I Saw the Sign

The 2009 AFTA conference concluded rather unceremoniously on Saturday afternoon with a final round of concurrent sessions, including a presentation by yours truly along with Jennifer Yocom of the Mayor's office. Silvain, the fine AFTA photographer, snapped a few pics that I'll post here when I get them, but suffice it to say that despite its unoriginal title (written by AFTA, not by me) folks from Puyallap to Providence seemed pretty interested in the "innovative approaches to public-private partnerships" that we have been developing here, including our United Arts Fund which features the only known public matching challenge fund for arts and culture; The Right Brain Initiative, based on Dallas's Big Thought but even more expansive; and Act for Art, our five year action plan for arts and culture. (By the way, over the course of the conference I learned to differentiate "Act for Art" as an action plan, not an arts plan or a cultural plan, which are different. I will explain later.)

On my drive back to Portland -– no, don’t worry, I didn't liveblog it –- but I did take note of the Uncle Sam billboard, as per usual. (It’s like a train wreck, right? You can’t not look.)

That's a stock image above; yesterday its north face read:

Our tax dollars are being used as fertilizer to fund the Barack-acy

I know – stupid on so many levels, right? First of all, what’s with the fertilizer metaphor? Don’t they know that our tax dollars are the very soil of all government programs? And then there’s the attempted play on words, which only falls short because of the (accidental?) omission of a simple letter. (Unless they were alluding to a new word, bureaucacy, which I hadn’t considered until now.)

I know these are goodhearted folks with limited resources, so I am offering my copywriting services for free and suggesting a simpler phrase to increase driver readability while saving on labor (fewer letters) at the same time:

Our tax dollars are being used to fund the Barack-racy

I can see where they want to go with this, so while I’m at it let me pen a few more billboard blasts with bad plays on proper nouns. If you're reading this, Centralia, you are welcome to use these, free of charge, in the months ahead.

Why is Christine so Gregoire-ious when our state is in so much debt?

Hurry 2012! We hope we’re not a socialist nation Bi-den

Jesus thinks it’s Hilary-ous that you fell and broke your elbow

See it's easy, and the possibilities are endless! I'm sure Culture Shock readers have many more suggestions -- but if things get really creative around here we might have to start charging you.


MightyToyCannon said...

Your sign suggestions are too damned good! I'm coming up dry trying to add some.

MightyToyCannon said...

Pointing out the distinction between an "action plan" and an "arts plan" is important, and I think starts to get at what has bugged me about the region's "Act for Art" plan to date; it focuses too much on political tactics rather than presenting a vision for the arts. It talks about HOW we'll get a funding mechanism more than WHY that is needed or WHAT it will do.