Monday, August 25, 2008

Rewriting the apocalypse

I'm finding it difficult to express my disgust in a calm and rational manner, but I will do my best. Plodding across town about an hour ago I came to the site of some long standing graffiti (pictured) "Apocalypse now" plastered in bright white paint on an obscure factory chimney.

Part of the joy of it is that it's tucked away and is even complete with a crossing out where the "artist" had set out but then made a mistake and started again. How often do you see that? Pretty rarely. It probably doesn't look much from this picture but it's been there for years and always brought a bit of warmth to my heart every time I saw it.


But. When I passed the factry what do I see? It's been "improved" with an additional "If not now when" with the rest of the original blanked out. Moralising tossers. Why go over part of the hidden history of Cambridge? Why not find your own spot? I just don't understand what they thought they were adding to the sum of the world's knowledge through this pointless bit of tat.

It reminds me of a wonderful bit of graffito in Ipswich on the bridge just near the train station. "Troops out of Vietnam" it proclaimed in five foot high letters. Faded but still beautiful thirty years later. What does some dimwit then go and do? Paint "Iraq" over the word "Vietnam".

Just so we're clear - in this context Troops out of Vietnam is a better anti-Iraq war slogan than Troops out of Iraq because no one, but no one, would have failed to draw the parallel themselves and it allows people to think for themselves about half a century of American wars. We don't need to be hectored. This was the act of a misanthropic philistine(s) which treats us like morons.

Obviously the council removed it all, once it had been defaced. What a shame. A real piece of modern history buggered up by some ignorant muppet.

I know some of the left think that shouting slogans at people is an effective form of politics, but frankly, for me, this episode shows that some people are unable to distinguish between politics that makes you think in an undirected way allowing for real depth - and politics that directs us to limit our thinking to shallow, pre-approved cliches that don't have a chance of persuading those outside of faithful.

6 comments:

Weasel said...

Bloody hell, that's quite gutting - I always rather enjoyed passing that one - for the neatness and ambiguity of it and the fact that it actually looked like it took a bit of effort to get up there and do it.

Wish they'd left the bloody thing alone.

Ed said...

There was a big 'Yanks out of Vietnam' slogan in white paint on a wall of a car park near one of the Sainsburys in York too. I think it's only recently been destroyed - not by a silly muppet this time, but by property developers building luxury flats.

First time I saw it I couldn't believe it - that's been there for going on 40 years?? Shame to see it go. And you're right, every time I passed it I thought about Iraq and I suspect so did everyone else.

weggis said...

When the Apocalypse does come, as it inevitably will, we will not see it coming and only those that survive, if any, will know that it happenned.

Anonymous said...

slogans = ineffective?

the 'intellectuals' are the shoeshine boys of the ruling elite

and yes, I mean you.

Moralising tosser? Pot. Kettle. Black.

be seeing you...

Jim Jay said...

Predictably anon: Pfft...

Anonymous said...

Altering graffiti is public conversation. You don't get it because you're still in broadcast mode.