I can't leave town for a weekend of basketball without people at the Weekly going insane.
Now, let me make clear that I understand that people who work and/or write for our publication have winced from time to time at stuff I have written. A couple of times a year, I'm somewhat outspoken, and once, a few years back, I was actually mildly offensive. I appreciate that we might have differences of opinion over political candidates and such. However, despite the paper's long-standing leanings in one direction, it has been a source of pride that we seldom fall prey to those who would use obviously distorted words and phrases in an effort to shape an argument.
But now, on the cover, we have "street art"?! I've always been upset that the word "graffiti" wasn't harsh enough; I prefer "bitch scrawls." But I don't want to become that which I despise, so I stick with the actual term.
I told myself I wasn't going to read the article, because it would just make me mad. But that headline kept nagging at me. What the hell is a "street-art community?" Do they bond together for the common good? Do they have yard sales? Or is the use of the term "community" as wrong as "street-art?" As in, "Hey, look, we moved those boxes in the warehouse and discovered a community of cockroaches."
If I had known the Weekly was so hard up for a cover story, I would have offered to help. I know a couple of guys who used to knock people in the head and steal their wallets. We could have done: "A night inside Tucson's wealth-redistribution community." Or I could have gone along with a coyote as he stole people's life savings to sneak them across the border in a truck: "Inside Southern Arizona's underground-travel industry."
What a load of nonsense. First of all, anybody who goes down in his basement, locks all the doors, waits until 3 a.m. and then even thinks the phrase "street art" needs to be administered a good cuffing. There is nothing artistic about it.
One knucklehead told me that art is completely in the eye of the beholder. Art can be challenging and bizarre and even distasteful. But it shouldn't be destructive or intrusive or completely disregardful of other's people's rights or property.
We all realize that not everybody is going to be a useful member of society. A few don't have the brains or determination to make a name for themselves doing something productive, so they get high and use whatever paint is left over to misspell words on somebody else's wall.
I noticed the graffiti guy's pants were way too big and were falling down. Have you noticed that a large proportion of knuckleheads apparently don't have butts? Their pants are always falling down. Not that they have anything to hide. I wonder if there's some kind of genetic marker there. In the Braver New World, a kid would be born, and the doctor would say, "This kid has no ass." Then they'd ship him off to the Graffiti Colony.
My morbid curiosity got the better of me, and I started to skim through the thing. At the start of one paragraph, it read, "I started in the sixth grade. I liked to draw and I smoked a lot of weed." We should write lots of articles about people like that. Then, "Graffiti culture is for drunk, egomaniac (sic) degenerates." Ah, so now it's "street art" and "graffiti culture." All they left out was "drug etiquette."
While I would never actually vote for him or anything, I do like what Rudy Giuliani did as mayor of New York. He focused attention on some of the "smaller" crimes--sneaking onto the subway, shoplifting, graffiti. They found that busting the knuckleheads also (curiously) had an impact on the bigger crimes. Crime went down across the board. I know several people who were living in New York City at the time, and they all told me that it just felt like a better place to live, especially without the graffiti.
I understand that some people have this burning need to feel hip. So, if you want to spray-paint on something, stop buying drugs for a few weeks, then buy yourself a wall someplace, and paint the shit out of it. And for all you nonjudgmental, I-don't-want-to-say-what's-art-and-what-isn't fools out there, how 'bout if I come into your bedroom at 3 a.m. and start playing the guitar real loudly? And when you complain, I just say that I'm engaging in an art form. There is literally no difference between that and graffiti.
The article did mention a local legend who died when he got hit by a train while spray-painting on another train. That's the way to go--die doing what you love, and do the city a favor at the same time.