Is Graffiti Art or Degenerative Hatred?

A week ago, in our Panopticonic blog, I wrote an article — BigBelly Solar Recycling in Jersey City — and less than a week later, those divine BigBelly landmarks in our urban core have become geographic eyesores as red graffiti pocks the new surface of the metal bins.  Here’s how one BigBelly looked after its aesthetic destruction at the hands of some Jersey City Heights hooligan:

Here’s how that same BigBelly looked less than a week ago:

A week ago, another BigBelly down the street looked like this:

Today, that same BigBelly has been tagged to look like this:

What is wrong with people today?  Why can’t something new and spectacular just be left alone to age and gracefully decay?  Why the big rush to add the obnoxious and the ugly?  I’m sure in another week, all the BigBelly cans will be “graffiti peed on” by passing miscreants.

As well, in the above shot, the compactor door had a tread mark on it — clearly indicating someone had kicked closed the door with the sole of their boot.  What a jerk!

I’m not a big fan of destructive graffiti — or of kicking innocent trash bins — because none of that has a role in proper society and none of that is art and all of that sort of behavior only seeks to humiliate and embarrass a grander effort by the city to do the right thing.

Iconic Political Urban Graffiti — by Banksy and such — at least have a thought and message embedded in the effort:

There is a Universal Human Context that can be tapped and empowered by the proper execution of iconic political urban graffiti. Here’s one stunning example that says it all without saying a single word: America is now more about bombing people than lighting the way to lead them to freedom.

How we grab back our innocence from those who prefer to drag us down into the ugly with them?  Are we able to stand away from them and say, “Stop it!” when they push their degrading aesthetic in the public square?

Do we have enough moral gumption left to say, “Drop the spray can and lower your boot to the ground?”  Or have we all become so terrified of each other on the street that we’d rather risk the destruction of good intentions in order to preserve only the selfish self?

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