I’m not a big fan of singer Chris Brown. I don’t like how he treated his girlfriend, Rihanna, but I do appreciate the pressure he’s feeling from his neighbors over an invented Urban Semiotic problem that he’s deeply invested in on a career angle. No, I’m not talking about his Graffiti album, I’m talking about his driveway.
Chris decorated a rather ugly concrete retaining wall with graffiti cartoon characters from his Graffiti album and his neighbors abhor the semiotic he’s emblazoned in their neighborhood lives:
The City of Los Angeles have already fined Chris $376.32 for having “unpermitted and excessive signage” on his wall.
Patti Negri, head of the Hollywood Dell Civic Assn., said, “Chris himself did not warm himself to the neighborhood when he first got here, so this is kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“Yes, we are in the middle of Hollywood, but it’s this old enclave. There are lots of babies, lots of children and they’re literally frightened. It’s like devils on the wall – big scary eyes and big scary teeth, and just the whole vibe is not what we’re used to.”
I guess Patti Negri and her horrible ilk don’t read to their monster children, or they eschew the seminal work of children’s book author Maurice Sendak — “Where the Wild Things Are” — as being much too scary because it is filled with monsters… just like those Chris Brown drew on his public wall:
I’d have so much more respect for Chris Brown’s neighbors if they just came out and said, “Look, we don’t like Chris Brown. We don’t like his music. We don’t like him as a person. We want him out of our lives. He needs to move.”
That, of course, will never happen, because in the USA we can’t force people to move just because we don’t like them, or because they don’t fit into our idea of what a good neighbor should be, and so we begin the odd and laborious work of divining them down into objects and ink and circles and fangs that we objectify so the new, cold, foreigner scares all the little children. Then we fine them. Then we take their house. Then we help them find someplace else to live far away from the rest of us — all with a smile on our blank, and immoral, old Hollywood faces.