Monday, December 26, 2005
The Freewayblogger Manifesto, Illustrated
I put this up over the 580 in Oakland this afternoon. I doubt it'll last more than a few hours, but then again, you never know. Makes for a nice picture though.
If this looks familiar, it's because I put it up before Christmas. We've had at least two big rainstorms since then and it still looks brand new. Even though five or six hundred thousand people have driven under it, I doubt more than two or three hundred thousand of them bothered to read it.
This one's been up over five very busy lanes of traffic for over a week now. I probably should replace it, but I think it looks good.
Three days and counting for this one. You can't tell from the picture, but it's hard to miss if you're on the 101 heading north. Damn hard to get to too.
This one went up today. I've had mixed results with this spot, also on the 101. Sometimes they stay up for hours, sometimes days. I'd like to direct your attention to the white spot on the fence in front of the truck. That's a sign I put up three weeks ago reading "We're all wearing the blue dress now." You can see it better here: http://freewayblogger.blogspot.com/2005/12/monica-your-country-needs-you.html
Signs placed along the side of the freeway last a LOT longer than those placed on overpasses or in direct line-of-sight. This is a very busy stretch of freeway... stop and go during morning and evening rush hours, so a lot of people have seen it. Can't say how many of them got it, but hopefully the "Impeach." sign will clarify things for them.
I put this "Impeach." sign up today on the pedestrian walkway at the end of University Avenue in Berkeley. It's easily visible to five lanes of traffic heading west on I-80. If it lasts into the night it'll be illuminated nicely by a streetlight. I was going to put another one up for the eastbound traffic, but saw that the one I put up three days ago was still there.
This "The War is a Lie." sign's been up alongside one of the busiest onramps in San Francisco for a week now. The ramp's curved in such a way that it's pretty much impossible to miss. If everyone in this country who felt the war is a lie put up a sign that said "The War is a Lie." there'd be over a hundred million signs up.
I think by now you get the point. If you want to express your political opinion to a lot of people, this is the way to do it. All of these signs were placed on State property (which means "your property") and as free, non-commercial political speech, are protected under the First Amendment. They are, in fact, about as protected as speech gets in this country, and the fact that I've been able to do this as much as I have for as long as I have pretty much proves it. So long as they're posted safely, which means on the inside of the fencing, not the outside, the most a cop can ask you to do is to take it down, on the off chance they catch you. I've hung over 2500 signs now, and been caught in the act precisely six times. Each time I was polite as could be and did everything the officer asked me to, including taking down the sign, if that's what they wanted. So long as you comply with everything they say, and aren't drunk or in the least bit belligerent, you're untouchable, and they know it.
In other words, get rid of the notion that this is in any way a criminal act. It's your right as a citizen. It's not even just your right, it's your goddam duty as a citizen to speak out: as loud as you can to as many of your fellow citizens as you can. When the Founding Fathers of this nation gave us - all of us -the right to free political speech, they did it for a reason: So we could Speak-the-Fuck-Out if the party in power started running amok and the press became its lapdog.
Free Speech by the individual was intended by the framers of the Constitution to be the ultimate failsafe for democracy. It's all they gave us to protect our nation and it's all we really need... but it only works if we use it.
One last thing: Screw bedsheets. Bedsheets suck. Zipties too. Cardboard and bungees, with some duct tape on the corners: That's the way to go.