The Signs and the Fury, Signifying Nothing

grumpette.jpgThe best commentary on voting in our time can be seen in one block on Alta Drive: 33 dumpy campaign signs. They’re colorful and eye-catching—jammed into the ground on stakes, flapping in the wind, some knocked over, some defaced with graffiti, a blackened tooth here, an illegible but artfully spray-painted word there. Sure, they’re a distraction to drivers (though not illegal, like texting), and yes, they’re an eyesore to neighbors and often end up abandoned after the election despite the rules. But here’s the heart of the matter: They tell us pretty much nothing. In a world of newfangled things to complain about, it’s almost refreshing to have an old-fashioned annoyance like empty-headed campaign signs as a powerful, and sometimes decisive, element in local democracy. It’s gotta be at least as helpful as watching the news. And maybe campaign-sign season is a boon for arts appreciation: If you take the same route every day, you can decide whose graphic designer warrants your vote.

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