Billboard Liberation Front and Wachovia Bank

Discuss

151 Responses to “Billboard Liberation Front and Wachovia Bank”

  1. nprnncbl says:

    @Darren #67: “some drunk redneck painting a 1 in front of the 55 (or whatever) on a speed limit sign.”

    Dude, that is hilarious. But even funnier than a “1″
    is an “A”.

  2. Zombie says:

    Hmm, yes – vandalizing a billboard is really going to affect change. So many more people will go to bed now and not have to worry about making rent, feeding their kids, finding cheap medical care – all of our woes are solved!

    This isn’t civil disobedience, its cheap vandalism and it isn’t going to solve anything or help a single person. Why would anyone compare such a cowardly act with the civil disobedience performed by the likes of Rosa Parks and countless others?

    Here’s a kid who knows what change is:
    http://www.komonews.com/news/34127439.html

  3. mdh says:

    Darren, I have a hard time throwing a living breathing person in jail at taxpayers expense for expressing their opinion through billboard shenanigans, when the only thing damaged is the reputation of a cold, lifeless corporation that blocks my view.

    can you try to see my point?

  4. David Pescovitz says:

    @CPT. TIM @26, Intersection of Mission St. and Cesear Chavez, NE corner, San Francisco.

    And to others, just to be clear, the BLF (mostly former billboard makers themselves) take *great pains* to make sure the billboards are not permanently damaged at all. They’ve even been known to leave a nice gift for the workers sent out to remove the alterations.

  5. minTphresh says:

    bin godwin’s”s law!

  6. Secret_Life_of_Plants says:

    BLF talk, TODAY at 2:15, Berkeley Art Museum.

    Also, people wigging out about the horrible destruction of the billboards — really? This is where your concerns lie? With Clear Channel and Banks?

    Personally I have always WANTED to own a billboard in a city — how else can you make USD 250,000 in ad revenue a year basically doing nothing? I am sure that, raking in that kind of dough, I could afford to pay someone to remove the occasional brilliant Situationist intervention. Geez.

  7. KevinC says:

    My vote is ‘Good job.’ Political statements and defacing billboards…good stuff. All of you ‘destruction of property, evil, blah blah’ people- come on! No one was hurt and you’re protecting the company that hurls ads at use 24/7 via obnoxious, enormous signs. It just strikes me as a little silly.

    -KevinC

    ps. Pain is Gods way of Hurting You – anyone recognize this billboard slogan?

  8. nixiebunny says:

    Lovely satire. The “fail” is a bit small, but other than that, it works quite well.

    I’ve wanted to do this on occasion, but lack the ability to make large signs. We have many billboards in Tucson that could use this treatment, most notably the ones with God talking.

    For those of you who are worried about the poor poor billboard company having its property destroyed, please get ahold of Pranks (#11 in the Re:Search series) and read about the Lemon Grove incident. Those pranksters used water-soluble paint, but the city didn’t bother to try washing it off, instead spending thousands to sandblast the lemon.

  9. mrsomuch says:

    @72 lol! Bin Godwin’s”s ftw!

    And Darren, I think you’re still missing the point. This is about communication and representation and the unequal exchange that exists due to a monopoly held by faceless corporations. The BLF help to redress this balance by altering and appropriating the corporate message, thereby communicating an alternate view. One that is just as valid but under-represented.

    This appropriation is non invasive and temporary, it lasts only as long as the time between advertisements. It draws attention both to the original communication and the opposing one, leaving the observer in the position to make a judgment based on that interaction. It doesn’t target one group or exclude another, and in these ‘human’ terms causes no harm.

    Any resulting financial ramifications are part and parcel of large scale advertising. This ‘issue’ is separate to other arguments for or against graffiti/vandalism – that is a whole other debate. Billboard alteration/liberation is site specific and non transferable and should be judged as such, without semi neuorotic cries of ‘terrorism’ or ‘vandalism’. it’s way more complex than that.

  10. devophill says:

    Destroying other people’s private property is evil. Pretending it isn’t evil is itself evil.

    A is A?

  11. Secret_Life_of_Plants says:

    Oh no! I now see that they do not want questions about the Situationists. Well, good luck with that at the BAM. Wonder what BLF’s issue with the Situationists is? Maybe just with the S.I. as a group? Or theory and tactics?

  12. Phikus says:

    Wrybread: Nice! Although I would suggest a change of message. How about “Yakkity Yak, don’t smoke crack!” Then people would contagiously get the Benny Hill song stuck in their heads. ;D

  13. Darren Garrison says:

    #28 MDH:

    “Darren, I have a hard time throwing a living breathing person in jail at taxpayers expense for expressing their opinion through billboard shenanigans, when the only thing damaged is the reputation of a cold, lifeless corporation that blocks my view.”

    Okay, but who are you to decide who’s property should be respected and who’s it is okay to vandalize? What’s the cutoff point? How much money must an individual have before it is okay to destroy his property? How many employees must a company have before it is okay to destroy theirs? Is it okay to destroy someone’s property if they support the wrong politician? Follow the wrong religion? You are on a very, very slippery slope when you decide that there is a point at which is is perfectly fine to destroy the property of someone simply because you have a political, religious, or philosophical disagreement with them.

    Vandalism is not “art”. Vandalism is not “speech”. Vandalism is crime, and vandals should be prosecuted as criminals. If you don’t like the statement on a legally owned, legally displayed billboard, buy your own billboard and make your own statement about the first one. If you don’t like the location of the billboard, lobby your local government to remove it. But don’t do something petty, childish, and illegal.

    Ever heard the saying “your freedom to swing your fist ends where my face begins”? Well, your freedom to make statements ends where someone else’s property begins– at the VERY LEAST the vandals should be made to pay every penny of the damages they have caused– even if those damages are to an “evil” company that they don’t like (and therefore think it is okay to deface their property). Punks.

  14. rageagainsttherobots says:

    Pretty interesting times we live in. If this happened 20 years ago only the people in that town would know about it.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Darren, what is art has nothing to do with whether it is legal or not.

  16. Simon Cameron says:

    I’ve seen two attitudes for why this is acceptable:

    1) I don’t like billboards.
    Great. We live in a democracy, if the public will is on your side we have institutions which are designed to actualize it. Oakville banned billboards for just this reason. Taking the law into your own hand, then justifying it by saying “well, i’m right” is not an acceptable mode of behaviour.

    2) They’re a big corporation, they can afford it etc.

    The law should not treat large and small businesses differently. Should ClearChannel be able to hire people to vandalize the billboard’s of their smaller competitors?

  17. jdfreivald says:

    This thread strikes me as odd. Some people seem to be arguing that this vandalism is okay, but still ought to be illegal; others that breaking the law is acceptable as long as the targets are okay; others that private property is theft. Should I assume that those who argue in this way don’t want to have a rule of law? If not, by what rules should we organize society? And if we shouldn’t organize society by rules, then by what rule do we prevent Clear Channel from hiring snipers when the vandalism starts to eat into their profits?

    #59 Phikus

    I find this post most interesting because it attempts to codify the reasons that this particular form of vandalism is okay.

    1) It is in the public view with the intent to advertise, making itself ubiquitous and infringing on a person’s right to not be bombarded with advertising.

    Nowhere in the US Constitution is there a “right to not be bombarded with advertising”; however, if enough people determine that they want to avoid being bombarded with advertising, they can eliminate it through legislation. Inventing rights that don’t exist in order to justify criminal acts — when the “need” for those criminal acts could be eliminated through legal means — strikes me as disingenuous.

    2) It is owned by a corporation.

    Corporations are owned by people. There are people whose property (the corporation) you are damaging when you damage the corporation’s property. This is only okay if you think private property is not okay.

    3) The artists take pains to make sure it is easy to undue.

    It’s not hard to clean the egg off of my car windshield. Does that mean it’s okay to egg my car?

    It’s not hard to ignore billboard advertising, turn down the TV during commercials, and cover up advertisements in magazines. Are you okay with allowing advertising now?

    #75 wrybread

    I’m surprised noone has invoked the phrase “civil disobedience” yet.

    If people want to consider this civil disobedience, I don’t have much problem with that. Civil disobedience implies a willingness to be punished for the crime you commit. I think, though, that juries would have somewhat less sympathy for them than they did for the marchers in the ’60s, and based on what I’m hearing here I get the impression that people would be upset if the BLF would receive jail sentences or fines.

    #86 Antinous

    If people were permitted to make their own judgments about what was permissible and react accordingly all the time we would live in anarchy.

    You just gave the Nuremberg Defense.

    I don’t think so.

    It’s one thing to say “I committed atrocities because I was told to.” That’s a form of “might makes right” statement, in which the governing body determines what it’s right for people to do.

    We come full circle if we say “There should be no rule of law.” If people were permitted (i.e., without punishment) to do whatever they feel like, then that would also mean “might makes right”. If you can do X, there’s nothing to stop you.

    The rule of law, though, circumscribes kings and peasants alike. Might doesn’t make right, the law does. That was the reason for the Magna Carta and the US Constitution. For that matter, it was the reason for the Ten Commandments: a few “thou shalt nots” and suddenly there’s a balance between the individual’s ability to do what they want and the community’s stability.

    Place me firmly in the anti-BLF camp.

  18. AGF says:

    @85 Simon – now look up civil disobedience. No, you will not be excused from thinking.

  19. wrybread says:

    I’m surprised noone has invoked the phrase “civil disobedience” yet. As has been stated, these billboards are an affront. If I want to avoid advertisements, I can avoid television (I haven’t owned one in 15 years), I can listen to non commercial radio (amen), but I probably can’t avoid going outside.

    In theory I could buy my own billboard to counteract their messages, but in reality that’s not realistic. Ditto on passing any type of ordinance banning billboards – to say there would be some big money opposition would be an understatement.

    So really the only way to respond if you’re fed up with the situation is with some civil disobedience. From the wiki entry on civil disobedience:

    “Civil disobedience is the active refusal to obey certain laws, demands and commands of a government, or of an occupying power, without resorting to physical violence. It is one of the primary tactics of nonviolent resistance. In its most nonviolent form (known as ahimsa or satyagraha) it could be said that it is compassion in the form of respectful disagreement.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_disobedience

    And Darren, I respect your views on private property, but lets be honest, that level of respect for private property doesn’t exist anywhere, not even South Carolina. In reality use of land, especially use of land visible by other people, is regulated by the government and by extension by all of us. Ever hear of permits? I suspect you’re griding an axe about infringement of your own personal property, but grind it any way you want and this still isn’t comparable.

  20. Skullhunter says:

    @ #36:

    I’m going to guess that you couldn’t see the part in post #21 about the double-sided foam adhesive tape being used to achieve this billboard rewrite through the tears you’re weeping for the poor, persecuted Clear Channel corporation. And thank you for warning us of the slippery slope upon which we are now poised; today, tape on billboards, tomorrow, political/religiously-motivated mob violence and pogroms.

  21. Takuan says:

    Wachovia? ptui!

  22. Antinous says:

    Nowhere in the US Constitution is there a “right to not be bombarded with advertising”; however, if enough people determine that they want to avoid being bombarded with advertising, they can eliminate it through legislation. Inventing rights that don’t exist in order to justify criminal acts — when the “need” for those criminal acts could be eliminated through legal means — strikes me as disingenuous.

    Codswallop. Real estate law, whose basic precepts precede Constitutional law by some centuries, gives the holder of a freehold estate (and, generally speaking, less-than-freehold estates) the right to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of that estate. So there is, in fact, a right not to be bombarded with advertising. That which destroys the quiet enjoyment violates the most basic of property rights. Billboards fall squarely into that category.

  23. minTphresh says:

    darren garrison, kindly remove your head from your glutious and take a breath. there is a drrerence between ‘private property” and billboards. yes, billboards are sitting on what could legally be described as private property, but the billboards themselves are advertisements. there is no physical harm being done to these advertisements. they are being altered to make the artist’s statement. the alterations they make are easily removed without much effort. i’m guessing you either work for clear channel or some other advertising firm, or are a home/business owner who has had trouble with gang tags or graffiti writers. i can relate to that, but these are not the same thing! whether or not u agree, billboards are an affront. they are a cancer on our everyday lives. i for one, dont feel the ad companies have the right to pollute our view just because some lanowner wants to make a few bucks at our visual expense. now you in your republican-like reasoning would say that i should drive down another street or interstate if i don’t like them, but there is no where on this continent where u can drive for 5 miles and not see a dozen of the hideous things. maybe the ice roads in alaska. but even the s.w. desert has become just one eye-sore after another. it is not vandalism. it is a service to thinking people everywhere. LONG LIVE THE BLF!

  24. mrsomuch says:

    at 36,

    I think you’re missing a very important distinction – that between vandalism and graffiti.

    In this work nothing has been damaged, it has merely been altered in a non permanent way.

    Massive advertising companies and their clients have a monopoly on our visual horizon, we are saturated with their messages regardless of whether we believe in the product or their position or not. The difference is they have the finances to perpetually foist these things on us, whereas those of us who disagree lack a similar ‘voice’. To appropriate their unwanted images and modes of communication is our right as free thinking human beings – maybe not under law, but certainly morally.

    To do so creatively, non invasively and with a smidgin of humour is a balm for our media-bombarded selves. it’s a public service!

    If you don’t like it, fair enough. Are you so vehement regarding advertising that annoys you?

    I reckon not…

  25. Phikus says:

    Jdfrievald: Just because you disagree does not mean that my arguments are “worthless in furthering the discussion.” I was summarizing many valid points made in this thread by myself and others. The actions of a corporation are indeed relevant in assessing their behavior, thus the level of hypocrisy of their advertising, and therefore their worthiness to be pranked. What you don’t seem to get is that those who feel as I do agree unanimously without discussion about the evils of the Enrons and Walmarts of the world, because we have seen how time and time again they have abused the public trust for their own selfish ends, often at devastating detriment to the rest of the world.

    These behemoths are so entrenched in at least the current administration that saying they have owned the government is not much of an exaggeration. They wield enough influence to have virtually insulated themselves against repercussions from the law, and they have a stack of lawyers to make it work on their behalf. What other tools does the common person have? Should we all lie down and accept our corporate masters without dissent? If you agree we can dissent (and again, I am only advocating in a non-violent, conscientious way) then who are you to decide what form it can take? Temporarily vandalizing a bit of property in a way that does not have any real detrimental financial effect seems pretty mild to me. What an odd place to pick a battle you have chosen.

    You admit that “unjust laws should be fought, and, if they are unjust enough, they should be broken through civil disobedience.” and yet say you disagree that “any law you think is unjust can — even should! — be ignored.” Well, excuse us for not waiting around for someone like you to tell us what laws we can and cannot break in acts of civil disobedience. No one in this thread has said the law should be ignored when inconvenient so flog that straw man elsewhere if you please. It comes down to the conscience of the individual and whether you believe you can shoulder the burden of the consequences of breaking a given law to make a statement about it being unjust, doesn’t it?

    And before you start equating someone breaking a law as an act of civil disobedience with corporations breaking the law in the myriad ways they do, let me remind you that NO ONE is being harmed by these pranks, while BILLIONS of us are affected daily by the decisions of corporatism, very often to the point of threatening our existance. Your arguments in defense of the poor corporations simply do not hold much water in this light.

    But again, I am not saying that all corporations are like this. I am just saying that the ones committing the most egregious of crimes against humanity, who are plundering the planet recklessly and irresponsibly to feed their bottomless greed, should be asked to answer for it on every front where traction might be gained. They spend billions each year using advertising to whitewash their crimes, so subverting this medium in a small way to try to shine a light on their actions, at the risk of one’s safety and freedom, seems like a worthy cause to me.

    Zombie: How can you say it is not affecting change? It had enough of an effect that you had to post on it. There are many many varieties of civil disobedience. Who are you to judge what form should be used, or what can be measured about it’s efficacy on society? If there had been enough of an outcry, maybe it might not have been simply Wall St. that had been bailed out. It might (and should) have been every household in the country, as many people at the time espoused. That kind of bailout would have fed and clothed and forestalled the foreclosure of mortgages of a lot of people. Just because it does not fit into your narrow preconceptions does not make it invalid, and just because they are throwing pebbles at Goliaths does not make their cause unworthy or entirely ineffective.

    It also seems a hell of a lot braver to take the risks they do than sitting comfortably at your computer taking pot-shots at them.

  26. mrsomuch says:

    dammit! beaten to it by mintphresh!

    Touche sir!

  27. asuffield says:

    Vandalism is crime, and vandals should be prosecuted as criminals.

    And billboards located in places where I cannot avoid seeing them are vandalism.

  28. mdh says:

    Darren – Well, your freedom to make statements ends where someone else’s property begins-

    I am someONE.

    Wachovia and Clear Channel are pieces of paper. Thousands and thousands of pieces of paper.

    If you want to punch a corporation in the face, as the BLF does, then you have to ‘take a swing’ at their public face.

    BLF is good at landing them, is that what has you so worked up to use assault invective in a conversation about pieces of paper taped over other pieces of paper in the name of yet other pieces of paper?

    Have some soul man.

  29. MossWatson says:

    Darren,
    You take no issue with the fact that those with money are allowed to deface the public landscape with ads, yet when the ads themselves are defaced, you are angered?

    where do your loyalties lie?

  30. AGF says:

    ok. it is actually of fundamental importance that you only follow good, just laws. Really. You must be willing to break the law when it’s wrong – or we won’t be heading for anarchy – but rather fascism.

  31. Pipenta says:

    I don’t think this counts as vandalism. And I think the folks who are working themselves into a froth about it are ridiculous.

    You drive along and there’s this stupid boring billboard, like this Wachovia job. And you kind glance at it and read it, but you kind of ignore it. If you read it you go, “Yeah, right, sure” and roll your eyes because it is a corporate ad, and likely a lie and invariably annoying. And you ignore it because it is just one of many bits of corporate advertising cluttering the landscape and they are annoying but even more so, they are BORING.

    And what the folks back at the advertising agency are rupturing themselves to do is to come up with something, some slogan, some image, some meme, that will make you and everybody else pay attention to the stupid ugly billboard.

    And what have we here? An improved billboard that everyone is paying attention to and discussing. People are paying attention to that billboard, people who have never noticed it before. The guys back at the ad agency are wetting their pants in glee. The people at the band might be a bit bent out of shape at first, but then they’ll realize that damn few people pay attention to the intent (of either the advertisers or the hackers) but damn, everyone is talking about the Wachovia billboard. Yep, it’s a nice boost for name recognition.

    And for every person who now looks at the bank askance, we’ve got one of these uptight chuckleheads who are offended on behalf of their corporate overlords. Thoughtful people think. Reactionary people, um, react, have kneejerk reactions. It’s pavlovian. They just can’t help themselves.

    What the BLF does mostly, as far as I can see, is get the discussion going. And as far as an advertiser is concerned, that is not such a bad thing.

  32. Cpt. Tim says:

    @#29 thanks!

  33. AGF says:

    Oh! btw – is anyone going to try 57?

  34. Darren Garrison says:

    #39

    “I’m going to guess that you couldn’t see the part in post #21 about the double-sided foam adhesive tape being used to achieve this billboard rewrite through the tears you’re weeping for the poor, persecuted Clear Channel corporation.”

    No, I will admit this– I did NOT read that it was stuck there with double-sided tape, and thus removable. I was assuming that the billboard advertising was destroyed and would need to be removed and replaced.

    But I’ll have to (though I know I’m preaching to deaf ears) have to address the second part of the quote: I DON’T CARE WHO IS BEING VANDALIZED. That it belongs to Clear Channel is an irrelevant red herring.

    Let’s head back to last week– if you had a Obama yard sign, and someone walked into your yard, crossed out “Obama” and wrote “Terrorist Ni**er”, would you be pissed? How many people on Boingboing would defend that person’s actions as “art”, or “free speech”? Well, guess what? Just because someone or some company has lots more money than you doesn’t suddenly make it okay for someone who disagrees with them to vandalize their property. It is a difference in degree, not a difference in type. If it is not okay to intentionally damage the property of an individual because you do not like them or their politics or their religion, then it is not okay to intentionally damage the property of a giant megacompany because you do not like them or their politics or their religion.

    If there is some line of wealth or influence where it suddenly becomes okay to vandalize their property, and some monetary value of property, please tell me where it is. For instance, I assume I can’t throw paint on the door of my $15,000 a year neighbor because he has a McCain sign. But is it okay to slash the tires on Hank Williams Jr’s tour bus because he campaigned for McCain? Or does he still not have enough money? Would it be better for me to drive down to Fox headquarters and throw a rock through their window? Please tell me the line at which damaging the property of someone with different views from yours suddenly flips from being a thug to being an “artist”.

  35. Simon Cameron says:

    Get involved in local politics.
    Collect petitions for a local referendum.

    The important point is that before a decision is made, you make sure that you are reflecting the aggregate will of the populace.

    • Antinous says:

      Collect petitions for a local referendum.

      Not every area has referenda.

      make sure that you are reflecting the aggregate will of the populace.

      Don’t make me break Godwin’s Law.

  36. Darren Garrison says:

    #40

    “now you in your republican-like reasoning would say that i should drive down another street or interstate if i don’t like them”

    No, in my civil libertarian like reasoning (not that I am one) I would say I would leave other’s property alone to do with as they please, just as I would have them leave mine alone to do with as I please”. You know, like that famous dead (but maybe fictional) guy said?

  37. Darren Garrison says:

    “This is about communication and representation and the unequal exchange that exists due to a monopoly held by faceless corporations. The BLF help to redress this balance by altering and appropriating the corporate message, thereby communicating an alternate view. One that is just as valid but under-represented.”

    Yh, yh, yh. Tht’s th sm knd f snn, prtnts mmb-jmb slly xpct t hr frm ppl wh prdc crp r crm nd thnk thmslvs “rtsts”.

  38. AGF says:

    because proper tea is theft.

  39. Takuan says:

    Noted. You are now doomed.

  40. Phikus says:

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s the same kind of asinine, obsequious mumbo-jumbo I usually expect to hear from people who produce text in a comment and think themselves “irrefutable”.

  41. MossWatson says:

    Darren,
    Defacing an Obama sign would be just as illegal as defacing a billboard. Those in power decide what is “legal”, we are discussing what is “right”. I would not defend someone defacing an obama yard sign with a racial slur. If the sign was twenty feet tall and unavoidable, and someone modified it without being racist it would be a different story.
    It’s the sort of thing that should be expected when attempting to cram your message down people’s throats. it’s just a shame that so many people have taken for granted that anyone with enough money has the right to violate their space like this.

  42. Simon Cameron says:

    ” ok. it is actually of fundamental importance that you only follow good, just laws. Really. You must be willing to break the law when it’s wrong – or we won’t be heading for anarchy – but rather fascism.”

    While I hate to namedrop, I think Plato would disagree with you:

    “If I accept citizenship, I agree to know and understand the laws. If I find an unjust law, through logical reasoning, and break that law, it is my honorable duty accept the consequences of my actions.”

    His point is that being part of a functioning society, even if everyone is not always in accordance about what is right, is a giant benefit to everyone involved. Its not just fascism that demands that you follow the law, even if you disagree with it. It is a fundamental tenet of every stable democracy.

  43. Darren Garrison says:

    I, too, am discussing what is “right”. And it is “right” for private property owners to be able to use their private property as they please. A few years back, a neighbor of mine (lived a thousand or so feet away, I’m out in the country) sold some land bordering my house on the back, where they proceeded to bulldoze trees and build a couple of houses only a few hundred feet away (close, from my point of view). I didn’t like it. I like trees more than I like houses, and neighbors. But you know what? I had no RIGHT to stop him from doing with his property what he wanted. I’m not required to LIKE what people do with their private property. If someone tried to restrict me from doing what I wanted to do on my private property, I’d do everything necessary to defend my property (yes, everything). That would be my RIGHT. So, “right” is NOT vandalizing the property of someone else.

    • Antinous says:

      I had no RIGHT to stop him from doing with his property what he wanted.

      If you had a view corridor ordinance, you would have the right to stop him. If you lived in Thailand, you wouldn’t have a right to criticize the King. You’re conflating laws with rights, and both with non-negotiables such as mathematics. Rights are whatever you make them to be. Laws are imposed, possibly by the few, possibly by the many. In either case, they’re subjective, changeable and negotiable. Speaking of property rights as if they were the laws of thermodynamics doesn’t help.

  44. AGF says:

    No. It is fundamental that we fight, disobey and change unjust laws. Democracy – for the people, by the people. If You personally don’t think and fight – how are you participating?
    And Plato didn’t like theatre. He can bite me!

  45. Takuan says:

    bullshit. A fundamental tenet of democracy is that you disobey bad laws even if it means consequences.

  46. minTphresh says:

    agf, what are the properties of proper teas?

  47. AGF says:

    made with loose leaves instead of tea bags ;)

  48. AGF says:

    oh! LOL. sigh.

  49. minTphresh says:

    oral sex was once illegal in fl, and alabama, as well as many other states. in some states anal sex is still against the law. i wonder how much regard for the letter of the law most of you “you gotta follow the letter of the law” whiners have for those particular pieces of legislation

  50. minTphresh says:

    well agf, since you know the properties of proper teas, tell me, do you prop or tease?

  51. Anonymous says:

    Quiet enjoyment of private property means my neighbor cannot blast 120dB at me from his property line, at least not around the clock.

    The question is: can he broadcast 100 feet of x within the same constraints?

  52. Simon Cameron says:

    “No. It is fundamental that we fight, disobey and change unjust laws. Democracy – for the people, by the people. If You personally don’t think and fight – how are you participating?”

    Democracy is more then the idea that people should make laws, it is also a process. It is inevitable that people will disagree. Who then is right? What if I love that billboard?

    You say “For the people-by the people”, but there is a danger in assuming you are acting for society as a whole. That is why we have a process that does not allow you to make decisions for the collective without their involvement. The system we have aggregates the collective will, yours respects only your own.

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t be opposed to this billboard. I’m merely pointing out that there are appropriate channels in which to do so, and the value in respecting them.

  53. Takuan says:

    I suppose she’s earned an Owist Name. Screwfly? The honours?

  54. minTphresh says:

    ooooh, im gettin chills! lemme think…

  55. Phikus says:

    Jdfrievald: You speak in absolutes which have little practical application in the real world in your narrow approach to deem my arguments “worthless”. This could also be labeled “invective” but to do so would not serve to further this discussion.

    “They are worthless in furthering the discussion because you are arguing for adherence to the law on the one hand and ignoring the law on the other”

    The law is not absolute, it is in constant evolution. The spirit of justice is greater than the letter of the law. The only way we can change some unjust laws is to break them, when they serve the interest of crushing the peaceful dissent of the people vs oppressors, for instance. When people feel like their voice in the mass media is muted, they will find other means of expression, even if laws serving those in control of the system forbid it. This is as old as ancient Rome. Look at it in this simplistic example: Bathrooms where a whiteboard is provided incur little to no graffiti.

    “They are worthless because they say things that are patently untrue (corporations respect no laws, proved false by the fact that many here fear deregulation; they have bought and sold free speech, proved false by your ability to say whatever you like here at BoingBoing).”

    You are building straw men here to fit your frame of worthlessness. I never said corporations respect no laws. I said many of them; those that are worthy of pranking based on their past and present actions, are precisely those that ignore the law when it is convenient for them to do so, when they feel that can get away with it. Thus, pranking serves as another check on any greedy corporation going too far, since we have so few checks in the mainstream media these days on corporate excesses, and we are now; all of us, having to pay the cost. If you would like examples, I would be happy to provide them, but I think you are not as ignorant of this as you would pretend.

    If you are trying to equate my posting on a blog with disseminating something through the mass media, again you are sorely mistaken. I never said I do not have any free speech at all, but I did argue in this context that a person’s ability to get ideas out into the mainstream media to affect change is not in any way comparable to the power that major corporations have. Again, where’s the harm that you seem to be arguing so vehemently against? This has negligible financial impact on the target, but it lets them know that not everyone is swallowing their b.s., perchance to help nudge them in the direction of being more conscientious about their impact on the world that supports them, a fact that seems to have been taken for granted in these cases.

    “There are thousands of lawful ways to protest. You make it sound like this is the only way.”

    Nope. Are you even bothering to read the comments you have deemed worthless? Again and again I have said that there are many different ways to protest, to be civilly disobedient; many tactics that can be taken to affect change peacefully. Your big straw billboard is collapsing for a lack of a fit in the space you have chosen to defile with it.

    “And despite the fact that they have to climb at night, this way isn’t even particularly brave. “

    Have you tried it? You are altogether too quick to be dismissive and yet have no personal experience to back up such a claim, it would seem. This too might fit your definition of “worthless to the discussion at hand” but I’m sure that will not stop you. I doubt very much your sincerity when you say you are ready to “learn a lot from hashing out our differences” because while I have been offering up my opinions, couched in language that indicates them as such, (like the frequent use of the words “seem(s)” and “might” you have been making absolute judgment calls like “your arguments are worthless” while missing my points entirely. You would probably do better in this respect, or at least seem to do better, if you spend as much time listening to others as you do denouncing their ideas as entirely worthless.

    Oh, and one more thing. If you don’t think that billboards have anything to do with civil disobedience, I suggest you google the ad campaigns that John Lennon and Yoko Ono did in 1969-70 advertising “WAR IS OVER if you want it”. I do not accept your limited interpretation when the point is to “think outside of the box” in finding creative, peaceful, conscientious and clever ways to protest and change the status quo where injustice has become intolerable. Don’t preach to me about the contributions of MLK and Gandhi while you are behaving like a short-sighted corporatist apologist.

  56. minTphresh says:

    sorry, i was excited! two-STRIPED telamonia

  57. Takuan says:

    BlushSpider?

  58. minTphresh says:

    u prefer brown recluse?

  59. minTphresh says:

    i just thought the background story funny. we get black widows, brown recluses, and brown widows down here. all of ‘em hiding under my toilet seat. i really should clean that thing. but yeah, “Blush Spider”: has a nice ring to it.

  60. Takuan says:

    mayhap a word of explanation Ami-san; Owism is an ancient discipline dating back to May.

    #251 posted by Takuan , May 26, 2008 12:10 PM

    “Owism”: Owism is that spiritual practice wherein unwieldy puns are dropped on the foot of the disciple. As they hop and curse they inadvertently bounce their way to Satori and and thus achieve Nirvana. I have the distinction of being the first self-declared Owist. Our mantra; OW! OW! OW! (and on special occasions: OW Shit!”

    Chelas are customarily named after some damned insect. Our tenets are simple and traditions unshakable – subject only to change at the whim of any member.

  61. minTphresh says:

    ami, any thoughts?

  62. Phikus says:

    Simon: Been there. Been doin’ that. What else you got? Unfortunately the advertising lobbies are too well funded for most grass roots campaigns to succeed against them in most metropolitan areas.

    My hometown of Austin, Texas is lucky to have one of the main N-S arterials (called Mopac because it follows the route of the Missouri-Pacific railroad lines) completely billboard free. It’s all just greenspace. (It has always been this way, having been built in the 70′s.)

    I avoid the other N-S arterial, the billboard cluttered IH35 like the plague, even when it would be quicker and I’m late for work, because of the peace of mind, even stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, of not being advertised to every step of the way. It really reduces the amount of stress caused by being in traffic to drive a route that is billboard free.

  63. minTphresh says:

    spoken by the High Costello hisownself! OW!OW!OW!

  64. Phikus says:

    Jdfreivald@87: Antinous addressed point 1 very well, so I am moving on to points 2 and 3:

    In defending the corporation vs the individual you are conflating individual rights, like that of having or protecting private property, with corporate rights.

    To summarize much of what has been said above that you seem to have missed, corporations were chartered originally to meet the public trust. Today’s corporations by and large (at least the ones being targeted with pranks I have seen so far) know no bounds of country, (at the very least by tax sheltering accounts.) They respect no environmental laws or other laws, (especially in the realm of anti-trust) unless they can use them to their advantage, and have bought and sold control over free speech, if not directly in controlling media outlets, certainly with lobbies and campaign contributions that reach government officials in ways the people cannot (exempting the newly elected administration for now.) Their very charters now mandate that the bottom line is the most important and all other considerations of propriety or decency are ignored to that end, if they feel they can get away with it.

    Any clever, non-violent, conscientious means of injecting a little truthful protest into the steady stream of shit being pumped through the mediasphere cannot be a bad thing, especially when compared to the high crimes the corporatists continue to get away with, on a much much larger scale. It is their conduct and insidious tactics that demand guerrilla attacks in response against them. In the info wars, we are being steadily bombarded these days. It’s about time someone lobbed something back.

    To further your analogy: if you drive as recklessly and irresponsibly as the targeted corporations act, then the least you deserve is a little egg on your hood.

  65. mrsomuch says:

    @76

    For your own dignity, Please keep your toys inside the pram at all times.

    Thank you very much.

  66. AGF says:

    oh boy! should i be scared or excited?

  67. Takuan says:

    only when you find me on your doorstep with corsage and tickets to the prom.

  68. minTphresh says:

    AGF …YES!

  69. Anonymous says:

    I’ve always wondered about the danger to public safety posed by sexy billboards. Being a testosterone fulled man, I am always distracted by billboards showing hot, close-to-naked chicks. Anyone have a guess at how many accidents/fatalities are caused by billboards each year?

  70. minTphresh says:

    tak, there’s a prom?

  71. Takuan says:

    gnnn, the musk oxen are out of the paddock again, g’nite.

  72. Trooper says:

    Amen Darren Garrison! I couldn’t agree with you more! Glad to see someone talking with some reason… vandalism is vandalism. There is no ‘right’ just because they are some large corportation or how much money they make.

  73. minTphresh says:

    if there is no objection then, BLUSHSPIDER it is! OW!OW!OW!SHIT! g’nite tak-san. regenerate well. wear it well young ami! for you are so ordained. anyone who can make the High Costello blanch is truly formidable. welkomen!

  74. minTphresh says:

    darren, now yer just bein a dick. if that is the best you can do, then don’t. u r doing it rong.

  75. MossWatson says:

    Simon,

    again, no one is saying that these billboard alterations should be legal…they’re simply saying that they are not necessarily ‘wrong’ (again, illegal doesn’t equal wrong, legal doesn’t equal right) and that they are effective. Clear Channel could and would send people out to vandalize smaller competitors if they felt it would be effective.

  76. Phikus says:

    musk oven? *looks around* Did I wander into the wrong thread? *checks shoes* Will I encounter the OW of poo?

  77. jdfreivald says:

    Just because you disagree does not mean that my arguments are “worthless in furthering the discussion.” I was summarizing many valid points made in this thread by myself and others.

    I don’t find them worthless because I disagree with them. I disagree with a lot of people, and learn a lot from hashing out our differences.

    They are worthless in furthering the discussion because you are arguing for adherence to the law on the one hand and ignoring the law on the other, with no reason that I can see for when you do one rather than the other except that you like “pranking”.

    They are worthless because they say things that are patently untrue (corporations respect no laws, proved false by the fact that many here fear deregulation; they have bought and sold free speech, proved false by your ability to say whatever you like here at BoingBoing).

    They are worthless because they are invective rather than argument. Whether you have similar-minded people on your side is irrelevant.

    If you agree we can dissent (and again, I am only advocating in a non-violent, conscientious way) then who are you to decide what form it can take? Temporarily vandalizing a bit of property in a way that does not have any real detrimental financial effect seems pretty mild to me. What an odd place to pick a battle you have chosen.

    There are thousands of lawful ways to protest. You make it sound like this is the only way. And despite the fact that they have to climb at night, this way isn’t even particularly brave.

    Ghandi and MLK fought against worse problems and with fewer mechanisms for recourse than the BLF has. They faced real violence, in the light of day, knowing that they would be arrested. The BLF vandalizes signs in the dark. See the difference? When you claim the civil disobedience mantle for these petty acts I think you belittle the real civil disobedience Ghandi and MLK practiced.

    Call it “civil disobedience” if you like, but the two are not equivalent, neither in purpose nor in method nor in the bravery needed to execute them.

  78. Trooper says:

    Ww… nc bngbng ws fn bt nw t sms t b sm pdm fr pltcl prpgnd. fr n dn’t thnk bm wll sv th wrld, dn’t thnk vry wht n blck crm s sgn f rmpnt rcsm, nd dn’t thnk vndlsm qls rtstc xprssn. Myb gt lst smwhr lng th wy…

  79. Phikus says:

    High Costello? Did I miss an Elvis sighting?

  80. Phikus says:

    That should have read: “Musk Oxen.” Bad fingers!

  81. minTphresh says:

    thank cue, thank cue very much.

  82. AGF says:

    Hahahaha! Owooowo! I had run off for dinner! Well I like blushspider very much! So I win! I can has name Yeah!!!!!! And Tak! I would be all together too exicted to find you on my doorstep with corsage and tickets to the prom! You’ll just have to make it up to canadaland. (bring a coat!) w00t!

  83. anthony says:

    Trooper,

    After I’m dead you can give my bones to the major corporations. Until then, this is fun.

  84. JMac001 says:

    While having no love or sympathy for Wachovia or Clear Channel, I always shudder just a little when I see any kind of property or personal destruction done for a “cause”.

    I am not generally one who proclaims warnings about “slippery slopes”, but I guess I have seen too many actions for “a good cause”, etc., turn into violence. Either accidental or intentional.

    Jim

  85. AGF says:

    Why do communists use only teabags?

  86. AGF says:

    And ‘POPaganda: the Art and Crimes of Ron English’ is a super cool film. Very inspiring!

  87. Phikus says:

    Darren@36: “Okay, but who are you to decide who’s property should be respected and who’s it is okay to vandalize? What’s the cutoff point?”

    It has nothing to do with how much money you make. The cutoff point is where three criteria are met, it would seem to me:

    1) It is in the public view with the intent to advertise, making itself ubiquitous and infringing on a person’s right to not be bombarded with advertising. You know they’d tattoo our eyelids if they could, and are already trying to develop technologies of targeting advertising by RFID chips, as depicted in the movie Minority Report. In Warren Ellis’ comic Transmetropolitan, corporations try to project ads into your dreams and we don’t seem far from that future. Let’s draw that line before we go defending their “rights.”

    2) It is owned by a corporation. We’ve got to stop equating the rights of corporations as equal with human rights. Once the U.S. supreme court started interpreting part of the 14th amendment, designed to free the slaves, as the ability for corporations to assume rights equal with persons, we opened the can of worms to the kind of unaccountability shown by modern corporations as they roll over human rights and local laws; anything that stands in the way of feeding their greedy coffers, forgetting they originally owe their existence to the government that chartered them, and therefore the people.

    3) The artists take pains to make sure it is easy to undue. Yeah, you got pranked, but then people talked about your billboard more or recognized it more for being a situationist art piece and therefore it is doing what was intended originally, albeit in not necessarily the intended way. No press is bad press in the world we live in, so companies who get pranked like this should suck it up as operating expenses associated with advertising and move on. To be fair, most of them do.

    AGF: I worked on a project with Ron English when he lived in Austin. His stuff is pure awesomesauce!

  88. AGF says:

    Phikus – Sweet!!!!!! I’m jealous!

  89. wrybread says:

    Simon Cameron/#140:

    You say there are appropriate channels to protest that billboard and/or billboards in general… Can you name some?

  90. Phikus says:

    You Superman folks don’t ever seem to get Batman.

  91. metaphorical_cowboy says:

    Maybe I’m too old fashioned, but I’m not sure vandalism helps. Besides, the dollars’s fall has been coming for a long time.

  92. mdh says:

    Vandalism is wanton destruction. This is not.

  93. wrybread says:

    I’m guessing I’m posting this a bit too late, but I’m curious what people here would say about my little project. I’ve been projecting images onto the building next door to me. Nothing harmed, just light shining on some shingles. Mostly drive-in style movies, but a few stills, such as this painting by Banksy:

    http://rproductions.org/projections/crack.jpg

    It should probably be noted that I live in the hood.

    More shinanigans here:

    http://rproductions.org/projections

  94. mistervega says:

    It’s ashame the flames aren’t too readable. I wasn’t sure what they were until I read more about it on their site. I am a fan of what they did with that AT&T/NSA billboard a while ago though.

  95. mistervega says:

    *correction – I didn’t even read the copy. However, visually those flames aren’t too readable.

  96. jetfx says:

    @Phikus

    Since when was it a right not to be bombarded by advertising? As far as I was aware, advertising is a right, and I don’t just mean the advertising of products. At best, an individual or organization is free to respond to advertising.

    Secondly, corporations aren’t persons under the law, they are a corporation under the law. Corporations can’t vote or hold office for example, which are rights accorded to persons.

    • Antinous says:

      advertising is a right

      Oy, with the rights again. No. It is not a right. Sometimes advertising is permissible. Sometimes it isn’t. You can’t put up the golden arches on Martha’s Vineyard. You can’t advertise cigarettes on television. It is a negotiated agreement subject to modification at any time.

  97. Zombie says:

    MDH, that depends on your view. I’m sure the owner of the billboard, who now has to apologize to the customer and pay to have it fixed and has thus LOST money on his business feels very different.

  98. shmee says:

    You know I could careless whether such an act is silly or not but I think it’s counter productive. I look at things like that and simply role my eyes. It has neither made me want to bank with Wachovia or not bank with them. My mind then wonders to other groups like PETA who like to the extreme route and by this time I am linking these people with 4chan and extremists. Which puts a bad taste in my mouth because I find such people annoying. Whether or not this particular group is annoy they remind me of people who I find annoying.

    Besides I’ve always found defacing property is a bit cowardice. If caught you get a slap on the hand but usually people don’t have fingers to point fingers at and your average person isn’t going to feel either way about the message conveyed. The people who get to me are the people who go out there and really make some noise for their cause. But things like this? I just find them silly and soon to be forgotten. They do not make much change in the world. If anything it will make people remember Wachovia and not the message they are conveying.

    Also this isn’t art. I’ve seen graffiti that was both a political statement and beautiful. It was something to be remembered and admired. This looks boring and ugly.

  99. wrybread says:

    Simon:

    “Get involved in local politics.
    Collect petitions for a local referendum”

    No offence, but what are you, 22? That strikes me as a pretty idealistic view on effecting change. There’s big big big money involved in these billboards, they’re not going to care about any petition and about people “getting involved in politics”.

    In Oakland there’s now an illuminated billboard that was so bright when it was first installed that it was literally blinding at night. It practically took an act of god to get them to dim the damn thing, even though it was very obviously not only annoying but downright hazardous.

    Like it or not, BLF type action strikes me as our only form of redress on these damn things.

  100. asuffield says:

    I’m sure the owner of the billboard

    I have a profound lack of concern for the fate of billboard operators. They’ve been vandalising the things we look at for years with their horrible billboards. It’s about time they got it from the other end.

    Billboards are tasteless graffiti, nothing more. I wish more cities banned them.

  101. EH says:

    You’re assuming that purpose of the modification was to communicate something to the company or the billboard owner.

    I like the little details, like “way2fail” and “A Division of The U.S. Treasury.”

  102. mdh says:

    that depends on your view

    But Zombie, my view is obstructed by an illuminated billboard.

  103. jetfx says:

    Antoninus, I was using the terminology that Phikus had used about the right “not to be bombarded by advertising”. Advertising is protected under the right of free speech. However, rights are merely laws dressed up in pretty rhetoric. They don’t exist anymore than we wish them to, but a law still exists and is enforced that permits people to advertise their views (not just products) within limits.

    A McDonald’s bill board advertising Big Macs is no different than what the prank the BLF pulls on it. We are all selling something.

  104. Simon Cameron says:

    I recognize that these measures would be difficult to pass. IN DEMOCRACY YOU OFTEN LOOSE. I don’t think that makes the procedure any less valuable. It has been said that democracy is the worst system of government, except for all the others that have been tried from time to time. I think living in a city with billboards is an acceptable price to pay.

    As for the Goodwin’s law comment. By your logic, we should never hold elections at all.

  105. Simon Cameron says:

    “No offence, but what are you, 22? That strikes me as a pretty idealistic view on effecting change. There’s big big big money involved in these billboards, they’re not going to care about any petition and about people “getting involved in politics”.”

    It doesn’t matter if they care, if you change the law. Oaakville, Canada did it.

  106. jdfreivald says:

    #90 Antinous

    Real estate law, whose basic precepts precede Constitutional law by some centuries, gives the holder of a freehold estate (and, generally speaking, less-than-freehold estates) the right to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of that estate. So there is, in fact, a right not to be bombarded with advertising. That which destroys the quiet enjoyment violates the most basic of property rights. Billboards fall squarely into that category.

    You don’t own the freeway over which the advertising is placed, and therefore have no right to “quiet enjoyment” of that “estate”.

    Perhaps you’ll argue that it’s a public freeway, which means that we all own it and everyone should get quiet enjoyment of it. Doesn’t that mean that we should be voting on whether or not advertising should be allowed on it, rather than let a few Armies of One decide on its use by force?

    This facile appeal to law — a law that doesn’t apply — makes it look like you value the law; however, it certainly doesn’t provide sufficient reason to violate other laws by vandalizing private property, and by using it to defend breaking the law you’ve shown yourself to value the law very little.

    #118 @Phikus

    In defending the corporation vs the individual you are conflating individual rights, like that of having or protecting private property, with corporate rights…. Today’s corporations by and large…respect no environmental laws or other laws, (especially in the realm of anti-trust) unless they can use them to their advantage,…

    This is so full of silly invective as to be worthless in furthering the discussion. If corporations respect no laws, why do we even bother talking about the perils of deregulation? They won’t follow them anyway.

    If it’s so important to follow the law, why do you so easily justify breaking it?

    This thread is filled with posts that conflate two radically different ideas. The first and correct one is that unjust laws should be fought, and, if they are unjust enough, they should be broken through civil disobedience. The second and false one is that any law you think is unjust can — even should! — be ignored. There is plenty of historical and philosophical basis for the former, and none for the latter.

  107. Anonymous says:

    BLF’s work has already made it to BB. If it gets as far as the evening news, Wachovia should be the happy puppies. Only presidential candidates can afford that kind of advertizing.

    Increased name recognition is considered a good thing. If Wachovia is actually a better place to invest your hard-earned dollars than the bailed out jerks (I don’t know that they are), then more people will be aware of them.

    I don’t think it is much of a stretch to believe that the BLF may have actually helped Wachovia.

  108. jdfreivald says:

    I’m sorry to have taken so long to respond to this, but my job got in the way.

    We could spend many fruitless hours arguing this, but I want to focus in one place. First, you (Phikus @139) say

    The only way we can change some unjust laws is to break them, when they serve the interest of crushing the peaceful dissent of the people vs oppressors, for instance.

    and then you tell me

    If you are trying to equate my posting on a blog with disseminating something through the mass media, again you are sorely mistaken. I never said I do not have any free speech at all, but I did argue in this context that a person’s ability to get ideas out into the mainstream media to affect change is not in any way comparable to the power that major corporations have.

    Here is the classic example of civil disobedience: A black woman sits at a whites-only lunch counter, thereby breaking an unjust law and exposing herself to the consequences of doing so.

    Here is what you are arguing in favor of: An anonymous person defaces a billboard, thereby breaking private property laws but attempting to avoid the consequences of doing so, because he doesn’t have as much money as the billboard owners and so can’t buy airtime on CNN.

    In other words, you are not arguing that we should break unjust laws like the black woman at an all-white counter, you are arguing that we should break other laws because some other organization has more money than we do. That is awful reasoning, and it does not take a short-sighted corporate apologist to see that.

    As a side note, billboards were used in the protest movement, as you point out. From Wikipedia:

    The lyrics are based on a campaign in late 1969 by John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, who rented billboards and posters in eleven cities around the world that read: “WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It) Happy Christmas from John and Yoko”.

    Lennon was a powerful force, with money and popularity. Should those who had less influence than he did have defaced the billboards he legally rented?

  109. minTphresh says:

    jetfx, billboard advertising is permissable by law, not a fundamental human right. if there were a mandate or some sort of vote put to it by the people, i think that they would either be outlawed, or much more closely regulated. i have watched thru my lifetime ( a scant 49 years!)as billboards have multiplied and spread until some highways have become like the roads in the movie “Brazil”. Darren, if some corporation leased the area directly behind your house, built a big ol’ Marlboro billboard, and shone their bright halogen lamps on it all night, every night, so that it was the view from your rear window, i’ll bet u would not be pleased, and u would try to find some way to either rid yourself of it, move, or find a way to make it more palletable. but that still doesn’t seem to cover the knee-jerkiness of your response. so i ask again, clear channel employee? some other agency? been vandalized yourself? WTF?

  110. jetfx says:

    Mintphresh, I wasn’t talking about a right to billboards. I was talking about the connection between advertising and free speech. This original post was about the BLF and their pranks (I enjoyed them and am ambivalent about the morality), but people here quickly started like it’s unethical to advertise things. That is the issue I’m talking about.

    I would be concerned about a huge billboard shining its lights in my bedroom window, but the issue isn’t the advertisement, it’s the location.

  111. minTphresh says:

    shmee, i dont think you understand the concept of “Art”. these folk like the BLF and even graffiti artists are part of what will be written about in art history books of the future. they’re the ones who are inspiring the most passion in the underground art world. whether you identify them with PETA, or 4chn, has no bearing whatsoever on that outcome. “Art” is what challenges our perceptions, and forces us to relook at those things which most of us don’t even see anymore. i don’t need to restate my utter disdain for billboards and their total disregard for our aesthetic awareness, but for most folk its like they see them so much they no longer consciously perceive them. this is of course what the advertisers want, as the message in most ( if not all ) advertising is to imprint on your subconscious. what the BLF helps to do is take the message back into our awareness, that all is not sunsets and laughing carefree beautiful people dancing on beaches. for something you consider” boring and ugly.” it sure inspired enough in you to take the time and effort to make a 3 paragraph statement about it. bong-bing links to many other and varied artists, almost everyday. how many of those do you even stop to look at? let alone post on? or is it just the “boring and ugly” ones? if bob flanagan can do it, so can the BLF! http://hnv.nin.net/hnv6/flanagan.html

  112. bcl_power says:

    I’m sure the owner of the billboard, who now has to apologize to the customer and pay to have it fixed…

    Given that this is a billboard owned by the hulking multimedia giant Clear Channel, my sympathies are limited. I suspect they’ll be able to come up with the money.

  113. anthony says:

    When visiting my Mom I used to be affronted by an anti-abortion billboard depicting a bloody fetus on a fork. I was not able to wish it away.

  114. KipEsquire says:

    Dstryng thr ppl’s prvt prprty s vl.

    Prtndng t sn’t vl s tslf vl.

    Y mrns r pthtc.

  115. Tom says:

    A bus kiosk here had an ad for a local casino that showed a woman in the casino with an expression of near-hysterical glee, as if she’d won big. Someone had added a word-bubble on the glass covering the ad, saying, “OH MY GOD I’VE JUST LOST THE RENT MONEY!”

    It was one of the most satisfying pieces of urban vandalism I’ve ever seen, as made a compelling statement, didn’t obscure the original ad, and could be fixed with a wipe of a rag over a surface that gets cleaned regularly by city workers anyway.

    These guys, though… The difference between the right and the left is simply whose lives, property and dignity they devalue, discount and dismiss.

  116. Darren Garrison says:

    #64

    “a way to make it more palletable. but that still doesn’t seem to cover the knee-jerkiness of your response. so i ask again, clear channel employee? some other agency? been vandalized yourself? WTF?”

    There is nothing “knee-jerk” about my responses– it is just that I’m a responsible ADULT, not some child snickering at vandalism and thinking that it is funny (the “vandalism” part being moderated somewhat by finding out that the attachments are removable). This is on the same maturity level as some drunk redneck painting a 1 in front of the 55 (or whatever) on a speed limit sign. Childish and petty.

    It is also very disturbing to see people so short-sighted that they do NOT see the danger in the attitude that “I don’t like this, so it is okay for me to destroy it”. That’s the same attitude some guys in a certain country felt about a couple of big statues, and a couple of big buildings.

    And YES, I’m equating that kind of thinking with the thinking of terrorists. I not delusional to think that defacing a sign is a terrorist act, but it is the exact same kind of thinking that they use– both the sign defacers and the terrorists think that, because they personally don’t like something someone else is lawfully doing, they have the right to go outside the law and “take care” of the “bad guys” themselves. Again, it is a difference in degree, not in kind. I’m hoping that the vandals are college-age kids and thus will have time to grow up and act and think like adults.

    And you know what? Corporations aren’t made up of magical fairies. Corporations are operated by employees and owned by stock holders– PEOPLE. And that is who you are hurting when you vandalize their property, not “pieces of paper”.

  117. bcl_power says:

    Destroying other people’s private property is evil. Pretending it isn’t evil is itself evil.

    Hmmm… Valuing property rights above all else, make self-righteous pronouncements about good and evil, calling other people morons…

    I smell a libertarian!

  118. lesserdevil says:

    Evil? Really? I’m not sure I would have gone with evil. I believe that the visual pollution caused by billboard proliferation is wrong. People get sick of seeing advertisements, and you can’t close your eyes while you’re driving. The advertisement is forced upon your vision.

    Have fun with your judgments of evil. I hope you enjoy the rapture.

  119. MossWatson says:

    I think the point that Antinou made perfectly in #52 and #62 is that just because something is legal doesn’t make it right and just because something is illegal doesn’t make it wrong.

    I don’t think anyone here is claiming that billboards are illegal, nor that altering them is legal.

    Most people are so used to billboards (among other things) that they don’t even consider that they aren’t just a fact of life. If these (illegal) billboard alterations shake people out of that daze to where they consider what kind of world they want to, and could possibly live in, then they are indeed a good thing.

  120. Darren Garrison says:

    Antoninus:

    “If you had a view corridor ordinance, you would have the right to stop him.”

    But the thing is– I wouldn’t TRY to. I am a firm believer in personal property rights– meaning you can do any damn thing that you want with the land that you own, short of something blatantly awful (if a neighbor started a slave market next door, for example, I’d be a bit concerned). But I think that personal land ownership SHOULD give you the right to do anything short of the blatantly criminal with your personal property. That, again, doesn’t mean that I have to LIKE what someone does with their personal property– for instance, as I said, I like trees more than houses and people, and I’m much rather have more of the first and less of the second two around me– but if neighbors want to cut down trees and build houses, that is their right, and I wouldn’t try to stop them. If they could make money putting up a cellular tower in their yard, I might not like it, but I wouldn’t try to stop them. And if they wanted to put up a giant billboard, I might not like it, but I wouldn’t try to stop them. Just as I’d like the neighbors to mind their own damned business about anything I decided to do with my land. Because I think someone’s right to do as they please with their property trumps someone else’s right to be not annoyed by what I do with my property.

    BTW, I live in South Carolina, a state that takes property rights a LITTLE more seriously than some:

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A01E5DC143DF935A25750C0A9679C8B63

    • Antinous says:

      I think that personal land ownership SHOULD give you the right to do anything short of the blatantly criminal with your personal property

      Blatantly criminal is a value judgment. You draw the line based on your perceptions. Other people draw the line based on theirs. Are you okay with your neighbors starting an outdoor gay sex club? Plenty of us wouldn’t be in the least bit bothered by all-night teabagging parties, but would be completely pissed off by a billboard. You’re saying that your judgment is somehow special and correct. It’s not. It’s just your opinion. That’s why we, as a society, try to come to an uneasy truce about what’s acceptable. And sometimes that means things like view corridors.

  121. nehpetsE says:

    I suspect the folks defending Wachovia and Clear Channel are trolls. But yes they got my goat.

    This billboard liberation is a fully socially/ethically acceptable form of political expression that happens to carry known legal risks.

    A corporate entity whose size/power exceeds that of a small country, must recognize that (while they still have legal protections and money to enforce their will,) they are in the public realm and have ceded their legitimacy as private persons and the protective social mores that individuals should be afforded.

    This IS what living in a true free market is all about.
    When “big government” is not a regulating force for equality, it is our individual responsibility to “self regulate” commercial ventures that are not beneficial.

    Privatization has historically always provided moral legitimacy to Privateering.

    Jesus was a Pirate

    thank you

    (btw this is NOT a cut&paste rant. i really was spontaneously riled up by the chickens defending the rights of foxes. i just made up “Jesus was a Pirate” but after checking google i find that it is a preexisting meme.)

  122. mdh says:

    You morons are pathetic.

    Who is more pathetic, people who hate signs and do something about it? Or a bank that takes government handouts and THEN spends money on billboards to convince us the ‘free-market’ works just fine?

    Nobody but the BLF compensates me in the least for the blocked view, so I’m okay with what they do.

  123. SeattlePete says:

    “The difference between the right and the left is simply whose lives, property and dignity they devalue, discount and dismiss.”

    Indeed.

    On the one hand you’ve got a large investment bank suffering under the weight of it’s own bottomless greed, discounting and dismissing the American taxpayers property and dignity in order to keep the cash truck backing up to the executives pools.

    On the other hand you have a small group of people with glue and paper trying to make a point by risking their lives scaling billboards in the middle of the night.

    I don’t know who to root for.

  124. Phikus says:

    Kipesquire: Nothing was destroyed, it was simply repurposed to support a different message, one that is more aligned with the average person instead of the corporate behemoth. Corporatism does not respect the individual’s rights, so why should we not attack it with guerrilla acts of creative cleverness? One day I’d like to roll down the freeway and see every one of these view-obstructing life-encasing lying pieces of shit re-purposed in clever ways.

    Insulting everyone here with a different opinion is another definition of evil. I don’t think your vowels will be with us for long. Do you consider that vandalism too?

  125. mdh says:

    Destroying other people’s private parts is evil.

    Fixed your thing.

  126. Phikus says:

    It’s our taxes used to bail them out, despite all protestations to the contrary, so why shouldn’t we the people start getting our money’s worth?

    Also, I’ve always thought the name of this bank crosses the line from lending institution to organized crime a bit (the line was always a thin one, imho). “Yeah, I’ll wachovia money for ya’s. Sure sure.”

  127. AGF says:

    Darren – It is just that billboard invade our space constantly and are created to bother us. Your neighbours house – was not made to bother you. A billboard is not minding it’s own business – so it doesn’t get to be left alone.
    And the terrorist thing? LOL!!! I think that we need to create a new Godwin’s law! Someone? What law can we invoke when artists (or suspended forth graders) get compared to terrorist? Or is this the new Godwin’s law? (Offnavy is sooo the new black!)

  128. jonesboy says:

    I laughed, but it’s worth mentioning that Wachovia wasn’t one of the banks that was bailed out. They were purchased first, and their new parent company (Citigroup) wasn’t one of the failing banks bailed out last month.

  129. Milton Rand Kalman says:

    Hey, you whiny bitches complaining the ‘damaged billboard’. We use double-sided foam adhesive tape, doesn’t hurt anything. Even if it did, as a person who has created billboards for a living, they always print a spare in case of vandalism or weather damage, so it wouldn’t really matter either way.

    Feel to take off your Gross Injustice Hat and eat it.

    See you all at Takeovers and Makeovers

    covertly yours,
    Milton Rand Kalman
    BLF Chief Scientist

  130. Simon Cameron says:

    “again, no one is saying that these billboard alterations should be legal…they’re simply saying that they are not necessarily ‘wrong’ (again, illegal doesn’t equal wrong, legal doesn’t equal right)”

    There is an intrinsic value in following the law. If people were permitted to make their own judgments about what was permissible and react accordingly all the time we would live in anarchy. So even if they are ‘right’ to be opposed to Clear Channel or Wachovia or both, they are ‘wrong’ to use an extra-legal method to oppose them.

    • Antinous says:

      If people were permitted to make their own judgments about what was permissible and react accordingly all the time we would live in anarchy.

      You just gave the Nuremberg Defense.

  131. Hyde says:

    Destruction of private property is wrong. Period. Making inane excuses about it being okay because you don’t like billboards is pathetic.

    That said, this shit is funny. Just accept that it’s wrong and awesome at the same time. It’s not that hard. And I would totally do stuff like this if I wasn’t such a pussy.

  132. MossWatson says:

    “Destruction of private property is wrong. Period.”

    “Destroying other people’s private property is evil.”

    Says who? Illegal, Yes, but “wrong”? “Evil”? How about: claiming that it is possible to ‘own’ the public landscape is evil?

    You have to decide what kind of world you want to live in – don’t let the people who are currently making the rules decide for you.

  133. dae says:

    Property is theft. Period. Making inane excuses about being okay because you like your things is pathetic.

    That’s better.

  134. Cool Products says:

    Looks like someone watched Fight Club too many times. Just kidding, civil disobedience is awesome.

  135. minTphresh says:

    MILTON, i for one, love the work you all do. please keep it up. the world is far more interesting for the art that u do here. as far as asshats like KIPESQUIRE, above, people who make blanket statements about shit they know doodly-squat about are evil, pathetic morons, and should be sterilized at their earliest convenience. no sense in that genome infecting the pool any longer. as far as the destruction of private property is concerned, there is nothin private about a goddamn billboard. they pollute our views, and they scream their lying memes at us in ways we cant ignore. just try NOT looking at them while driving or sitting at an intersection. the BLF does us all a square by the wonderful work they do.

  136. Cpt. Tim says:

    anyone have cross streets? i’m taking pictures in the mission today.

  137. Darren Garrison says:

    One more vote in the “no respect for vandals” column. Political agenda is no excuse for defacing someone else’s property. I’d like to see the vandals fined and spend a few weeks in jail (I won’t go overboard and want the to spend years in prison– but I want them to be inconvenienced enough that they’ll think three times before they vandalize someone else’s property again).

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