Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Crime of the Centuries

It's being called (by us) the Crime of the Centuries here - not just this century, but of every century going back to the early 18th.  We're not talking about the discovery of a second dismembered corpse in the last two weeks - no, it's uglier than that.  We're talking about the Aqueduct - the nearly 300-year-old, utterly useless but nevertheless architecturally impressive piece of extreme plumbing that serves as the very symbol of Querétaro's querétaroness.

For three centuries, it's stood here, completely ungraffitied... until earlier this week, when the citizenry arose from their oblivious slumber to find the words "SHAB" and "SLUF" spray-painted in four-foot tall letters, possibly by people named Shab and Sluf.

We suppose we need to state the obvious here, which is that this was a totally uncool thing to do. But that shouldn't stop us from marveling at the full metal freakout this inspired.  That every elected official in town tripped over the microphone wires in their haste to condemn this comes as no surprise. What else were they going to say? But from the force of their anger, you'd think a Korean was responsible.

The outrage was magnified via social media - where, if nothing else good comes of this, we discovered a Facebook group called the Querétaro Citizens Brigade, which we're sure will provide innumerable future blog posts.  Big fans of the ALL CAPS SCHOOL OF DEBATE, the only thing they were unable to agree on is whether the perps should have their hands and feet cut off, or just their feet.

The case went to the highest levels of law enforcement here.  In record time, the PGJ had a suspect in custody.  According to their statement, "investigators implemented police intelligence strategies, supported by all the tools of technology" to get their man.  Translated from the original Big Swingin' Dick-ese: The kids who did this bragged about it on Facebook.

"Sluf" posing in front of his tag, via his Facebook page.

While officialdom was patting itself on the back, one question has so far been ignored: According to news reports, the incident happened on Sunday afternoon. The Aqueduct runs down the middle of a six-lane highway, one of the busiest streets in town - a town with over 300 security cameras.  Nobody seems remotely curious as to how no one managed to see two kids spraypainting the Arcos in broad daylight.

In the end, it turned out the kids were actually really kids, and in a rare instance of Mexican law making total sense, PGJ can prosecute them, but can't hold them in prison while they do, so the kid (one of them, at least - it's unclear where the other is) walked.  We're guessing the kid smashes a police car window just to get taken back to prison, where they lynch mob can't hurt him.

Anyway, after all the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, it turns out that the Aqueduct is made of mortar and stone, and that removing spraypaint from mortar and stone is pretty simple and straightforward - though INAH (which has always been completely on the ball when it comes to safeguarding the integrity of the Arcos) puts the paint-removal costs at over 8,000 dollars, which is something we'd definitely like to see an itemized breakdown of.

As long as we're draining the public till to stop the spread of graffiti, we should probably remind the many, many local officials who read this blog that, like the Aqueduct, Burro Hall Enterprises World HQ has been a UNESCO-protected World Heritage Site for 16 years now (by way of comparison, Jesus Christ's birthplace was only admitted this past summer) and, as such, graffitiing its exterior is a crime punishable by five (5) years in jail.  Here is the eastern facade of our office as of 4pm today. It's looked this way for almost two months now. The mess on the left started out as a giant winged heart, testifying to the tagger's love of someone named "Montse." It's not known what went wrong between them, but a few weeks later Montse's name was painted over, angrily.

We're pretty sure that if someone pulled this shit on the Baby Jesus's house, they have it washed off tout de fuckin' suite. Burro Hall deserves no less.


Crazy Rita said...

Oxford defines art as the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

One could argue that it is art.

Anonymous said...

Do you know why Mexicans don't have checking accounts?

Ever try to write out a check with a spray paint can?

Badda-bing badda boom!

Anonymous said...

Why don't you ask PAN diputado Enrique Correa Sada why he insists the state can't restrict youths' "freedom of expression" with silly laws. What about others property rights?

Restrict their freedom of expression or "art" only to property owned by either the state government or him personally, and see how long his idea lasts.

Dave said...

I think you need to encourage accordion-boy to hang outside your door as a deterrent. You're already used to noise.

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