I was going to call this post “Giant Tit Spotted on Offramp to Herald Place.” But this is a family blog, and “tit” is one of the Seven Words You Can’t Say on Family Blogs, so I didn’t. Instead, I’m going to try, in the spirit of the late George Carlin, to analyze filth at length. And we have a filth problem in Syracuse: perhaps we don’t have enough of it.
Here are two standup guys doing Syracuse a good turn and hoping to make a difference. A couple months ago, they cleaned the offramp to Herald Place in less than 20 minutes and made a high quality video to explain and publicize the problem. If we had just 50 more volunteers like them we could probably clean up Syracuse for a whole weekend… if everyone could just get their schedules together. Maybe our elected leaders would strive to live up to the dedication of our citizens, and understand they need to give Syracuse the beautification commission it really deserves.
What would Carlin have said? He would have said “Bleep that bleep.” I didn’t always agree with him, but he always made me think.
Sadly, nobody in power takes the broad daylight approach seriously. Don’t get me wrong: They should take it seriously. And they do, but they don’t. The intellect says “Yes, yes,” but the political will just rolls over and falls asleep. Now, if I was a DPW crew manager controlled by whatever strings control whoever makes whatever phone calls, I have to be honest and say I’d be watching these guys and admiring their work, because they just did my work for me — work I’m under contract to do, except no one thinks it’s their job to schedule the work in a coordinated manner.
Here’s a new suggestion: maybe we should stop sending mature men to do a boy’s work. Because putting trash into a Hefty bag is probably not the only thing you can legally or constructively do with it. And no, I’m not just talking about creating graffiti out of pre-existing dirt. I’m not just talking about kudzu topiaries of questionable taste. I’m talking giant genitalia made of garbage. The more embarrassing to middle-class sensibilities, the better.
Now, I’m sure someone would have to research the precise legalities of picking up multiple fragments of pre-thrown trash and just mistakenly dropping them into a suggestive shape (you can’t just go off half-cocked). But, lest anyone think my suggestion just comes from the blue, let’s take a quick look at the recent history of art, trash and filth in our fair city, and ask a couple questions — here respectfully submitted:
Question One: Why was a giant insect recently made out of trash and safely displayed at Lipe Art Park? I mean, that’s a cute idea. And Lipe is a very public space. The “Litter Bug” is not all that provocative, however. Alas, it is just not filthy enough. Could we do even
Question Two: Why was provocative (some might say obscene) art recently put on display at one of our city’s spanking new art galleries for the wine and cheese set — where it arguably couldn’t do the local masses any practical good? There is most certainly a niche for provocative art in Syracuse — but some of the artists tasked with the mission of saving Syracuse don’t seem to want to take advantage of the abundance of free on-site materials just sitting in empty, high-traffic public spaces that have a big potential audience just driving by each morning. (Explain that one to me — without using the word “grant.”)
I have no answers, but it’s disheartening to watch all of these good people making earnest efforts at doing something truly worthwhile in Syracuse, yet just orbiting around each other, and never connecting. There’s civic spirit, there’s imagination, there’s boldness, but there’s just something keeping all these ingredients from reacting with one another and creating something that penetrates the consciousness of those in charge.
So at least consider it as a thought experiment. What if some suburban mom orbiting the city center gets offended that her children are getting a free education? And sets off a chain reaction of phone calls to Joanie Mahoney’s office to Mayor Driscoll’s to the SPD, and some joker gets in trouble, and the voracious national media has a field day with it (“Syracuse: Trashiest City in America?”).
Or, you could just make that one phone call. “Mayor Driscoll, if you’d prefer not to see a gigantic gar-boob — or worse — erected somewhere along some highly visible thoroughfare that you forgot to vacuum, I’d think about picking up the phone and coordinating some regular cleanup with the State of New York.”
Or are are things not that desperate yet?
Just a throwaway post, tossed from the window of a speeding blog. But Syracuse is a great recycling town. Why not turn that junk into “junk” today?