Besides spending vacation time writing a column from abroad, I’ve been asked by the greybeards who run City Weekly to also contribute to this blog site—also from abroad. Like I have nothing else to do. Problem is that when I can’t easily access the Internet—like the case the past few days—it’s hard to write about anything relevant and topical to a local SLC reader. Actually a reader reads the paper. If you’re reading this now, you’re a “user.” Computer parlance.
Anyway, here it is from Italy: Graffiti sucks no matter where you find it. All over the states we see graffiti, but we tend to label it as a westside, or southside, or gang-bang problem. In Italy, I see no such demarcations as graffiti is everywhere—at least in Rome. If there’s and unpainted wall in Rome, I’ve yet to find it. Maybe it’s not considered a problem here as I can detect no uproar except from our own party of Americans, who as with everthing else about Italy and Greece, likely misunderstand it.
It’s funny. This graffiti could be lifted and placed in any city in America and it would scare the bejesus out of everyone living in the surrounding 10 city blocks. It looks just like our homegrown Crip, Bloods or Wannabe graffiti. Carbon copy, or vice versa. Same script. Same colors. Just no kid with some baggy pants copping an attitude nearby. Maybe they consider it art. Dunno.
But those Americans. We visited the famous coliseum. For centuries it has pretty much withstood everything but earthquakes. It’s an impressive site and must have been drop dead gorgeous in its heyday, all gilded in bronze and laden with marble. And, painted up, too. Paint goes away in time, even graffiti. What doesn’t however is the marring of the walls in the coliseum resulting from people scratching their name or whatever into the soft rock foundation. On some columns, as high as you can reach someone has scratched an ‘‘I love Betty Lou’’ into the stone. I figure some of that is American made since it’s etched in English.
Like on one column—some nitwit from Texas (are all nitwits from Texas, or just this fellow and the leader of the free world?)—scratched the Texas A&M logo into the rock. For all to see. Real nice, you stupid Aggie! And below that is a large W which looks waaaay too much like the W for the University of Wisconsin. Good old American one-upmanship. I wonder how an archeologist will square that one a thousand years from now. Maybe it wasn’t a kid from Texas nor one from Wisconsin. Maybe the locals are so good at copying graffiti, they even copy school logos.
The one I liked best wasn’t really graffiti, but was a sign or something. I saw several like it. They read, ‘‘No Way. No War. No George Bush.’’ I don’t think that one was placed by the Aggie knucklehead. (John Saltas)
More: Saltas' Big Greek Vacation Photos