Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Who is Waynel, and why is (he) writing on church walls?
A few weeks ago, my son and I visited St Thomas Episcopal Church in (Historic) Bath, NC. St Thomas was built in 1734 with walls two feet thick. This photo is of an area of the old brick exterior walls upon which people have carved their names. It appears to be the church's designated (if unofficial) graffiti wall.
What is it about letting people know we've been somewhere? There's Kilroy, the legendary WWII character who was ubiquitous and symbolic (and there are a number of legends about the origin and scope of the Kilroy Was Here graffiti legend), and then there's Waynel, and all those people who write on the doors of bathroom stalls stating that they were here, and those who paint on rocks along the interstate. Like dogs who mark territory by peeing on every bush as one walks them around the block, people have this thing about letting others know they have been here before us.
I sound prejudiced, and I guess I am. But I'm also truly curious about this. Are we marking territory, or are we trying to connect with others across time and place, are we advertising something or trying to spread information/rumors/lies, or are we vandals? Why are we (some of us at least) not able to pass by a place without leaving our mark? Are we advertising or are we trying to connect?