Friday, December 08, 2006
Putting Text In Front of Traffic
The night after the election I went out and got a bunch of these election signs: lightweight, waterproof and blank on one side, they make for perfect freewayblogging material.
Every couple of days I'd spend a few hours painting and then go for a drive putting up signs.
As a result of this little hobby, millions of Bay Area drivers have seen signs calling for the impeachment of the president where they would've normally seen only fences, empty overpasses and trees. I don't know if this has any effect on people or their politics and frankly don't really care: I do this because I think the country looks better with at least some evidence of dissent and that drivers, bombarded by billboards, corporate logos and advertising, should get to see at least one sign that was generated by an individual.
As it stands, the average individual in this country is exposed to thousands of messages per day through television, radio and advertising, almost all of them generated by corporate institutions, and the political debate, to the extent there is any, is provided by a handful of "media personalities" who act at best as corporate shills and at worst as the kind of bloodthirsty warmongering genocidal assholes who cheered us into this war in the first place. It doesn't seem right to let them go unchallenged.
To be honest though, I think the main reason I keep doing this is this: It's a Fuck of a Lot of Fun. Think about it: all I'm doing is spending a couple hours painting signs then driving around looking for strategic places to put them. Believe me, once you get into it, it's one of the greatest games you'll ever play. The rules are simple: put text in front of traffic.
Say whatever it is you want to say and put it in a place where it can't be reached easily by the people who see it. Thanks to the dynamics of the freeways, signs placed fifty feet from traffic can take miles of driving to actually get to, while posting them requires little more than stepping out of your car.
Whatever your sign says, where you put it or how long it lasts, it demonstrates at least one thing: someone felt they had the right and/or obligation to speak out to as many of their fellow citizens as they could. Even though it's been pretty much played out as a phrase, freewayblogging is one thing where the medium truly is the message and it's open to pretty much anyone who can walk, drive, or pick up a paintbrush.
The first thing you've got to do though is this: You've Got To Paint The Signs.