Sunday, December 15, 2013

SOS, Woodsy Owl!

The corner of Harvard and Vassar Streets in Rochester, NY. (12/14/13)
Recently there has been an increase in vandalism in my neighborhood. Much of it can best be described as graffiti or "branding," someone spray painting logos with a template on stop signs, mailboxes and hydrants. Yesterday while driving home from the supermarket, my wife even noticed a sign tacked to a tree that offered a reward for information leading to the arrest of vandals who had stolen lawn ornaments. The images posted above and below were taken within a two-block radius of our home.

This is not to suggest the city is not putting forth an effort to curb such silliness. Our upstate New York city government's Defacer Eraser does an excellent job covering up the sophomoric artistic attempts of would-be-Banksys (I would guess those who tagged and stenciled in the images below fancy themselves advant-garde artisans). These efforts just don't seem to make much difference. While graffiti removal programs do briefly remove or cover graffiti, the strategy does little to dissuade perpetrator from returning (and repainting) the scene of the crime over and over and over again. With this, I bet my old hero Woodsy Owl might be able to offer a hand wing.

Unfortunately, the only real way to eliminate this type of communal property damage would be to educate and instill in those involved that this is the wrong way to go about expressing themselves--something Woodsy did very publicly through appearances and public service announcement (PSAs) in the 1970s. It would be fair to suggest that maybe he (and USDA Forest Service who sponsor his efforts) have not been too successful as here we are 25+ years later still dealing with the same issue.

Despite this, I still believe in Woodsy Owl and his messages regrading litter and vandalism. Unfortunately, in an age when we glorify criminal activity such as graffiti by imbuing it with some sort of artistic or political merit, even a kindly six-foot, 300 pound owl in a triangle hat is going to have difficulty reaching people. At least until a sense of community well-being and respect is restored...

The artistic genius with this stencil  must paint while delivering his mail;
once removed, it magically re-appears days later. (12/14/13)

1 comment:

Ernesto said...

So cute pictures in this post!!!! Bravo.

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