Month in Review

Now that February is here, it's appropriate to look back at our January covers and feature stories.

It was one of the more interesting months in recent memory. For one thing, there was the Rosemont Valley cover from Jan. 11, which surprised the hell out of a lot of people.

And then there was "Tagging Tales," from Jan. 4.

On the day that issue hit the streets, I predicted on our blog what would happen:

In the newspaper biz, you never really know for sure what articles are going to get letters, and what articles are not. We've run seemingly innocuous stories that struck a chord and flooded us with mail; we've run pretty edgy stuff that didn't bring in a single note.

Then there are the exceptions: Stuff you *KNOW* will bring in letters. And our cover story this week is one of those exceptions. ...

I knew that right away because 1) we put this on the cover, and 2) because we even brought up the idea that some could consider graffiti "art," some people would have a cow. These cow-havers would claim we're glorifying evil cretin hoodlums.

Even though the piece also talks about the cost of graffiti to businesses and homes. And even though--if you actually take the time to read the piece--it sheds some startling light on how being a graffiti artist is not necessarily all that glorious.

To all of you indignant letter writers (and, um, columnists) out there who allege that Ashley Houk's story glorified graffiti: I strongly encourage you to look past terms like "street art" and actually read the piece. Then, please send me a note and let me know precisely where and/or how we glorified or endorsed the practice of graffiti.

I look forward to your e-mails.

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