I've not thought much about graffiti. I've not had it inflicted upon me, though that might be because I have a six wire fence and hedging trees on my front boundary, hardly a great canvas.
It's easy enough to get all serious about graffiti, especially if it is considered to be a problem, rather than a symptom of a pervasive problem. My understanding of Julie Anne Genter's speech on the Hutt City Council (Graffiti Removal) Bill was that of all the parties in parliament, the Greens understand that graffiti is a sign of a deeper malaise. So painting over it, both literally and figuratively, won't make the problem go away.
There is a line between graffiti and art, and it's more difficult to define than it appears.
For example, this is considered to be graffiti by some, and a mural by others:
This was conceived as a mural, but the original is now considered to be a work of art:
The meaning of both examples is now well understood. Their purpose was to raise our consciousness of issues we need to be aware of. As does ordinary graffiti. I suspect the reason for the unqualified support for the Bill expressed by most of parliament and to a small extent in the blogosphere is symptomatic of a strong reluctance to acknowledge the message. And that resolving the problem will be more difficult to solve than the Spanish Civil War, or The Troubles.
I will eat my words if, as a result of the enactment of the Bill, there is no more graffiti in Hutt City.
On a related note, how long will it be until real estate agents are tagging buildings they are about to list for sale, in order to get a council-funded make-over?
The Clash - London Calling, 1979