Monday, June 05, 2006

Tagging It

New York City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. hates graffiti so much he made it his main campaign issue. Luckily, New York has solved all its other problems. Vallone hates graffiti so much he got a law passed that prohibits the possession or purchase of spray paint, broad-tipped indelible markers and etching acid by anyone not over 21 years of age. When Sharpies are outlawed, only outlaws will have Sharpies.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Sharpie addict. I probably have about 50 of various colors and sizes in my office and another 10 or so at home. When I travel I always take a Sharpie in my backpack. While the Hitchhiker has his towel, I have a Sharpie.

Since Vallone has targeted the graffitists, they've targeted him. He has the joy of seeing his name spraypainted (and supposedly indelibly marked and acidly etched) around town. In January, the grafitti gang painted a swell saying on a giant billboard near the Manhattan Bridge. Yup that's it below. Sorry for the crappy placement, but I got tired of fightin' with Flickr. Thanks to Visual Resistance for the upload. Go there directly if you want to see the bad boy in all its glory.

Now I don't know if you're in either the graffiti is a symbol of blight and chaos camp or the graffiti is the visual dialect of a generation camp. They both sound like they're kind of full of shit to me. But kudos to the guy who listed Vallone's district office address on a message board and commented "the door is pretty clean." I'm just sayin'.

In the PR camp, however, we have a saying, "Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel." Essentially that's an old axiom to grind about not picking a fight with a newspaper. You'll never get the last word and they'll always reach more people than you will. Of course that axiom was invented before the interweb and Flickr and tags and cell phones. Now you can reach a lot of people. So maybe the axiom should be adjusted to "Never pick a fight with someone who buys paint by the can either."

1 comment:

angelatee said...

You can't buy spray paint within the city of Chicago--it's been that way for as long as I can remember. We also have something called "Mayor Daley's Graffitti busters" which is a fleet of trucks you can call they'll come out and clean off the shit--regardless if the building is public or privately owned.

I'm kind of with this Vallone guy. But graffitti artists and gangbanger tagging are different animals. Asshole gangbanger punks tagging your neighborhood should never be acceptable and they are not artists (I think they'd be the first ones to agree) in any stretch of the imagination.