Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Taking into account the height of the billboard, soaring an extra four or five stories over the highest five story building that runs along the Eisenhower Expressway razing land through the West Side, not land anymore but negative space sucking cars into downtown and all points south, and taking into account the subtlety of the change, the way the black letters on the ad had hung proudly, printing the product name simply: Cadillac CTS, a sexualized whisper to the masses set against a calm sea and a calm gray sky, the calm and cultured car parked in clam digging weather – whoever had changed the message, inverted its meaning to the exact opposite of the ad agency’s intent, had accomplished an enormous feat of will and wit, of brains and brawn and one asks, “How the fuck did they get all the way up there?”
Their work done, the billboard now read Cars Suck in the Monday morning rush. It was the dead of winter adding to the profundity of the feat and begging another question: “How the fuck did they not freeze to death?”
To be literal:
CA ILLAC TS
CA LAC S
CA AC SU
It was a seamless edit and the casual viewer could not make out where the original letters had been. The results were so expertly executed that it was as if this was the ad that had been paid for, this was the original intent.
Who are they? Who could have done this? Mischievous and unsupervised neighborhood kids? No way. Neo-situationists gone crazy with a degree in graphic design and too much unemployed time on their hands? Maybe. Communists we are unaware of? Maybe not. Was it a frat boy bet fulfilled? No fuckin’ way. Maybe it was a competing car company, a Japanese one like Toyota or Mitsubishi, who had in their employ seven samurai of civil disobedience. The message was written, regardless of who did it, and the message was received, regardless of who saw it. It made websites, briefly, it made news, maybe, but was blacked out, generally, by scandal in City Hall and a triple homicide out on the West Side – a drug deal gone wrong in a garage. And then there was the war and the coming war and the war behind us and we asked ourselves simply, who are we?
At four o’clock that Monday afternoon, a team of men ascended to the face of the billboard that hangs over the Eisenhower and began the work of replacing the ad, this time with an ad for breath-freshening gum featuring a black man’s nose, mouth and tongue and the phrase Fa shizzle.
Posted by Jammon at 7:18 AM