Regarding Sunday Night's Onslaught of Graffiti Down Mission Street

I generally avoid directly writing about criticism lobbed at Uptown Almanac.  It's an uncomfortable and inherently masturbatory admission that this blog is worthy of criticism, which I'm not certain it is.  And our troll-spiced comment section is often a fine and illuminating forum for such discussion.  However, the sheer amount of criticism we've received for our role in “promoting” and “celebrating” the vandalism begs a response.

In some respects, I get it—this is the third riot in six months that's left the neighborhood bleeding with nary a response from SFPD.  People rightfully want answers; businesses demand to know when the costly damages will cease.  And are we going to have to repave the badly scarred Mission Street again?

Naturally, the finger-pointing began immediately.  Some elected to blame SFPD for neglecting their duties, many went with the tried-and-true Oakland boogeyman.  But, much to my surprise, some opted to blame the likes of UA and Mission Mission.  Apparently because I and others post pictures of graffiti and street art, we encourage bad behavior.

Talk about shooting the messenger.

It feels utterly ridiculous to have this conversation again 24 years after Jean-Michel Basquiat shot up one too many times and six years after “Graffiti” landed at the Brooklyn Museum, but it seems necessary and, unfortunately, timely.

I don't see graffiti as some sort of black and white, Republican or Democrat, love or hate activity and art form.  Rather, like every cultural wedge issue we're forced to tackle, it's a bit more nuanced.  It's not universally bad—how could it be?  If it keeps movie posters and cell phone advertisements off plywood, I eagerly welcome it.  If it livens up the storm barriers along Ocean Beach, awesome.  And if it's talented and interesting? All the better.

But like everything, there are shitty and worthless guys out there trashing innocent homes, businesses, and public resources.  Sunday night's melee obviously falls into that category.  However, I don't subscribe to the preposterous theory that the action of 15 taggers leveraging a crowd of thousands as cover delegitimizes the whole shebang.  That's a step away from labeling music with guitars as absolutely horrible because Nickelback exists.


Some of my friend's businesses were thoroughly trashed Sunday night, costing them hundreds of dollars they cannot spare. My favorite venue is covered with tags that cannot be easily removed.  Murals that artists slaved over are forever fucked.  And of course I feel horrible for them and hope they find relief.  However, I refuse to accept blame because I enjoy graffiti of the harmless variety.

Anyway, it's time for me to wash the ejaculate off my keyboard and take a long, numbing shower.  Thanks for reading.

[Photo by Jonathan Koshi]

Comments (14)

I wouldn’t take it personally. San Franciscans are (rightfully) upset about jerks using a sports tournament as an excuse to be assholes in public, and your blog allows comments, so it happens to be a place for them to vent.

people were blaming the blogs? dumb.

taggers are opportunists, & you didn’t create this opportunity for them, so i don’t know why you are to blame.

and i like grafitti. but all tags are not created equal.

the people that fucked shit up that night knew they were going to fuck shit up. i knew it too, so i stayed at home ‘til i needed a grease fix (el farolito).

& the cops did the right thing by being present & not engaging until necessary. people tried to provoke them & they didn’t bite. i think there would have been a greater shit storm if they had.

Idiots see tags and grafitti on blogs and go and “get up” hoping that the same blogs will show thier shit. Simple as that.

What they (the businesses) would’ve probably preferred was if you’d taken pictures of the taggers and not the graffiti, maybe then someone could’ve been held accountable. Oh wait, SF doesn’t believe in accountability and civil behavior….nevermind.

What they (the businesses) would’ve probably preferred was if you’d taken pictures of the taggers and not the graffiti, maybe then someone could’ve been held accountable. Oh wait, SF doesn’t believe in accountability and civil behavior….nevermind.

Hey, dutch. How’d you make all those multiple post? I was just wondering in case I ever wanna come on here and act like a boobie-head.

I was standing in front of The Dark Room high fiving people and having fun because it seemed like if I was there having fun, the people tagging skipped us, plus it was kind of fun, watching everyone and getting to drink beer on the street. I left at 11:30, and this is what I came back to the next day.

It’s upsetting. The fire in the middle of the street, the only damage that caused was there. Running up and down the street, markering random three-letter combinations all over the place, causing all these small business owners to have to pay to repaint, or be fined and have the city smear beige all over it? I don’t understand the click in peoples’ brains that suddenly says “this is the way we have fun now!”

What is Mission Street so scared of that it needs repaving?

Feels like somebody is still upset about the “desecration” of vapid bar art….

truth, can you please tell me where i can find gucci brand replica bags for a fraction of the price of the real thing?

Scumbag taggers are scumbags. Why is this a surprise?

Your argument is a slippery slope. Where does one draw the line on what is “good” graffiti or “street art” and what is vandalism? I saw the graffiti. Some of it was decent. I’ve also seen some of the “art” that you post and attach your snark to, and a lot of it is plebeian or simply not good. But that’s ,the point - your position is so subjective that you have little to stand on. I am not blaming you or your blog for targets and the like, but you don’t have much credibility here.

*taggers and the like.