Friday, July 15, 2005


They finally nabbed Borf.

Unless you're a denizen of the D.C. metropolitan area, that sentence probably makes no sense to you. To sum up: a graffiti artist (or "tagger" as they are sometimes called) named "Borf" has been leaving his mark all over D.C. The tags are varied, but they usually involved a phrase like "Borf writes letters to your children" (tagged on a mailbox) and a newspaper-like photograph of a young man's face (some have compared it to Jerry O'Connell). The best known tag was probably the one on a sign on the D.C. side of the Roosevelt bridge (see above).

Borf turned out to be an 18 y.o. boy from Great Falls, VA. And who is "Borf"? Borf was the nickname of a friend who committed suicide two years ago.

Predictably, the upper-middle class citizenry of D.C. have expressed joy and relief that this criminal mastermind has been caught. The tone during an online chat with Marc Fisher yesterday was one of "who does this kid think he is?"

Two words, people: chill out.

Maybe I'm not fully grown up yet, but I don't see graffiti as one of the worst problems afflicting the city. To me, graffiti is part of the urban landscape. One of my favorite websites is Satan's Laundromat, which has some great pictures of the gritty NYC landscape (including some great graffiti). I grew up eagerly wondering where Cool "Disco" Dan was going to strike next. So, to all you city dwellers out there: get used to graffiti. It's been around a long time, and it isn't disappearing anytime soon.

"Well, Tom," you say, "would you want graffiti on the side of your house?" That depends. If it's something like this, I'm cool. I'm not so cool on profanity or anything pornographic in nature. As for Borf, well, I hope he goes to a good art school and has a nice artistic career. And I also hope that he keeps a permanent marker and a can of spray paint in his Israeli Paratrooper bag...

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