Amy B. Smoyer, PhD

Incarcerated Lives, Health & Social Work

Does she read my blog?

Carcere means Jail in Gallego.  I think you can figure out the rest.

There's a lot of graffiti in Spain.

There's a lot of graffiti in the US, as well.  But, for the most part, US graffiti is confined to the cities and, more specifically, to the low-income or otherwise remote parts of the cities.  Railroad bridges, subway tunnels, deserted factories, unused billboards.

Graffiti here in Europe is "equal opportunity."  There may not be more, but it is more equally distributed.  For example, there are swastikas, initials and other random tags on the exterior walls of the shiny, new, relatively fancy apartment building (we're not talking Cabrini-Green) in which I live.  There is a long line and a heart spray painted onto the indoor sports center near our apartment.  A sports center that is well maintained, lighted at night and used by hundreds of people a day.  Not exactly an abandoned building.

My US sensibilities are offended by all this street art/vandalism.  Where is Giuliani when you need him?  However, upon reflection, I realize that if this how the troublemakers are spending their time, well, I guess we should count ourselves lucky.  In 2011, there were 34 murders in New Haven.  Should we consider a "Spray Paint for Guns" campaign in the Elm City?

Another point of contrast is that Spanish graffiti has a pronounced political edge to it. Sure, you could argue that US graffiti is a demonstration of resistance - oppressed youth at the margins of society fighting to construct identities of power and control.  But the Spaniards are more direct - using the paint to literally write their political and social ideas on a wall.

I took the photo which is pasted above this morning.  This phrase is currently written on the side of my very own apartment building.  No, I didn't do it.  Honest.  But looks like I've got a comrade out there. I wonder if she's been reading my blog?