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July 15, 2005

Borf is Dead, Man, Miss Him Miss Him: or A city under siege

And, lo, a mighty cheer went up from the citizenry of the District...

Dennis Butler of the D.C. Department of Public Works said the Borf tag prompted almost daily phone calls to the city call center. "He's just all over the inner city," Butler said.
"Citizens are ecstatic about him being caught," Groomes said.

* * *

Chief Clancy Wiggum: Well it's no secret. Our city is under siege by a graffiti vandal known as El Barto. Police artists have a composite sketch of the culprit. If anyone has any information, please contact us immediately.
Bart: [seeing the grizzled police sketch on TV] Cool man!

* * *

Peepers on the Roosevelt Bridge
He said he liked listening to people talk about the Borf phenomenon. One time, he was in a computer lab when the women behind him started Googling "Borf." It made him feel quite powerful.
"I feel like Batman or something," he said.
If you've seen Borf's graffiti—the stencil of the little girl who holds a sign saying "Grownups are Obsolete" or the impish face that appears throughout the city—you, too, might be wondering what Borf's message is. Once upon a time, Borf said, he was "just, like, some liberal, like anybody," but then he started reading, and found out he really wanted to be an anarchist. He decided he doesn't believe in the state, capitalism, private property, globalization. Most of all, he doesn't believe in adulthood, which he considers "boring" and "selling out."
"Growing up is giving up," he said. "I think some band said it."
Borf recently turned 18, a fact he revealed with hesitation because "I'm against age. It's just another way of dividing people."
Borf considers himself a crusader for youth; he drew inspiration from the children's author Shel Silverstein and from something called situationism, an obscure avant-garde movement popularized in 1960s France.
Over time, there was so much of his graffiti, a Borf backlash emerged. Borf said he's not responsible for graffiti saying "Borf is gay," and he certainly didn't write "Borf hates God" on a church. In February, a 27-year-old man was arrested for writing anti-Borf graffiti on the back of a sign in Logan Circle. He got as far as "Borf is a do-" before the police caught up with him.

Oh, but they'll be sleeping well on the banks of the Potomac tonight, haunted no longer by the dastard's horrible, grinning visage.

'I lift my lamp beside the golden door!'

[via DC Art News]

Update... It had to happen: 'Free Borf' at CafePress [via DCist, with the early scoop]

More: Visual Resistance (on the spot), Visual Resistance (in the archives), Kriston Capps, J.T. Kirkland, MetaFilter, "Attn: leftist artfags"... plus, an early 'Free Borf' sighting

"Borf is Dead, Man, Miss Him Miss Him: or A city under siege"
Posted by Dan at 11:10 AM



Posted by: thayer on July 22, 2005 at 06:18 PM

Referenced in this post:

Blah, Blah, Black Sheep: Tell Me Sweet Little Lies
CafePress.com: Free Borf
DC Art News: Borf arrested
DCist: Borf—Arrested?!
Flickr: Photos tagged with borf
Flickr: balance's photos—borf
Flickr: eli867's photos—50526001
Flickr: fantazia's photos—peek-a-borf
Google Search: 'Growing up is giving up'
Grammar.police: Free Borf
MetaFilter: Borf is a dork
Nothingness.org: The Situationist International Text Library
Shelf Life: Attn: leftist artfags
Simpsons Archive: Homer's Odyssey (7G03)
Thinking About Art: Anti-climactic
Visual Resistance: Artist Profile: BORF
Visual Resistance: Long Live Borf!
Washington Post: The Mark Of Borf—Libby Copeland
Wooster Collective: BORF Takes It To Another Level