Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
I just returned from a trip to Hamburg and Berlin, and I was shocked at the amount of graffiti on the walls. I was so shocked that I couldn’t help commenting on it, multiple times, to my dear wife Marie, who finally became a bit testy. (“Kent, can we please move on past the subject of the graffiti.”) Here’s what it looks like:
It was everywhere: on the facades of small businesses, on the walls of public buildings, on mailboxes and street light poles. Everywhere. Here’s another example, and not a rare one.
It isn’t even clever or artistic graffiti, like the wall art of Banksy or Horfe. (By the way, Banksy and Horfe are clever, but they are also criminal vandals. I’m a big fan of private property rights.) No, almost all of it seems to have been done by street kids with even fewer brains than talent.
A small percentage of the graffiti is done by those who fancy themselves anarchists or communists. These “activists” seem to be fond of sticker graffiti on posts, railings, and an occasional blank wall, like the following.
I suspect that these so-called anarchists and communists are merely Dummkopfs who have attached themselves to a hip cause. Being an anarchist vandal is probably a lot more fun than being a mere dunderhead. (“Ja, Oskar, Ich struck another blow against die damn capitalists by scrawling mein name on ein Gastehaus die Amerikans namen Kentucky Fried Chicken.”)
Owning an upscale shop in the fancy part of town is no guarantee of a graffiti-free shopfront. Here’s what the “street artists” did to deface the facade of an expensive dress shop in Berlin, just off Unter den Linden.
I would hate to be a small businessman in Hamburg or Berlin. If the civic authorities won’t do anything about the graffiti, there is probably nothing to be done. Actually, the authorities have let it go too far. There are thousands of storefronts and public buildings covered with graffiti, and now the task of cleaning it up seems almost impossible.
Here’s some more street art for you to contemplate. The photo below is a shot taken of a public site on an otherwise handsome street bordering the Elbe river in Hamburg.
And here’s what once might have been a nice apartment building.
Finally, here is some graffiti on a major streetcar route in Berlin.
I was stationed in Germany 60 years ago and there was nothing like this.
I could have shown hundreds of similar examples. But I’ll leave it there. What do you think of all this? Is there a solution? Is it possible to clean up this mess? Are you as shocked as I am?
Is this the result of some kind of social dysfunction? Or is it the result of government inaction similar to their inaction in stopping the flow of immigrants into Germany. Has Germany given up on building a functional and pleasant society?
Is there anything like it where you live? A few weeks ago, I walked around New York City, which used to be the graffiti capital of America, and I didn’t see anything like the mess I saw in Hamburg and Berlin.