Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday rerun: Wherefore art though, art?

Was it not the great legal scholar Oliver Wendell Douglas who sagely advised that your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins?  I think so.  

What's the first rule we learn when we commence attending school, or dating?  Keep your hands to yourself!

Learning to respect the rights of others seems a quaint, old-fashioned notion in these hurly-burly times, when people are dashing around faster than Mrs Gingrich at a buy -one-get one FREE hairspray sale.

Now, I'm all for artistic expression!  Heaven knows, I'm the first to salute anyone who hangs a velvet Elvis or wide-eyed kid painting in their family room.  Under my sobriquet "Phil S. Styne," I donate such art to the needy families of Newport, Rhode Island, Malibu, California, and Palm Beach, Florida. 

But help me to understand why people are defending kids who go around with their spray paint and their b.a. Sharpies and leave their graffiti on cars, houses, buildings and slow-moving pedestrians.  

Here's what I'm talking about, specifically.  According to the Perry Hall PATCH, one of our local Vincent vandal Goghs was caught at 0250 hours the other morning spray-painting the building at Pete's Cycle shop on Belair Rd.  We assume that this redecoration was not done under the auspices, supervision or permission of the proprietors of Pete's, but the post-pubescent Picasso, while under interrogation down at the station house, gave it up, naming two other places that had come under his decorative touch.  

OK, let's stop right there.  You got a kid, 18, caught vandalizing the property of another person.  There's hardly a need for a trial, since he was caught in the act in the middle of the night.  So does he:

a) admit his act, say he was "just foolin' around and all," and await his chance to do useful Community Service hours, removing the handiwork of others?

b) clam up, tell the cops, "You ain't got nothing on me, see, copper?" and refuse to talk anymore "without my mouthpiece, see?"

c) claim that this is his "way of expressing (his) artistic side"?

You've taken quizzes like this before, so you know we stack the right answer on the bottom.  Yes, the youth said that.  His "tag" is "Toe" or "Toenail," so we know there is trouble afoot when he kneels and says, "Let us spray."

So, we know he needs some more education, which we can hope will be meted out to him by a wise and wonderful judge.

But as usual, that's not the worst part of the story.  

The article in the PATCH engendered a lively debate, and when you read down to the bottom of the page, you are treated to the views of fellow adults who say things such as,"No, he did not commit a "white collar crime", (which are usually worse by the way...) but somebody giving away their art for free."
I'm not even going to comment on the syntactic struggles of that sentence.  This is a woman, trying to tell us that spray-painted graffiti on SOMEONE ELSE'S PROPERTY should not be considered a crime, but a gift of art. And she goes on with a whole new theory: "...the pre-frontal cortex (risk assessment, decision making) is not developed until around 25yo. He can go to war, but not drink... so, not totally an adult in terms of the law."

Attention attorneys everywhere!  A brand-new defense has just been offered by a woman who goes on to say "maybe I've been involved in education too long."  In her view, no one under the age of 25 really knows how to assess risk or make a good decision, so we can't hold their actions against them.

To you 18-year-olds who work full or part time, go to school, have a car and a social life and no time for damaging the property of others at ten minutes til three in the morning, I am sorry, but this woman feels that your brain stems have not borne ripe fruit just yet, and so she discounts everything you say, do, touch or feel.  

She has no respect for your accomplishments, though they are many and varied, as she is too busy defending the misguided actions of a guy who is most assuredly representative of but a tiny fraction of your number.

And now you know the worst part of the story.

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