18 April 2009

Keeping Carbon Canyon Clean?

Well, it's Spring and the weather is changing, wildflowers are appearing and . . . so is the graffiti and trash!

In the last several days, the former La Vida Mineral Springs property (which looked so well maintained in the 1960s postcard shown in a historical artifact post on this blog from a couple of days ago) has been defaced by two forms of expression: artistic (?!) and nihilistic.

The former is on the old water tank and concrete base from the Springs now sullied by someone's selfish sense of self-expression. I cynically use the term "artistic," because at the same Los Angeles conference referenced yesterday on the post concerning the forthcoming Olinda Village traffic signal, there was a panel of artists, who were explaining their very interesting projects on the intersection of art and history. All well and good, until an audience member, for some unstated reason, asked them whether graffiti was art. For the most part, all three acknowledged that it either was or it was a cry for recognition among the less privileged among us.

I'm not questioning their sincerity or good intentions, but, if society is to blame for those without a voice using spray paint on someone else's property (someone who almost certainly had nothing to do with the "artist"'s desire to make themselves seen), then wouldn't anyone who's had an ax (or spraypaint can) to grind be entitled to similarly express themselves? And, wouldn't it be a beautiful world if that were so.

As for artistic merit, I'll grant that there are "graffiti artists" who are very talented and some have made good use of their abilities in legal ways. What we see in the above photo, however, cannot, by any reasonable standard, constitute art. Besides, Carbon Canyon has enough natural artistic beauty and to spare!

Ironically, this old water tank, the only intact physical reminder of the La Vida resort, had almost been completely hidden from view off Carbon Canyon Road by the accmulation of years of weeds, bushes, and trees. Last November's Freeway Complex Fire burned off the cover and exposed the old tank to the depredations of our modern-day Vandals.

As to the nihilists among us, the last couple of days also brought a casual dumping of a wide array of trash, courtesy of someone who just couldn't be bothered to use those big blue things called dumpsters, those things that hold trash that can be found in any commercial area or, perhaps, where these people live. Instead, those of us who live in and/or enjoy the Canyon get the privilege of having other people's refuse dumped out, presumably in the middle of the night, by people whose moral fortitude and ethical standing rates just a tick higher than their spraypaint can wielding brethren--people doing their part to make sure our environment is just a little worse now than it was a few days ago.

For that, thank you!

Fortunately, I'll have something nicer to share about our Canyon tomorrow, although with a caveat.

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