Tempe, Arizona police have caught Penis Man

Police have captured the culprit behind the "Penis Man" graffiti tags that, er, popped up in several dozen spots across Tempe and Phoenix, Arizona over the last two months. (News report from December below.) While Penis Man quickly developed a cult following, the cops weren't laughing. On Saturday, Tempe police revealed that they had nabbed Dustin Shomer, "on 16 counts of aggravated criminal damage, 8 counts of criminal damage and one count of criminal trespassing in the first degree." Shomer has since released a statement on the Facebook Unmodded - NEIGHB'rhood Group, as reported in the Phoenix New Times:

"I just spent the last 24 hours in Tempe and Phoenix police custody for spraying 'Penis Man,'" Shomer wrote. "They raided my condo and vehicle and swarmed my entire complex in west Phoenix with 25 heavily armed SWAT officers, and pointed a silenced assault rifle in my face.

"Anyone with any doubt who the bad guys are here ... be certain it is the City of Tempe, City of Phoenix, and police forces valleywide. There is no excuse for pointing an AR-15 in the face of a non-violent offender."

Shomer added in further posts that he spent a night at Maricopa County's Fourth Avenue Jail following more than five hours in Tempe police custody, during which time he was giving "nothing to eat."

He wrote that he was "told I wouldn't receive medical attention after requesting it, even though it was posted on the wall to ask if desired.

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Even superheroes have problems with social media

The perils of modern online life even affect the Man of Steel. Jimmy Olsen's snap run through Facebook's evil autotagging is more observant than Lois. Lots more brilliant stuff by Brakken here. Read the rest

Making crappy tagging legible

Here are before and after photos of spray painted tagging replaced by clean fonts. I thought this was photoshopped, but if you look closely, the details are different in the before and after photos are different. For example, the roses in the flowerbox of of the Rue de Gaillon photo have bloomed in the after photo.

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Everything is miscellaneous: why publishing needs tagging

Walk into a bookstore, and chances are you’ll see books divided into sections by genre. Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Mystery, and so on. It’s the most common system of categorizing books, conversationally and from the data-management perspective of the book world. Genre is also incredibly limiting at times.

There are dozens upon dozens of subgenres across the genres of popular fiction (Romance, Crime, and Science Fiction/Fantasy, plus some others). Science Fiction gets sliced up into Space Opera, Mundane SF, Hard SF, Cyberpunk, Dieselpunk, etc. These subgenres can get hard to keep track of, especially since their boundaries are often porous, and even life-long fans often disagree on the borders between sub-genres, policing them inefficiently but with gusto. At times it’s fun to argue classifications, try to find exactly the right place to frame a piece so that its cultural and narrative context is most clear. And narrow sub-genres can be useful for putting works into clusters for conversation, but it’s also really easy to slice so thin that the discussion becomes obscure or self-serving rather than practical. Read the rest

Graffiti enthusiast won't take red for an answer

In the eternal struggle between graffiti enthusasts and wall owners, sometimes a playful conversation emerges, like this battle over the word RED vs. red paint. Read the rest