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08 May 2006

Favourite graffiti--what's yours? [More:]Apart from some of the interesting stencil and other art pieces, I get a kick out of crappy or unimaginative graffiti with responses that take the piss out of the original meaning. For instance:

On the side of a local Italian deli (Ugo & Joe's Lucky Meats, source of 'Lupo the Butcher'): "Meat stinks." "So do hippies."

In the women's washroom of a blues/biker bar in Edmonton: "My mom made me a lesbian." "If I bought her the wool, would she make me one, too?"

In a punk club, also in Edmonton: "I fucked your mother." "Go home, Dad. You're drunk."
posted by ooga_booga 08 May | 01:16
At my favorite dive bar back in FL, the women's bathroom stalls were made of crappy plywood that everyone wrote on. A few of my favorites from over the years:

"I fucked your boyfriend." Response: "Did he give you herpes, too?"

"[one of the college football players] fucked me in this stall" response: "He fucked the rest of us at UCF last weekend" (it was one of the few losses the team had that year)

posted by SassHat 08 May | 01:26
"OMG H4X", seen on the UW campus.
posted by cmonkey 08 May | 01:43
In Halifax (UK), there's this big old ginnel which appears to lead to an underground industrial cavern. I stumbled onto it by mistake. Every inch of the ginnel and the inside is covered by graffiti. It's a wonder to behold.
posted by seanyboy 08 May | 02:32
For years on the main drag into town here was a huge spray just saying

posted by rumple 08 May | 02:50
Self-portrait with grafitti.
posted by misteraitch 08 May | 03:58
In the large park next to the castle in Cardiff (UK) there's a large cedar tree by the path. On the lower trunk there's a gnarly hole, next to this hole, in white paint, is the legend..

posted by Arqa 08 May | 04:33
This one's good.
Here's a few from The Dark. [link] [link] [link]
Some from weakhand. [link] [link] [link] [complete set]
Some great pasteups by brasco... and also Office Supplies Incorporated. [link] [link]

Written stuff - a sign outside of a butcher's shop in England - "You've read the book, you've seen the movie, now EAT THE CAST! Rabbits-£1.30"

A newsagents sign "Father of 10 shot dead" ...someone had written "...mistaken for a rabbit."

"Mary Smith is built like Brigitte Bardot!!" The reply, "More like Brigitte the River Kwai"
posted by Zack_Replica 08 May | 04:56
The day I moved to NYC, I flew into JFK on a one-way ticket and took a cab to my new college dorm with nothing but a suitcase of belongings. I knew I was home when I got to my apartment on the 8th floor and someone had written "FUCK YOU SLUTS" on the door in black permanent market.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 08 May | 07:05
In downtown Rochester on the concrete wall of the Clinton Ave. exit of 490 used to be written "You Need Slack". It was my all-time favorite and was there so long undisturbed that it actually started to fade. Then someone defaced it by adding an "s" to the end. It was funnier in a way, but it just wasn't the same. Eventually it was cleaned off and not replaced.
posted by tommasz 08 May | 07:41
In college one of the stalls in the men's bathroom of a friend's dorm had writing in very small letters along the bottom of the stall door that said, "Beware of limbo dancers"

posted by BoringPostcards 08 May | 07:46
From Mai '68, France:

"Beneath the paving stones the beach." (Sand is used to seat French paving stones.)

"Beneath the beach, the paving stones."

As far as I'm concerned, Society of the Spectacle was just a poor re-writing of this phrase.
posted by omiewise 08 May | 08:14
In a mens room of a Popeye's on 14th Street, some enterprising soul wrote 'I suck cock. I love dick.' Beneath which some potty pundit scrawled 'Your mother must be so proud.'
posted by jonmc 08 May | 08:42
Here's more good May 1968 graffiti, Omiewise.

I originally wrote this graffiti story out for another blog, but it's still a good tale:

I have been mulling over a street meme that's been popping up around my city. It's a simple spray-painted phrase that says "Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin", black letters, about a foot high. I've seen four of them around town. It is so cryptic, and yet kind of catchy, that I realized it was echoing in my brain and I wanted to know what it meant. So I undertook a little web research.

As it turns out, it's a Biblical phrase. What it took to learn this was a good deal of time spent wading through some slightly creepy Evangelical and Zionist web sites. It comes from the story of Belshazzar, King of Babylon and son of Nebuchadnezzar. The story is found in the book of Daniel the prophet. Belshazzar was a corrupt, sleazy king who was involved in war for personal gain. In the story, he gives a banquet for a thousand people, merchants and concubines and other sleazy types, and during the banquet they drank wine from vessels that had been stolen by his father from the temple in Jerusalem, desecrating them. They also worshipped gold and other consumer goods. So during the feast, something creepy happens. A mysterious glowing hand appears in the air, and writes a message on the wall: Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. Belshazzar doesn't know what it means, so he calls prophets to interpret it, and only Daniel can. The meaning translates to something like 'counted, measured, weighed, and found wanting' -- meaning that Belshazar's leadership has been evaluated by God and doesn't measure up. Daniel tells B. that it means he's going to lose his kingdom, which he does, as enemy troops massing right outside that night burst in, take over, and divide the kingdom.

It's an interesting story. Aside from being the origin of the colloquialism about 'seeing the writing on the wall', it's interesting that it's popping up as modern graffiti. I guess there are a couple ways to take it: I mean, it could be the work of weird Christians. But I prefer to think it's anti-war, anti-Bush graffiti. A leader who worships material things (like gold and oil...), invites sleazy people to the banquet, is measured and found wanting, AND ignores the writing on the wall and so loses his kingdom...I can see some parallels there. Funny, though, that it takes so much research to figure out the code. Has anyone else seen this? How widespread is this 'meme'?
posted by Miko 08 May | 08:59
On the 401 somewhere close to Ajax: "science is a bitch." Too true my friend, too true.

In upstate NY between Oswego and Mexico: "Orwell: you were so right. 1984!"
posted by LunaticFringe 08 May | 10:09
Surrender Dorothy.
posted by danostuporstar 08 May | 10:22
posted by Hugh Janus 08 May | 10:32
A man stood outside the student store most days all winter holding a giant cardboard sign with information about circumcision. He was anti-circumcision. He was gone two days in a row in February and written in a little spiral on a sign attached to a tree near his spot was "Hello Mr. Circumcision Man."

On a trash can next to a bench on the quad is "This is Big." I imagine a student must have been talking to their friends, said out loud "This is big!" and thought it was so big they had to write it down.
posted by halonine 08 May | 10:46
Miko: That's pretty awesome. I knew about that particular Nebuawhatever story but forgot what the actual words were. The Bible contains some of the most WTF-ingest ever stories.
posted by TrishaLynn 08 May | 10:59
"Pez: The Revenge" Not sure what it meant.
posted by King of Prontopia 08 May | 12:36
The best I saw were in Bolivia.

"Gringos, eradicate your noses!"--a protest in response to US Gov't pressure on Bolivia to eradicate coca production

No soy media-naranja de nadie. Soy fruta entera en todas sus formas--feminist protest. Rough translation--"I'm nobody's better half. I am a complete person in every way." (the meaning translates, but the pun is lost.)

And in Northern Argentina, a group of Native Americans are gathered on a beach around three Spanish ships. They are all laughing hysterically. One of the them tells another, "Get this. He says his name is Columbus and that he's discovered us!"
posted by luneray 08 May | 12:44
I see a red door.
posted by heatherann 08 May | 12:53
The only contribution I can make here.
posted by danf 08 May | 16:58
There used to be a condom dispensing machine (long since gone) at a bar I spent waaaaay too much time at. At the top was a line drawing of a naked couple in bed (like, sheets up to their waists.) This wasn't graffiti, but came with the machine. The graffiti was word balloons added in; from the woman, "Fuck me! You beast!!", the man replies, "With my bare dick?! No way!".

Which is really kinda average. What made it for me was a message scribbled on the machine with an arrow pointing downb to the little square hole in the face of the machine where the condoms came out: "Insert baby for full refund."
posted by trondant 08 May | 22:25
Ha, Goober!

My favorite was on the side of a grocery store in Berkeley, on a really busy street. It was written in perfect cursive with lavender paint and took up the whole side of the building.

It said, "The problem is, people just hate me."
posted by mudpuppie 08 May | 22:38
Oh, then there's this.
posted by mudpuppie 08 May | 22:49
The Bible contains some of the most WTF-ingest ever stories.

Ain't that the truth? A few years ago I read "Don't Know Much About the Bible" and then made a project of reading the King James cover to cover. About halfway through the old Testament I found myself saying out loud: "This stuff is INSANE!" Rape, murder, pillage, whoring out your daughter/sister, sacrifice...I'm tellin' ya.
posted by Miko 09 May | 09:29
They're made of meat! || I just got home...