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.

The real crust of the crux is how parents in the neighborhood are using their children’s welfare as a cudgel against Brown’s public semiotic:

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.


  1. Very unimaginative parents – apart from anything else …………….. this says more about them than it does Mr Brown and to “use your children like this ” and any other way is bordering on child abuse.

    1. It’s a common cause here in the USA: Hide behind you children, use them as your online Avatar, be “offended” for them. Crow to the world how unfair the world is to your kids and how scared they are and how they demand to be protected from false foreigners.

      Kids are actually more resilient and open-minded than their parents because they haven’t yet learned how to illogically hate those unlike them.

      1. They forget who is actually responsible for making that world. Historically there have always been bogey men – but they have usually been objects of fantasy.

        My kids loved Monster Books – ny grandson loves Where the Wild things are, Scary Mc Clary, and all kinds of monsters, I think had they seen this these particular monsters their reaction would have been “COOL” !

        1. Right! What you say makes sense, and what The Mothers Against Chris Brown are saying doesn’t pass the giggle test! Kids would love those colorful monsters he painted on his wall.

          The kids movie, Monsters Inc., has similar looking characters!


  2. Interesting… of all the complaints one could lodge against Chris Brown this is the last one I would expect to get a lot of publicity.

    1. Ha! You made me laugh, Emily! You’re absolutely right that the least of our worries about Chris Brown in society is some cartoons he’s drawn on his wall.

      1. Especially since, like you said, I wonder if the kids really are that scared of the drawings. I think 7-year-old me would have been fascinated!

        1. It’s a ginned up complaint, Emily. That’s how you “punish” people you don’t like in your neighborhood. You get the community against them and then start finding moral and legal remedies to force them out.

  3. I have a couple of hideous trouble spots around my house – namely one railroad tie retaining wall that I absolutely can not WAIT to be rid of- it is far scarier than those creatures on Mr. Brown’s concrete wall. As a matter of fact, you just gave me an idea with this post. SMILE

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