morag Webster-Lesarge will be invited to slather her statements throughout approved areas, while enjoying taxpayer funded art grants.

Pietr said...

ZREhead wos ere!

Anonymous said...

congradulations on being typically biased.

Anonymous said...

I know it's popular to hate on the local graffiti artists AKA WADE but this is just lame. BLAH BLAH BLAH...

There's so little respect for artists these days, and art sure doesn't jive well with today's CAPITALIST CORPORATE-SERVING MONOCULTURE.


graffiti artists everywhere --- WRITE ON!

Mike said...

Speaking only for myself, I don't "hate on" people, places, or things.

I just simply hate.