rquinlivan | Chicago Reader

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Re: “Weed Wolf, the tagger

Well, at least he's consistent, right? It's one thing to hate the bourgeoisie if you're earning a healthy wage at the local Bank of America branch, quite another to hate it if you're living off stealing and selling your spoils on eBay. So I'll grant him his quasi-anarchist, vaguely-Marxist intellectual position, if only on the basis of consistency.

But ignoring the ideology for the moment, it's not nice to draw your name on other peoples things. That is behavior that is universally frowned upon in any society, capitalist or not. You don't have to be a wealthy benefactor of our corporate overlords to find it a little annoying when you have a thing, like a condo or a car or a sandwich, and some dude writes his name all over it with paint. That's not *nice*. It has nothing to do with American consumerism or the western conception of property rights. If you walked up to a 15th century Igbo village and started writing WEED WOLF all over their houses, they would be pretty pissed off. You would be hard pressed to find a civilization in the history of the world that would just nod and go along with having their stuff tagged by strangers. Tagging is a pretty universally frowned-upon activity. Regardless of what Mr. Wolf and his compatriots feel about the reception of their "work", and ignoring any judgment about Mr. Wolf's moral character, it is quite likely the case that writing WEED WOLF on any human settlement, contemporary or historical, will necessarily enrage its occupants.

So let's not reduce this entire story down to another round of puerile arguments about capitalism and gentrification etc. Those are totally important conversations to have, but in this case, they're a dodge. Because even a fucking five year-old can tell you, it is not nice to write on other people's things. Mr. Wolf, I implore you: find a nicer hobby.

Posted by rquinlivan on 02/11/2013 at 2:20 PM

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