Sidewalk chalk lines in the sand (1 Viewer)

Anybody catch this story? BoA did not get much love in the comments but this is a pretty big precedent to set - for those from outside the US, jurisprudence is a big deal here. Once some court rules that something is legal (or illegal), that effectively defines the law on the subject moving forward. Of course, this didn't go all the way to the Supreme Court in Washington DC, so there will still be state-to-state variation in how different courts will treat the flurry of side-walk chalk protesters that is bound to erupt in the wake of this monumental decision.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/...ilty_n_3530285.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003
 

mjp

Founding member
I think of the Democratic National Convention in 1968, and the blood spilled all over the world in 1968 and 69 and then I see these dainty, gluten-intolerant children giggling as they write their "protests" on sidewalks in chalk (and expressing their indignant shock that anyone would dare lock them up or fine them for their daring actions) and I think maybe Bukowski was right. Each generation does get weaker.

LOOK AT ME!
I'M WRITING SLOGANS ON THE SIDEWALK WITH CHALK!
I'M SMASHING THE STATE!
WILL YOU TAKE A PICTURE OF ME WRITING THESE SLOGANS IN CHALK ON THE SIDEWALK AND SEND IT TO MY INSTAGRAM AND PINTEREST AND TWITTER AND FOURSQUARE AND FACEBOOK?
BECAUSE I'M DOING SOMETHING IMPORTANT HERE!
I'M MAKING THE WORLD SAFE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS BY WRITING SLOGANS ON THE SIDEWALK WITH CHALK!
LOOK AT ME STICKING IT TO THE MAN!
IS THERE A FONDUE PLACE ANYWHERE AROUND HERE?
NO?
DAMN, THAT SUCKS!
LET ME WRITE THAT DOWN HERE REAL QUICK ON THE SIDEWALK...SUPPORT FONDUE NOT CORPORATE AMERICA!
THERE, HOW DOES THAT LOOK?
DID YOU GET A PICTURE OF IT?
I'M STARVING!
I COULD GO FOR PHO OR CURRY, HOW ABOUT YOU?
I KNOW A GREAT NOODLE HOUSE IN SILVERLAKE!
LET ME JUST FINISH THIS CHALK DRAWING OF THE STATUE OF LIBERTY CRYING!
WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT LOOKS LIKE ROSIE O'DONNELL?
HOW CAN YOU MAKE FUN OF THIS?
THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS!
I'M TEARING DOWN CAPITALISM!
BY WRITING SLOGANS ON THE SIDEWALK WITH CHALK!

582094_240266479428050_357106083_n.jpg
 
I think of the Democratic National Convention in 1968, and the blood spilled all over the world in 1968 and 69 and then I see these dainty, gluten-intolerant children giggling as they write their "protests" on sidewalks in chalk (and expressing their indignant shock that anyone would dare lock them up or fine them for their daring actions) and I think maybe Bukowski was right. Each generation does get weaker.

Maybe they should write slogans in their own blood and set themselves on fire.

Then they could be hardcore, you know, like all those babyboomers.
 

mjp

Founding member
Well, I would pay a hell of a lot more attention to someone doing that than I would to some patchy-bearded twat delicately chalking his fucking slogan (like some sort of educational cartoon character who is going to give you a quiz at the end of the cartoon).

But what do I know.
 
Look, the point is that the renegades of today have Birkenstocks, sticky Thai, and Ford Focus' parked in a no tow zone. We're not slagging an entire generation, we're slagging both what was once a revolution that ultimately didn't happen and the latest version of "it's the seestum, mon." The late 60s/early 70s movement failed, but not for lack of trying. A few "bad" elements really took it pretty far, and but for some apathy and the aforementioned earlier strains of Thai sticky buds and the likes of Owsley Stanley, might actually have happened.

Bottom line is that the most concerted effort at revolution failed because of apathy. The latest version will fail because of perceived entitlement. Ironically, it's the fruits of the system they hate that makes them feel entitled and, at the same time, victims.
 

mjp

Founding member
Revolution is a funny thing. Egypt is a great example. The people went into the streets and protested (not with chalk), and forced the ruling party out of power. Then they had a "free" democratic election, the results of which didn't please anyone either, and which the Egyptian military (and religious forces) just ousted. So now what? They are going to end up right back where they were three years ago. Two revolutions, no progress.

History would seem to be telling us that revolutions meant to establish equality always ultimately fail, because someone has to run shit, and those who run shit invariably become corrupted by power. Read about Winnie Mandela's "boys clubs," that were really just strong arm vigilante murder squads that went around "necklacing" people. Or don't. It's ugly stuff.

But to Purple Stickpin's point, the generation that made up the 60s revolutionaries were (and continue to be) a tremendous disappointment to me. I was a boy living out in the sticks on a dirt road for the entire decade of the 60s. But I saw what was happening on the news and I heard it in the music, and I carried a revolutionary spirit into my adult life, while most of the street fighting men of the 60s gave up and joined the system they were fighting against.

Things would happen like the voting down of the ERA in 1979 or 80, or the election of Ronald Reagan and for the life of me I couldn't understand how "my generation" would let that happen. But that spark (around the world, not just in America) was short lived, like all sparks are.

Now today you have people like Pussy Riot protesting Putin in Russia, and you see how that went. They make their statement, the state says, "Hm, no," and they spend a few years in prison. Their movement continues, and even from prison they remain revolutionary, but how long can they keep it up? The state will simply continue to lock them away, or they will "disappear" and that will be that.

And how about Occupy Wall Street? How'd that work out for you? Ha ha. "Nah, bro, we had to leave occupy, Bonnaroo was coming up, dude!"

The point being, I don't know if any of these revolutions "failed." It seems like what happens is people take it to a certain point an they realize that it's not going to be possible to replace a broken system with a just and benevolent system. And if you think you've got that figured out because you live in Scandinavia or Canada somewhere and you have great health care and everything's pretty cool (literally), ask yourself if you aren't surrounded by xenophobia and racism. Because from out here it looks like you are. Just like everywhere else.

So the underlying question is whether a just and benevolent system can exist anywhere. The older you are and the more history you've lived through, the more likely you are to say 'no.' The younger and more idealistic you are, the more likely you are to believe that something as comically stupid as writing slogans in chalk is important and means anything to anyone. But the spirit of youth is a wonderful and powerful thing. Enjoy it while you can. But you may want to consider taking yourselves less seriously.
 
Christ almighty, mjp. I hope you don't ever try your hand at motivational speaking.

I guess what burns me is that someone gets ridiculed for doing anything at all. It's like you're rubbing salt in the wound. Yes, we all know how pointless everything is and how little anyone cares. Thanks for the reminder.

I knew a naive college student who wanted to be a journalist to expose the world's problems so that society could eventually fix them. I could've told her that a career in porn would be more profitable and her net effect on the world would probably be equal. But that's kind of a shitty thing to say.

Maybe your generation is still listening to "won't get fooled again" but I say, to those about to chalk - I salute you.
...............
Fuck, I spent like 3 hours writing this.
 
As always, I have no expectation that anybody will read this. Because it's long; and I am not normal. :nw:
I knew a naive college student who wanted to be a journalist to expose the world's problems so that society could eventually fix them.
The problem is that the root of 'the worlds problems' are not accessible to journalists - the world's problems are the back rooms where the big wigs posse up to dictate how best to further the dogma, who to promote and why, etc. Even if a journalist DID get in there and publish a scathing expose, it would be as easily dismissed as the hocus-pocus-seeming youtube videos of the 'secret rites' of masonry. The essential thing is to get it across to these wackjobs that those demeaning rituals ARE in fact pathetically disgusting, that the false idols ARE in fact out-of-place, that the dogmas ARE in fact deleterious.

Demonstrating that the dogmas are deleterious is the only thing that journalism CAN do, but to do it well, the degree of historical knowledge, philosophical insight, and razor-sharp poetics has to be far and away more refined than what basically anybody has today -- not because humans are incapable of poetics, philosophy, and history, though. We all have the capacity for them. But the institutions (to me, 'the institutions' is a much better term than 'the system,' re comment below) cranks out so much fucking NOISE and ISOLATION that those tools are very difficult to hone.

Bukowski was somewhat OK in historical knowledge, but his poetics and philosophy were rock-solid (I was surprised to read in Last Night Of The Earth just how highly he regarded good philosophers - the highest of anybody). Just another in a long line of ways that I come up with toe understand the man's awesomeness. But there was a real limitation there, too. I don't offer many Buk critiques, but in the history department he was often very lazy, using cop-out lines like 'humanity you have always ...' I'm not going to say that he was too drunk to do the research, though, because the reasearch tools just weren't around then that we have today. So even my critique is not really a critique so much as pointing out a limitation of the period that he lived in - but it also had advantages, such as having experienced american culture when there was still some rawness to it, before the war watered it down in plastics, speedy-machines, domestic technologies, etc.
... a broken system ...
the underlying question is whether a just and benevolent system can exist anywhere.
What exactly do people mean 'system'? To me, that is one of the weaknesses of this debate over the past 50 years. This ill-defined idea of a system. 5:28 did not mention any system. Mr Chalk did not mention any system. Public art (er ... all art, because there is no other kind) always has political connotations. These chalk drawings may not have moved mountains but it would be hard to argue that they are less effective than the 'work' of some run-of-the mill academically abstracted or emotivist artiste.

Bringing the corruption to awareness is not nothing. Corruption is a problem, ignorance is a problem. Awareness of corruption can be helpful - but somewhere along the line somebody has to have the courage and the tools to explain the corruption and come up with some method of empowerment, not just point fingers at the bad guys and sing a song about em (which is where everybody from the Beatles and Mr. Chalk to modern invistigative journalists come up short).
 
I think Buk was fairly astute with his knowledge of history. I think he understood from seeing things firsthand such as the failed Spanish rebellion of the 30's, and then the aftermath of WWII that movements such as the one in the 60's-70's was a waste of time until there were, say, at least 300,000 hippie's willing to learn how to fire an AK-47 or the art of using mortars and artillery.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Moderator
Founding member
while I don't question the intent, protesting in chalk is like those religious people that pray for the victims of natural disasters: it's empty and totally ineffective.

and I think the fact he wasn't convicted further proves it was ineffective; if his protest had more bite and staying power, you can rest assured the bank would have bent him over the boardroom table and fucked him long and hard.
 

mjp

Founding member
I guess what burns me is that someone gets ridiculed for doing anything at all.
You misunderstand. I am ridiculing them for doing nothing at all. Big difference.
but somewhere along the line somebody has to have the courage and the tools to explain the corruption [...] not just point fingers at the bad guys and sing a song about em...
People have been listening to Taxman and We Won't Get Fooled Again and dozens of similar songs from Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan and countless others (ask Pete Seeger about being blacklisted for his songs) for decades and they will still be listening to songs like that 100 years from now. If you want to compare that to writing with chalk on a sidewalk -- well, you can't.

The songs remain relevant long after the writers are dead and the movements or causes they were written for are forgotten. These dilettantes with their freedom chalk and Frappuccinos will be little more than a cute footnote that no one will remember (except to mock).

So yes, if you oppose; write a song. Start a fire. Spill some of your blood. Abandon safety. Put your ass on the line. That's how the world knows you care (see: Arab Spring).

You will still lose, but we'll know you were serious about change.





Was that inspirational? I'm worried now that I'm not inspirational anymore...
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
Maybe your generation is still listening to "won't get fooled again" but I say, to those about to chalk - I salute you.
Agree with those sentiments, at least he was doing something. Got a bit of a sore head reading this thread given it's meandering course.Is the complaint the youth aren't revolting enough? ( will avoid the obvious joke). The fact that they aren't out on the streets demonstrating and/or rioting 60's style might be attributed to the fact that there just isn't the big 'sexy' issues facing them, Vietnam, Women's Lib, Civil Rights, CND, etc.

Lenin is quoted: " There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Maybe they are just on a slow burn at the moment?
Most of the social/civil unrest at the moment is in the Middle East and North Africa.
So the youth are certainly out and demonstrating there, as witnessed in Egypt and the ousting of Mubarak in 2011, incidentally a large portion of the social 'mobilisation' to the streets in Egypt has been attributed to social networking sites such as Facebook, so the tools the youth are using may be different to previous generations also.
Are there smaller numbers taking an interest in local and global issues, I don't think so, perhaps also the changing demographics have an effect; far more under 25's in the 60's than today?
 
The fact that they aren't out on the streets demonstrating and/or rioting 60's style might be attributed to the fact that there just isn't the big 'sexy' issues facing them, Vietnam, Women's Lib, Civil Rights, CND, etc.

I almost said this exact same thing.
 

number6horse

okyoutwopixiesoutyougo
A key difference between the U.S. protesters of today and the 1960's is the absence of a military draft. If you had mandatory military induction hanging over your head, you would be more inspired in your protests.

I'm in agreement with mjp but this made me do a "spit-take" :)
Christ almighty, mjp. I hope you don't ever try your hand at motivational speaking.
 

mjp

Founding member
Is the complaint the youth aren't revolting enough?
I have no complaint against "the youth." I think they are sad and funny and tragic. To find yourself at such a time in history and the state of this country that you consider writing on a sidewalk in chalk to be a form of protest is very sad.

So it's pity more than anything else. I pity them for many reasons. This is only one of them.
 
The fact that they aren't out on the streets demonstrating and/or rioting 60's style might be attributed to the fact that there just isn't the big 'sexy' issues facing them, Vietnam, Women's Lib, Civil Rights, CND, etc.

I think there is plenty to be pissed off about if you're paying attention.
 
Real change isn't done through protest anyway. It's done by organizing and then winning small concessions and moving forward-like the Obama camp has done. Gay marriage is legal-that is an enormous change!!! The climate and the disabled agndas still suffer (they don't have enough voters yet but it's coming) but gay, black and women and (gay black women) rights are now given as, well duh, moments.
Rock the Casbah really fucking loud all day
 
I think there is plenty to be pissed off about if you're paying attention.

Agreed. Seems to be that part of the problem though is that most of it is invisible. Not to mention all the psychobabble mind fuckers who tell us all to 'just ignore the negatives.' Only a wimp hides from negativity. A warrior yanks it out of the shadows by the scruff of its neck and pulverizes that shit a la Bukowski.

I have no complaint against "the youth." I think they are sad and funny and tragic.

Getting right down to semantics, how does thinking that someone is sad/funny/tragic not amount to a complaint?

So it's pity more than anything else.

Pity is for suckers. Shall I cite Nietzche?

p.s.: still say that Mr Sidewalk's work carries just as much revolutionary potential as everything by lennon, dylan, punk and reggae combined. you wait and see. I'm going to organize a million-man-chalk and you'll be eating those words with your ... wait... do you eat?
 

mjp

Founding member
When I can clear away all evidence of your "protest" in a few seconds with a small bucket or a garden hose, your "protest" is meaningless.
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
A key difference between the U.S. protesters of today and the 1960's is the absence of a military draft. If you had mandatory military induction hanging over your head, you would be more inspired in your protests.

Totally agree. A lot of the issues today are more global and diffuse and the bogeymen are lot less easy to identify. "Down with the Global Financial Crisis" just doesn't have the same ring to it.
Of course there are lots of local, national issues to demonstrate about but why the hell leave at the feet of the under 25's? and yes they are concerned, but we need to get used to the fact their activism may be different to ours.
The guy doing the chalk protest was I believe a 40yr old - so good on him for getting off his arse and doing it.

I have only been to two demonstrations in my life as a 'youngster' both in Glasgow, one in the mid- eighties about the Miners Strike, and one 1990 re the Poll Tax. The first made no difference whatsoever to the outcome but the second, particularly following the riot in London re the poll Tax, did change things.
Real change isn't done through protest anyway. It's done by organizing and then winning small concessions and moving forward

Agree with this.
 
a neighbour circled some dog shit on the sidewalk with a white chalk line, and then wrote the words: "whoever's dog keeps doing this please stop." The dogs kept shitting on the sidewalk, but it did attract a smile from passers-by who read the note.

Maybe one day the neighbour will start throwing stones at dogs, or their owners. But then passers-by will not be smiling and the neighbour will be dragged away, screaming: "you can't keep letting them get away with this."

And the dogs, maybe different ones, will come back and carry on shitting on the sidewalk. And one day someone will sing a song about dog shit on the sidewalk, and we'll all think about how much we hate dog shit. But in the end we'll get a dog and it will be so much easier to let the dog shit on the sidewalk than to pick it up.

And the neighbour who drew the chalkline will tell anyone who will listen about how he once drew chalklines around dog shit; how he tried to bring an end to dog shit on the sidewalk. But the dogs will keep coming until the dog shit is so deep the kids either drown in it, or start a fire.
 
A nearby street has been closing to traffic for an hour each school day to let the kids play in safety. My little girl and her friends took to drawing round each other in chalk in the middle of the road, which is cute; however, I wonder what motorists made of it later in the evening when they came upon a dozen small chalk outlines in their path.



Find this and many more true life chalk line stories in my book "Ask the Chalk Dust"
 

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