- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The graffiti anarchist known as Borf is chilling out in D.C. Jail at the moment, which is the price of defacing public and private property in pursuit of a grandiose vision to change the world.

Borf is against private property and adulthood and the wealthy and rush-hour traffic and innumerable other elements of America, which is all well and good because we all have a trace of anarchist in us. If, as his supporters suggest, it is somehow acceptable for Borf to splash his political messages across the city at no small cost to taxpayers, it should be acceptable to splash dissenting messages in places that would get his attention, such as his place of residence in Great Falls.

He probably would not like that very much, of course, because anarchists have this silly belief that anarchy cuts only one way. Alas, lots of folks can play the anarchy game, as history reveals only too clearly, which is why states have a habit of imposing laws on the masses.

You may not like all the laws. Who does? But it does create a sense of order, and it does allow us to go about our business in a relatively productive way.

Borf was able to go about his graffiti business as long as he did only because of the sense of order in his midst. If there were genuine anarchy in the environment, his kind would not be inclined to engage in the frivolous but destructive undertaking of spray-painting buildings, roadway signs and mailboxes.

No, in a state of true anarchy, his kind would be a whole lot more concerned with self-preservation and staying clear of those who have a different definition of anarchy than they.

There are all kinds of anarchists, whether the emblem of defiance is a can of spray paint or a brick that is about to be propelled through the window of a dreaded Starbucks. These modern-day anarchists, all too many of whom are the self-absorbed, self-indulgent offspring of the upper middle-class, are pretty good at dishing it out. They are just not too good at taking it.

Yet if you want to be at one with your anarchy principles, whether you are Borf or the lightweights who descend on the nation’s capital to protest globalization, you have to be willing to surrender the sense of security you expect others to surrender.

Being young and rebellious is hardly cutting-edge stuff. That prototype is so old it has gray whiskers on it. Sometimes nothing cures the young and rebellious like the first heating bill and the realization that warmth is not pumped into a living space for free.

Borf and many like him are young enough not to be sentenced to the workaday world in order to meet their daily needs. They have the luxury to be make-believe anarchists and revolutionaries in the moral selectivity of the nation’s urban centers.

It is doubtful any would want to take their messages to the rural environment of a red state, where they would be apt to find opposition in the form of a shotgun pointed in their direction.

As for those who find artistic merit in graffiti, they do so from a safe distance. The markings are not on their properties, which is the rub in all this. Embracing graffiti requires a good amount of hypocrisy.

It seems the so-called poets of the streets have redeeming social value until they come to your neighborhood or place of business or home. Funny. If graffiti were all it was said to be by gallery types, you would think there would be a long line of souls looking to have their properties become canvases of so-called art.

Borf has a month in jail to ponder his future as an anarchist armed with a can of spray paint.

He will figure it out one of these years. Most do out of survival.

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