NEW YORK (Reuters) - Seven "artists" have filed suit against New York City over its strict anti-graffiti law, saying it violated their constitutional right to free speech. The group argued in federal court that the city went too far by banning people under 21 from possessing spray paint or broad-tipped markers.
Gabriel Taussig, a lawyer for New York City, said the law "strikes a proper constitutional balance between the First Amendment rights (to free speech) and the need to control the long-standing plague of graffiti."
The law took effect at the start of the year.
City Councilman Peter Vallone wants to permanently erase the image of New York in the 1970s and 1980s, when graffiti, much of it obscene, covered subway cars and many buildings.
"Graffiti is on the rise. It's becoming glorified again. We don't have the police we used to and those we have are concentrating on terrorism," he said.
Of course, this is by way of analogy. My IT guy put the image in my head a few weeks ago and it stayed there. I think he's right. It absolutely captures, explains and puts in perspective all things PR blogging. It may forebode the future.
By way of a little background, according to Wikipedia:
"Historically, the term graffiti originally referred to the inscriptions, figure drawings, etc., found on the walls of ancient sepulchers or ruins, as in the Catacombs of Rome or at Pompeii.
Usage of the word has evolved to include pictures or writing placed on surfaces, usually external walls and sidewalks, without the permission of an owner.
The first known example of 'modern style' graffiti survives in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus (in modern-day Turkey) and appears to advertise prostitution. It stands near the long mosaic and stone walkway and consists of a handprint, a vaguely heart-like shape, a footprint and a number. This purportedly indicates how many steps one would have to take to find a lover, with the handprint indicating payment."
And thus the modern PR blogger was born. Lawless, unruly... more territorial and promotional than informational. Of course, there are a few exceptions. :)
Just about two years ago today, Mr. B. Drummond Ayres Jr. of the New York Times filed a story titled "In a City of Graffiti, Gangs Turn to Violence to Protect Their Art."
"'Sometimes when I'm walking down the street and I see this bare wall, the urge hits me and, like, I just can't control it,' Alex Alvarez said, explaining why he is one of thousands of teenagers scribbling graffiti in Los Angeles." We learn that the artists are called "taggers," that in their zeal to protect their turf there are now "frequent beatings," that one tagger is thought to be responsible for "three recent slayings." Alvarez is quoted, "I write my name up there and--KA-Pow!--I'm famous."
In that context, now ask Rubel and his buddies to "accelerate the conversation" on the merits of Corporate Tagging. I imagine the CEO of Consolidated Fuzz handing out spray-paint cans at the front door of his corporate campus to strangers looking to Open the Dialogue.