This Urban Semiotic blog has been dedicated — for the last five years or so — to digging up and discovering the signs, images and visual imprints that coerce the city core. After writing over 2,000 articles for you here, I can confidently share with you the American Urban Center is governed by, and dug into, two unflayable, and perpetually un-learnable, lessons in dueling images: The Bullet and The Body.
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Two days ago a Haitian immigrant friend of mine — who recently landed in Far Rockaway, Queens to find a better life and to chase the American Dream — heard a fight in the street below his apartment.
He then made the fatal mistake of the curious and went to his window to see what was happening. A stray 9mm bullet shot from the street blasted through his window, ricocheted off his collarbone, and punctured his heart. He was dead before his body slumped to the floor.
Public Opinion is formed in America in the disparate experiences of the masses that the major media then forms and congeals into an entity that can be measured and exploited via advertising.
The Editorial Cartoon, however, has always found its most purposeful purchase just outside that mainstream media venom line to pock and poke fun of falsely considered mainstream media values with sticks of truth and the bones of what is real.
People are shocked to learn in New Orleans gunshots are being fired at helicopter rescuers, cellular tower technicians and levee engineers. Why the shock? It all makes perfect human sense: There is profit in chaos. In a crisis, a grab for power can bring new life and tempt an old death. Right now those in power are those who best know the backwater streets and flooded alleyways.
Those who control the ground are required, as willful instruments of human impulse, to finally enforce their minority will on the majority with muscle and bullets. Those creating the chaos must perpetuate it with fear against those who wish for a quick return to law and order because there are riches buried in the Katrina rubble and restoring access and electricity and good people defeats the mission of those who seek to reap profit from death.