Antisocial Media

[ Sources indicate the phrase “rage against the machine” was coined by musician Zack de la Rocha in 1989. The common question is, “What machine are they raging against?” According to Tom Morello, “The machine can be anything from the police in L.A. that can tear motorists from their cars and beat them to a pulp and get away with it, to the state capitalist machine that tried to make you just a mindless cog and sort of 'behave' and never confront the system and just look forward to the weekend and the next six pack of beer. The machine has come to mean any form of illegitimate authority that dehumanizes and degrades." ]

Face it. It’s cool anytime you can use a quote involving Rage Against The Machine to start a conversation. Raging is pushing back on a system that does wrong, and that’s exactly what’s being demonstrated on BuzzFeed’s 40 Billboards Improved By Graffitti. I’m not entirely sure I agree that all 40 have been improved, but they’re certainly changed. The anger here goes way beyond the typical graffiti adornments that adrenaline-junkie street artists create, because these tweaks deftly alter the messaging of the boards. As closely as I can tell, most of the brand bandits did it using only paint and a healthy dose of “just don’t give a %!$@.” The most interesting thing about this for me is the parallel that emerges with the way users have come to control the online space, forcing brands to be transparent. It seems that exactly the same thing is going on here. The web may be the medium of the future, but the opportunistic are working in the medium right down on the corner.

Here’s the link to all 40 boards at BuzzFeed. Warning: Socially motivated graffiti artists aren’t generally noted for their concern for the delicate sensibilities of others. Looking probably won’t scar you for life, but your mom might make you wash your eyes out with soap.

Credit to SoFla’s own, Art Director Brian Z Anderson, who found the collection of 40 on BuzzFeed. He’s so now.

L/L wants to know what you think:

Has online behavior taught an entire generation just how powerful the art of talking back can be? What do you think of this kind of social commentary? Is it right to call brands out this way?


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  4. robthechob says:

    we are a long way from kansas

    • admin says:

      Yes, we are. Dorothy could never have hated on the schoolteacher, even after she boosted Toto. Now, the munchkins had some axes to grind with those flying monkeys, but that’s a different thing.

  5. Ron Tedwater says:

    Really nice post,thank you

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