T.A.G. : Your tax dollars /Educating/

In 2001, and for sometime there after, Los Angeles ‘government’ through CBS proxy (and tax dollars), in much the same thinking as the ‘word-ban’ agenda (r-word.org), L.A. Country Board of Supervisors developed and propagated the following /message/; “Totally Against Graffiti: Because there is a difference between Art and Graffiti.” (T.A.G.) Later the by-line modified to “Stop Graffiti and We all win.”  This blog entry looks closer at the science of babble, and as much will reveal how time and time again, word shell-games are used to deceive us.  The implication is that time and money finds the greedy pocket, while the real problem goes on unabated if not becoming worse (in the case at point; worse).  Names are named (sorta), and if doing so produces ‘blow-back’ so be it – it needs to be said.  This two questions are at focus:  Do persons of authority know better?  If not why not, if so, what is to be gained from shell-games?  First a disclaimer, then some background, leading to main analysis, concluding with today’s news and tomorrows implications.

With the exception of a few degenerates, no one wants to see the community assailed with piss-mark-like writing on the properties and public structures in plain view.  A more radical view, is that committing vandalism through graffiti technique is a form of terrorism – and should be treated as such by law enforcement.  That said, and this blog entry serves as a clear caveat; there is a difference between vandalism through graffiti technique – and graffiti.  Think it just pointless parsing, with no repercussions for over-generalization?  Read on.  In explaining the importance of Kenneth Burke, Ernest Wrage, and Loren Reid, the Quarterly Journal Of Speech article written by Malcolm O. Silars in 1964 “Rhetoric as Act” provides us clues of things to come in the “technique” and “anti-technique” struggle within communication.  Specifically, the consequence of “sowing ambiguity to reap the products of confusion” on a political level care of the McCarthyism movement, explains Silars, and sadly that “few dug deep enough into McCarthy’s rhetoric to see what they really had to combat.” (pp280).  This, sowing, simple involves equivocation to circumvent whatever antinomy that exists within the community.  If a for-profit entity does it as means to sell a product – it’s a commercial.  If a not-for-profit entity, such as a government employees this communication in order to influence opinion – it’s propaganda.  Silar brought out a simple warning about the complexity involved in message: “The recognition of rhetoric as act might seem to be only a semantic nicety, but for the rhetorical critic it has far reaching implication.”  Gross misrepresentation of message consequence being the issue – one only need to look at John Yoo’s /interpretation/ (topic shell-game) as the modern day Torquemada effort.  We are better than that.  Some degree of accountability is what is needed.  For the most part, CBS got paid for the topic-shell game, tax payers got the bill, and city officials patted themselves on the back – proclaim campaign ‘success’ while, the vandalism exploded – just exploded, with no statistic to the contrary.  Blurring the line pays. It might not be right, but it pays.

The Wall Street Journal today, has covered via exceptional journalism (Gabriele Steinhauser); the tale of a struggle between the new skool and the old skool camps of graffiti traditions.  “Robbo” to many is a hero, and it’s just too bad L.A. thus far has invoked, rather than truth, for political points squandered tax dollars via propaganda.  This is the same town from which the band Everest emerged as a fix for our ears.  Now if we could just get a fix for our vision before things get much worse.  For the ARTIST Robbo, the comeback was sweet – the mess of Bansky checked.  Now if we could only get that political and educational equivalent here in Los Angeles.  Retract that campaign, or explain that campaign.  They ought to, by now, know better.

Images imported from drseussjuice.com


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