Byline: Character To Go

Buford Youthward

You are a character whether you like it or not.

As we think, imagine and act, we invest meaning. We are both creator and creature. Creators in that we make our own meaning of the world and creatures because we are subjected to others' meaning.

Life is idealized for the past. Change your senses and you change your world, change your heart and you are changing the universe. The future is a template waiting to populate, burdened by a past it can never abandon. Fairy tales and viruses frame history.

Writing graffiti is a conversation, not a monologue; writing about graffiti is like trying to explain the difference between the diving board and the diver. The action and thought are merged on a platform that has a life cycle, a story in development. To recognize the myth, decode the story, is the stuff of screenwriters and journalists. As I wrote in the past, narratives involving identity are never complete.

You need to make sure you are a good copywriter and a better editor before you start working with a casting agent. If you aren't good at either skill, you risk being at the mercy of a context not of your creation. But we run that risk everyday. Contexts are accidents waiting for situations.

Text and ideas sometimes bottleneck, and traffic jams ensue. Structuralist graffiti writers diffuse the impact and identify patterns of myth. Grizzled and seasoned, often these writers get absorbed in the fray, utilizing agents and publicists to exert their existence. We all need our crutches.

Culture has consequences. Societies swayed by symbols must eventually pay the bill. In music, hip hop promotes conscious cannibalism. Samples smack of signification but the only signs seen say it's okay to eat your own. It's strange, words don't have worse consequences than they do but that's context dependent. Results don't always match meaning. And the warning labels are in fine print written in invisible ink.

The ultimate meaning and value of our actions are always uncertain; what it means to be human is to act in the face of such uncertainty. The anxiety of choice haunts reality. In the shadow of this anxiety is where character is shaped.

The graffiti writer is not the kangaroo court jester of society. They are the characters posing character on community congestion. The spray can spent on city surfaces sources the environment more so than the self. Although it was some selfish character that selflessly started the dialogue, we are all enlisted, whether we like it or not.

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