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Opinion

Mystery graffiti artists on campus lack creativity, skills

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March 24, 2010

I noticed something on my spring break strolls last week. River Falls has fallen captive to the most insidious of all criminals – those damned graffiti people.

I don’t know what else to call them.

Artists?

Psh, the line between graffiti and art – at least in our town – remains broad.

Sure, graffiti meets the aesthetic requirements expected of artwork on some exotic dumpsters somewhere. But not here.

Graffiti is often used to communicate a social or political message. I saw one down by the dam in Glen Park.

Scribbled on a concrete pillar by the trotting water of the Kinni is the message “Rise Up For Women’s Rights.” The handwriting is sloppy. Perhaps it was written by a four year old or by someone struck with the drunkard’s palsy.

The scrawl is unadorned with any artistic flair – just black ink from a spray can. Now the cause I cannot disagree with.

After reading Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and seeing The Vagina Monologues more times than is necessary for a young man, I wholeheartedly support equal rights and opportunities for women.

But vandalizing the natural beauty of the riverside with such a slipshod scratch job is shameful. I don’t think it will motivate anyone to rise up for any reason except to leave.

There is similar slapdashery sprayed on a dumpster in the alley behind South Fork Café. This one, with equally slack paintsmanship, simply reads “THINK.”

It is completely ugly and totally useless save for use as an exercise in mockery (read: this article). It doesn’t provoke any thought or sew any seeds of growing consciousness. It just further soils an already-soiled dumpster full of chicken giblets and smelly beef.

Another symbol is sprayed near the dam in Glen Park. This one is a classic attempt at the well-known symbol of anarchism – an “A” scrawled over a circle. In the usual symbol, the “A” bursts beyond the circle and represents escape from the bindings of social and political oppression.

What’s funny about the Glen Park anarchy symbol is the fact that the “A” remains neatly contained within its circular perimeter. It’s like it is quite at home and has no desire to escape or break out or anything of the sort. It’s a symbol for the slothful anarchist.

That guy who claims he’s totally for anarchy, man, but would rather skip the rally in the street and just order some Domino’s instead. He has a coupon from last time.

So if any of you damned graffiti people read this article, know that I am furious at you for not entertaining me with your vandalism.

If you are willing to risk it all on the side of a dumpster to peddle your political and philosophical musings to the populace, please take the time to make it worth it for the rest of us. If you’re going to break the law, the least you can do is entertain me in the process.

Alright, I guess it’s also my duty as a public columnist to say this: uh, don’t break the law, please.

Joe Hager is a student at UW-River Falls.