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Blatant disrespect for private and public property 28%
Really ugly, and self-centered to boot 0%
The only way for the underclass to express its rage 21%
Beautiful artwork 28%
Nicer than the paint job in my apartment 21%

Votes: 14

 Vandalism in the PRC

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
May 02, 2002
More lunacy (and idiocy) in the People's Republic of Cambridge.


More diaries by hauntedattics
Why boys are better than girls
Terrorism in the PRC
I am so completely enamored...
My New Heroine
Where is he???
Now I May Have Seen Everything
Travel advice
Stranger in paradise
Fun with fatties
An announcement
A rash of troubling graffiti has suddenly appeared in the neighborhood where my office is located in Cambridge, MA. The graffiti, which is wantonly sprayed on the walls of honest businesses that are pillars of the local community, asserts such ludicrous notions as:

cops = racism


rent = theft.

Liberal use of the "Anarchy" symbol accompanies these statements. The vandal goes on to urge Yuppies out of Somerville [the next town over] and, most disturbingly of all, Lynch your landlord.

Now, my first reaction to this muck is to spray paint some nice, logical counter slogans like Capitalism rocks, Create wealth or Hug your landlord. However, not only would this most likely inflame the hooligans, it also stoops to their level of disrespect for private property. Is there anything we can do about this, or do the esteemed residential and commercial denizens of the neighborhood just have to put up with it?

Your thoughts and suggestions are most welcome.


That's downright scary. (none / 0) (#1)
by derek3000 on Thu May 2nd, 2002 at 01:57:09 PM PST
When I was in Montreal, I was walking alone through a shady neighborhood and saw all kinds of graffiti depicting the beheading of capitalists.

Needless to say, it was around this time that I stuffed my platinum D3K necklace under my shirt.

"Feel me when I bring it!" --Gay Jamie

Canadian graffiti (5.00 / 1) (#6)
by Ernest Bludger on Thu May 2nd, 2002 at 06:40:51 PM PST
I've heard that in parts of Canada there are severe penalties for graffiti artists who do not "tag" or "vandalise" in both English and French.

If you're in Cambridge, MA, you should probably get in touch with this group who appear to be as concerned as hauntedattics as to the form of graffiti, if not necessarily the content.

I call it downright surreal. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
by elenchos on Thu May 2nd, 2002 at 03:42:35 PM PST
In my experience, people who spraypaint things on walls are wise, educated, and wholly responsible in their assertions. They check their facts and verify the soundness of their logic. But "cops=racism"? Weird. Cops are a category of persons, while racism is a set of attitudes and beliefs. You would have expected them to paint "the belief system of the cops = racism" or "cops are racist".

So I can make no sense of it. Perhaps the cops hired a stooge to paint that, with the intent of smearing their critics. Being racists, and corrupt, it would make sense for cops to have done this.


I do, I do, I do
--Bikini Kill

trotsky (none / 0) (#7)
by nathan on Thu May 2nd, 2002 at 07:28:12 PM PST
"Worse is better."

Li'l Sis: Yo, that's a real grey area. Even by my lax standards.

clarification (4.33 / 3) (#16)
by johnny ambiguous on Sat May 4th, 2002 at 07:20:17 AM PST
You would have expected them to paint "the belief system of the cops = racism" or "cops are racist".

No no no, you wouldn't. How could anybody who is wise and educated assert that "cops are racist" when - look around you - so very many of them are black? Certainly no one of the high intellectual caliber of the average graffiti artist would commit such a solecism!

I suspect that the original graffito, like most of the graffiti I see, was in all-upper-case, not

cops = racism

but instead


That explains it! You are probably unaware of this fact - as an intellectual and Adequacy editor you certainly never descend into the gutter of mainstream TV programming - but on that degraded Fox TV network they regularly broadcast a television show called COPS.

COPS is, indeed, a horridly racist show; what it consists of is staged sequences showing the violent and dramatic arrests of mostly black "street criminals" (actually, actors wearing blackface) by mostly white "policemen" (actually, B-grade Clint Eastwood wannabes with, obviously, no police training at all).

Let's discuss for a minute how COPS is obviously fake. Have you ever seen anyone actually being arrested by a real live policeman? Why, the officers are quite courtly about it all; they calmly address the arrestee as "Sir" or "Ma'am" and they apologize quite respectfully when they fasten handcuffs on their charges, assuring the person being arrested that the handcuffs are required by department policy and that's the only reason why they are forced to submit the arrestee to such indignity. Indeed, to spare the arrestee embarrassment, they commonly shoo away bystanders and onlookers at this junction with the formula "Nothing to see here, move on, move on." Whereas in the staged arrests on COPS the faux-policemen chase the faux-criminals up and down rain-glistening cinema noir alleyways howling imprecations, when they catch up with the "criminals," without so much as a rectitation of the "Miranda" formula, they hurl them to the ground and recklessly grind pistol barrels against their heads, etc., etc., while all the time a cameraman records the dramatic action for broadcast to an entire nation.

The fact that a network cameraman is present to record all this mummery is further proof that the "arrests" depicted on COPS are blatant fakes. As we all know, in a tiny fraction of real arrests, those involving the most deranged and incorrigible criminals, one regrettably witnesses the use of firearms. Indeed, police work is occasionally mortally perilous to the officers! The on-the-job death rate among policemen (32 per 100,000 per year) is far higher than that of, say, an office worker like a computer systems administrator (7 per 100,000 per year), is practically as high as that of my own profession, land surveying (33 per 100,000 per year) and is almost comparable to that of a minimum-wage-plus-25% convenience store clerk (55 per 100,000 per year). Well, obviously no police department would allow a civilian cameraman to ride along with their brave officers in a patrol car, when doing so would possibly expose that Hollywood softy to the chance of being shot in action! The thought of exposing the Police Department to post-mortem liability would rule out such a reckless policy. So there you have it: COPS is fake fake fake.

What is the purpose of COPS? It is simply an attempt, on the part of that notorious multimillionaire racist and fascist Rupert Murdoch, to propagandize the most ignorant and impressionable part of the American electorate into believing that our country is in the grip of an ever-increasing wave of criminality. This flies in the face of official FBI statistics showing that the rate of violent crime has been steadily decresing for the least decade; but of course the average Fox Network viewer can't even spell "statistics," much less can he read and understand them. It is that beast Murdoch's hope that stupid voters, terrified by this factitious "crime wave," will vote for pro-fascism candidates. All this just to get a tax cut! Shameful! Alas, it seems to work; look at the swine who infest Congress, not to mention the White House. The vulnerability of the stupid to propaganda is the Achilles's heel of democracy.

And this brings us back to that curious graffito that hauntedattics saw. What the graffiti artist obviously meant to convey is, "the TV series COPS is an appalling instance of blatant, repulsive racism; down with Rupert Murdoch; kill your television!" I, being a literal technical person, spell it all out, gaining in clarity while I sacrifice concision; but the graffiti artist, being an artist, employs litotes after the style of Ernest Hemingway to phrase the same notion more compactly. It's that simple.

Yours, WD "prolix" K -

Getting into my Chevrolet Magic Fire, I drove slowly back to the office. - L. Rosen

Well, you know... (none / 0) (#18)
by hauntedattics on Mon May 6th, 2002 at 06:20:46 AM PST
I hate to burst your bubble, but the original graffito was all lower case.

Your treatise on "Cops" was most insightful, however.

Razor wire and a minefield. (none / 0) (#3)
by The Mad Scientist on Thu May 2nd, 2002 at 05:47:20 PM PST
This should stop them. Could also add interesting touch to the city architecture.

If you really cared, Madam, you would (none / 0) (#4)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu May 2nd, 2002 at 05:59:47 PM PST
take direct action. After all, aren't the suburbs of England simply bristling with security cameras? Simply form a vigilante committee, track down the people responsible, and do with them what you will. But I suppose you're a mere thinker who would prefer to engage in pointless speculation and endless debate.

oops, (none / 0) (#5)
by nathan on Thu May 2nd, 2002 at 06:20:52 PM PST
Wrong Cambridge. It looks like you must have left your brain in your other pants or something.

Li'l Sis: Yo, that's a real grey area. Even by my lax standards.

Besides, (none / 0) (#8)
by because it isnt on Thu May 2nd, 2002 at 07:38:18 PM PST
the disaffected youth of Cambridge, England, are too busy harrassing innocent workers to have time to graffiti anything. -- because it isn't

English graffittos of higher calibur (none / 0) (#11)
by Mr Somebody on Fri May 3rd, 2002 at 04:28:32 AM PST
don't believe me? check out this guy

feckin' hypermintylinks! (none / 0) (#13)
by Mr Somebody on Fri May 3rd, 2002 at 06:12:22 AM PST
ok, just go to my links kept getting routed back to the front page!!

Sir, (none / 0) (#14)
by majubma on Fri May 3rd, 2002 at 09:48:11 AM PST

Please learn how to make a properly formatted hyperlink.

-- All information wants to be free, especially information about what you do in the privacy of your own home.

I do beg your pardon (none / 0) (#15)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat May 4th, 2002 at 05:16:24 AM PST
I didn't even realise there was another Cambridge. Never mind I'm here to learn.

No problem (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by walwyn on Sat May 4th, 2002 at 04:30:23 PM PST
A group of sightseers, in 1620, were just as surprised to find that there was a place called Plymouth on the North American coast.

rent is not theft (none / 0) (#9)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri May 3rd, 2002 at 12:03:30 AM PST
property is. But it all balances out in the end because the law prosecutes both rich and the poor folk alike for their theft of a loaf of bread.

Sadly... (none / 0) (#10)
by Chocolate Milkshake on Fri May 3rd, 2002 at 12:52:38 AM PST of the downsides to living in a free(er) society is having to bear the consequences of excessive high spirits on the part of the sons and daughters of the bourgeoise. Perhaps some consolaton can be found in the fact that if any genuine members of America's working class caught one of these self-important spoiled babies spray-painting "cops=racism" on a wall, they would be sorely tempted to stomp the toffee-nosed brat into a squishy organic paste useful for fertilizing flower beds, thereby putting the little punk to some practical use for once.

Aside from agitating for more police presence in your neighborhood (which probably won't work), or organizing a neighborhood watch (which will probably be more trouble than it's worth), your best bet is probably to wait six weeks for these bothersome squirts to lose interest in saving the world, and take up some other pastime, like "extreme" rollerblading, or growing up, selling out, and getting a job.

Good advice. (none / 0) (#12)
by hauntedattics on Fri May 3rd, 2002 at 05:28:27 AM PST
I think I'll just grin and bear it. The increased police and security presence in the area (the main county courthouse is just down the street) is obviously not acting as a deterrent.


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