Friday, 19 March 2010

Tagging Officer Dibble or how The Sun supports Graffiti Artists

Guest post from Greg

Just plucked the "throw over" Townville Sun from my letter box to be faced with Officer Dibble on the front page espousing his anger over vandalism in our fair city that has apparently cost the equivalent of a councillors salary in the past year to clean up. If it gets much worse perhaps we should just ditch one or two of our elected officials and use the savings to hire more clean up gangs, but indulgent thoughts won't get me anywhere.

Anyway in the article Officer Dibble makes a few significant pronouncements about graffiti in our town by saying " vandalising any property is a criminal offence - it's not art work, it's vandalism" (funny but I never seem to use a sentence that includes both "Officer Dibble and "artistic appreciation"), "they are very difficult to catch as tagging accrues(?) late at night" (I bet every defence lawyer in town shook in their boots when Officer Dibble gave evidence for the prosecution with such a grasp of reality) and that " the more graffiti you have the more it generates (so) it is important to clean up and paint over these senseless works as soon as possible".

Ignoring the fact that the final comment can be seen as a call to arms to paint over much of the awful signage that carries the TCC logo in our once attractive locale, Officer Dibble does make sense on this one point. One of the big attractions of graffiti to the artist is that it allows his or her graphic to be seen by all and also (hopefully) provoke a public response.

But here is where our once proud member of the thin blue line has also shown how his thirst to be portrayed in the media as "the tough on crime" Councillor overtakes good sense and effective public policy. The centrepiece of the photo on page 1 of the throw over (that has a circulation of 52,858) is a crystal clear shot of a tag on a concrete culvert in the new Eyre St carpark (replete of course with the obligatory mug shot of Officer Dibble).

This particular tagger must have thought that all his/her dreams came true by being provided with the biggest audience in town and subsequently driving a very public discourse about graffiti. The price tag for having the Last word is $72,000 and climbing.

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