Friday, May 8, 2009

Controversy Over "Canine Fecal Death Act" poster, An Exchange

I've been getting a lot of responses to my latest poster. Many people have suggested that my fantasy punishment should be directed more at the people who don't pick up after their dogs than the dogs themselves. But, I ask you, if you kill the owner, what do you do with the dog? Shelters are already at capacity and besides, last time I checked, dogs are merely considered property under the law. Which punishment is more draconian? I'd love to hear City Council debate over it. Until then, the following is the best negative email I received on the matter followed by my response:

Hi Joe,

I saw some of your posters plastered around my neighborhood today, and while I appreciate both your frustration with owners who don't pick up after their dogs and your spirit of community activism, your posters direct the retribution towards the animals, who are not at fault. Inciting violence towards animals is not only inappropriate, but may in fact be illegal. I've removed any of the posters I could find in my area, but if you happen to repost them with the punishment being directed toward the real, human offenders, then I'll leave them alone. Might I suggest "Any person caught not picking up their dog's shit will have said deposit forcibly shoved down their throat" or something along those lines. - J.

My Response:

Dear J.,

I first want to thank you for taking the time to respond to one of my paper cutout posters and assure you that I believe it is as much your right to remove them as it is mine to put them up. I believe, however, that you have misinterpreted my meaning. I in no way see myself as embodying an activist's spirit and the poster, although admittedly provocative, is not meant to advocate for or against anything. All of my posters originate from a single sheet of black paper with the white parts cut out with an xacto blade. The process is painstaking and the result (if successful) is very graphic and direct, so I am always grateful for an emotional response. Far from promoting violence I am simply expressing (I hope in an elegant, humorous and nuanced way) my own outrage and indignation at the shitty situation in our neighborhood; the same outrage I sense that you share. However, I question your moral certitude in regards to your preference of forcing a man to eat dog shit (presumably by threat of force) to killing a dog. I think this is a subject worthy of debate. You are not alone in your criticism of my latest poster and I hope that you don't mind if I post your email and this response on my new blog, , in the hopes of airing such a discussion.

Joe Boruchow

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