Monday, March 23, 2015

Save the Arctic: LA

"This is the way the world ends: Not with a bang but a whimper." - T.S. Eliot

 Signs placed on the 5, 110, 101 Freeways and La Cienega Blvd. in Los Angeles.

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." - Douglas Adams

"This land is your land and this land is my land, sure, but the world is run by those that never listen to music anyway." ~ Bob Dylan
“The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” - George Washington

"Nothing leads to good that is not natural." - Friedrich Schiller

"In the long run, we're all dead." - John Maynard Keyes

Signs posted - 7,013

Sunday, March 01, 2015

7000 Signs - 0 Arrests: A Retrospective

 This is my 7000th political freeway sign, at least since I started counting. It stayed up next to ten lanes of the San Diego Freeway for three days - that's 1,800,000 eyes!
 My first signs went up immediately after Bush V. Gore: those dark, voiceless days when a 5-4 decision turned our democracy into the world’s most powerful banana republic. If you remember what that felt like, putting signs on freeways doesn’t seem so odd.

 I hate bombing and I don’t care who does it. Whether it’s dropped from an airplane, buried by the road or walking into a pizza parlor - I think it’s all just murderous cowardly bullshit.
 Especially when the people you’re bombing had nothing to do with it.
 These words came to me when I read “What I Didn’t Find in Africa” by Ambassador Joe Wilson, the first of many disclosures that our war against the wrong guy was bullshit. When I googled them there was only one hit, so I did what anyone would do - wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper, the LA Times. “Editor - Nobody died when Clinton lied.” When they didn’t publish it I said ok, fuck you then, I’ll do it myself, and proceeded to paint it up and post it on freeways all over southern California. This was my first real attempt at a campaign - to physically place a specific set of words in front of as many eyeballs as possible - and it worked spectacularly. Over the next six weeks I watched the hits on google go from 1 to 15 to 75 to hundreds and then thousands. Then I started seeing it on bumperstickers.
 I did hundreds of these. Not particularly witty, but short, and to the point. After two solid years of listening to the media go on about how Clinton lied (He Lied!) about a blowjob only to go silent when Bush lied us into a war, putting these up was a pleasure.
 Seriously, in the history of warfare has there ever been a conflict manufactured so entirely by men who were such demonstrable cowards?
 In 2004 there was this one shut down footbridge over the Santa Monica Freeway that still had a light burning in the middle of it. Getting inside was a bit tricky and scary, but once you were there anything you put under that light looked awesome and spooky as hell.
 The day after I put this up an AP photographer got a picture and by the next day it was in newspapers all over the world.

 Easily the strangest thing to occur during my lifetime was the replacement of Osama Bin Laden with Saddam Hussein as the perpetrator of the 9/11 attacks. And this without so much as a peep from the media. Meanwhile, the rest of the world went from “We are all Americans” to “We are all amazed at how profoundly stupid and manipulatable Americans are.”
 Honestly, you’d think the one thing Republicans would actually get right would be violent revenge. But no, they even fucked that one up. One of my most cherished memories was following an SUV with one of those “We Will Never Forget 9/11” bumperstickers as we passed by one of my “Osama Who?” signs.
 How many times do you suppose he said “Saddam Hussein?” Thousands.
 Some signs I'd do just for the fun of it...

 How to adopt an Adopt-a-Highway sign...
 (A polite way of saying George Bush jacked off on the entire country.)
 I’m not a big fan of state-sponsored torture. I’ve been trying to figure out why waterboarding was illegal in World War Two but permissible now, and all I’ve been able to come up with is that we’ve become shittier people.

 (Seriously, what is it with right-wingers and spelling?)
 These were done at the request of the families. They stayed up for a long time.
 I took a couple years off when Obama was elected, but started up again during the Occupy Movement and since then turned my attention to climate change. I’ve thought about quitting plenty of times, but old habits die hard. I’ve become addicted to the relaxation that comes from painting signs and the rush I get from posting them. I also love the photography.
Mostly what keeps me going though is when I’m driving and see one of my signs still up on a fence somewhere. I’ll look at it and think to myself, “I’m glad someone decided to do that.” So long as that keeps happening, I’ll probably keep doing it. It doesn’t even matter that the someone was me. 
Signs Posted - 7,000
Arrests - 0