Sunday, February 20, 2005

Getting The Message Out

Q and O reports that a billboard thanking Hollywood for ensuring the re-election of George W. Bush has been defaced with a swastika. Just the other day I had to explain that kind of political vandalism to a friend's child. She asked me about the graffiti she's seen on stop signs around town that makes them read "Stop Bush". I told her it says more about the maturity level of the people who did it than it does about the message they're trying to get out. They would hijack a public safety sign, thus making us all pay for their expression, rather than make their own sign and display it on their own property.

That being said, the incident above reminds me of something that happened when I was in college. A group of women had a "Take Back The Night" march that was supposed to be some sort of statement that women don't deserve to be raped no matter what they're wearing. They announced their march in advance, and all day the campus was buzzing with discussion about women's issues. But that night at the march, they took off their shirts and exposed themselves-- this was somehow supposed to prove their point. The effect it had, however, was to make everyone in the dorm (male and female alike) rush to the window to see the boobies. All discussion of women's issues ceased, and all we saw was a bunch of screaming nekkid wimmin.

The vehicle we use to get our messages out can sometimes run us over.

On a related note, the screaming nekkid wimmin took advantage of the campus police's unwillingness to do anything about them, and spray-painted a "woman power" symbol (the Venus symbol with a fist in the center of the circle) on the concrete walk in front of our dorms. A couple of days later, though, some wag came along and spray-painted a broom going through the fist. It was classic, yet fresh. The swastika, by contrast, has been done so many times that it's trite.