Mene Mene Tekel Parsin


I used to be appalled by graffiti. And then for a little while I thought maybe I was just wasn’t sophisticated enough to appreciate this sort of stuff, because some people think this is street art. I guess it ceases to be street art when the medium of such artistic expression is either private property or public domain with scarred aesthetics. When something previously beautiful is defaced it ceases to be artistic, even assuming such acts can be termed artistic, as opposed to a nasty tendency to be rebellious and express such tendencies in an in-your-face yet cowardly but provocative manner.

I was following some reactions to the Federal Court judgment against Andrew Bolt, when I stumbled on this marvellous blog entry which cited the work of Mark Steyn in relating the example of graffiti as a symptom of western civilisation decay. The juxtaposition between the Old Testament story relating to Daniel’s interpretation of the Babylonian King’s message of doom on the wall and the modern day disease of graffiti, was a joy to read. I must list this book (After America: Get Ready for Armageddon) under my wish-list basket in Amazon.com.

I must however, make room for singing the praises of Melbourne in approaching this issue, albeit only as a compromise. A couple of years ago Kiddo, Tress and I were wandering in the city one day and Kiddo (the official city guide for us) took us to that infamous street where graffiti covered the every brick of all walls lining that street. Personally to me it was grotesque. We took some pictures, with half of me glad that such “freedom” existed in my home city but the other half cringed because in that same block and also for blocks surrounding that area, beautiful buildings, courtyards and public squares abound. The compromise I guess is in letting these tormented souls release the ghosts within the deep recesses of their beings in a way which engages the support, consent and approval of owners of buildings otherwise considered defaced. I guess some would say they can see beauty in such expressions and some would welcome such activities by these people and not try and “turn them around”.

Ah well, I blame it all on post-modernism. Again. Nothing is right or wrong anymore. All must be respected. All must be given their say and corner in this world.

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