Absent Without Leave; Present But Not Accounted For

Buford Youthward

Pragmatic democracy has become the maintenance of laws serving structures and not citizens. The transition from citizen to criminal happens when the line deemed righteous by the few and imposed on the many is blurred. Welcome to modern democracy.

Indeed, democracy has become the art and craft of compromise made scientific. Trust me, there is more legal flexibility for Citibank than you. After all, the corporation has become the uber-citizen in the modern world.

Buffed concrete breeds apathy and it is in the best interest of the conforming classes to take adventure, risk and fun away from those who desire it. Charming ruins and squashed identity will be the mark of our society. We will have official language, safe art, a glowing shrine in every living room, and one helluva trash pile. Yes, the word "identity" itself has been appropriated to mean legally protected logos (no not yours, sorry).

So many buy the stale bread and televised circus they're offered. It seems as though graffiti writers are alone in providing the yeast at least in contrast to the gray commuters and cloudy social forecasters. Electric poetry and theater are just in front of us; right within spitting distance if we so desire.

It is up to each one of us to refuse to die of comfort and boredom; to reject the ending that leaves us frustrated and silenced. The federal republic that we choose is not necessarily handed to us. We each have the clay to sculpt our form. Freedom is the crime that defines every scofflaw. It is the graffiti writer's ultimate weapon. Don't squander what little you may have left.

Today it is considered virtuous to stifle permanent cultural vibration. But who holds tomorrow's hand?

Read more in Byline

Art Crimes Front Page