They took off a silver rocket; I said, “remember me by this.”

31 March 2006, 10:20 am

Silver rocket stencil on silver background

The Davis Square rockets are gone, and that makes me a little sad. I’m certainly glad I didn’t put off photographing them for another week.

I found Macolm Gladwell’s discussion of the negative ramifications of grafitti in The Tipping Point fascinating and thought-provoking, if not entirely convincing. (If you haven’t read the book, he argues — less simplistically and with more nuance than my summary, obviously — that New York City’s tough anti-grafitti stance is the primary driver of its reduced crime rate, and he further argues that the causality is reversible, i.e., that more grafitti leads to more crime.) All grafitti can be defined as defacement of some entity’s property, I suppose, but the rocket stencils took utilitarian objects with little intrinsic aesthetic appeal and made them more interesting and (my opinion) attractive.

They seemed like public art for which appropriate prior authorization had not been obtained, and it’s a little hard for me to believe they would have a negative social impact.

p.s.: I’m not dead, in jail, or suffering from writers’ block. Just grappling with time management issues.

p.p.s: Yes, the title is dead wrong. It should be “They took off the rocket with silver.” But then the allusion wouldn’t work, would it? So i’m exercising pseudo-poetic license.

One comment on “They took off a silver rocket; I said, “remember me by this.””

  1. 2fs

    Re Gladwell: It’s been too long since I read that book to argue coherently with him, but I think the kind of “graffiti” makes a difference…since different graffiti has different connotations. Bluntly, if the graffiti makes people think of gangs, it’s certainly going to have a negative effect. Stenciled rockets, though - while they might be unappreciated by some people - don’t create that impression; if anything, they’re vaguely artsy, and perhaps have a similar connotative impact as telephone poles covered with stapled promos for bands’ gigs and the like: i.e., “you’re in a sort of bohemian, hipster enclave.” (No idea whether that’s true for the location you’re talking about - I don’t know the Boston area at all.)


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