In Singapore, graffiti gets you caned. In Australia you’re looking at two years in jail. In America, you get a career. I am proud to be in a country that can convert such a bizarre hobby into a bright future. What’s the biggest problem with our poor? They eat too much. Is anyone short of a TV or a fridge or a cell phone? Not really. Each president mires us deeper in debt than the one before, but we still manage to maintain an economy where all you have to do to survive is work. You don’t even need a job.
How’s this for a business plan? Take a terrible picture of a semi-retarded wrestler from France and scrawl the words ANDRE THE GIANT HAS A POSSE on it. Now have about a million stickers of that made and spend hundreds of nights putting them all over other people’s property. Now ramp it up with some giant posters of the same wrestler and wheat-paste it to everything from water towers to famous landmarks. It’s illegal and serves no purpose, but this retarded plan led to a successful marketing company called OBEY that has made its founder rich.
Back in the 80s, a homeless junkie named Basquiat would wake up from his cardboard box in Washington Square Park and spend the entire night defacing New York City with his crude cartoons. I kind of like the way he draws but technically, he can’t. If you showed one of his drawings to a kindergarten art teacher, she’d assume he was five. However, because this used elbow grease and did it every night, he started developing a brand and before you knew it, he was Andy Warhol’s right-hand man.
Lots of these kids die. They want to get their nickname in a dangerous spot on the Brooklyn Bridge and they fall or they walk down the dark tunnel between subway stops and get sucked up by a moving train. The dead ones are called “angels” but many who stay alive and keep at this ridiculous custom are in seventh heaven. Futura 2000 started spray-painting his nickname all over subway cars in the early 70s and today he is not only a successful gallery artist but also a well-paid clothing designer. It happened to Keith Haring and Dash Snow and Neck Face. All are well-respected gallery artists. All from crime. How spoiled are we that we complain about a country where ruining people’s property with your nickname can lead to a full-time job?
Where did America get this reputation for being such an impossible place to succeed? We’re told systemic racism keeps inner-city kids in a horrible cycle of failure, but the kids they’re talking about intern for me and I see a very different picture. What I see is virtually every non-lazy kid from the slums of Queens and Staten Island getting scholarships to city colleges.
Despite having a buffoon in the White House who strangles economic freedom at every opportunity, we are still living in a place where even crime pays. Obama even depended on Choe and the OBEY guy to help him get elected. Is this really a country where, as TIME magazine pondered, we can no longer move up? Not yet it isn’t.
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