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Some see art, others see crime

February 02, 2009

Re "7 alleged L.A. taggers arrested," Jan. 29

Even though graffiti is a major blight on our city, we should not overlook that the embankment tag shown in The Times photo is miles apart from the usual crude scrawls with which gangsters threaten and boast. The tag in the picture is skillfully executed and features a use of shading that is striking. The reason "Smear" has enjoyed some success in the art world is clear: He's quite good.

I for one can't agree that the embankment would look any better if the tag were whitewashed, nor that anyone should be fined for the cost of doing so.

James van Scoyoc

Los Angeles

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Sadly, this article succeeded in glorifying the efforts of gangs and vandals.

I bristle whenever the term "tagger" is used in connection with the activities of those who deface public or private property.

The news media should only refer to these occurrences with appropriate words -- including deface, destroy, vandalize and ruin, among others.

A tagger is a vandal, plain and simple. They artfully destroy the property of others in the name of the criminal gangs that pollute our city.

Joel Gossman

Los Angeles

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Wouldn't it be much more fiscally prudent to buy 400 gallons of paint and cover the MTA monstrosity than to spend $3.7 million to render the riverbank environmentally safe for taggers to repeat their criminal behavior?

Then again, perhaps this episode can serve as a metaphor for why our state is projected to become $42 billion in the red (ink, not paint).

Franklin S. Adler

Beverly Hills

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